Obits, Creepoid and Le Yikes Surf Club rock the Black Box at Underground Arts - WXPN
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Photo by Beth Ann Downey

Sohrab Habibion, guitarist of Obits, described the Black Box room at Underground Arts as being like a lectern during their show Thursday. That was due in part to the arena-style seating, low ceiling and how close the crowd was able to get to the band because of the stage being around four inches tall. In fact, the crowd drew so close to Habibion that they cast shadows over the guitar pedals at his feet. He asked the sound man for better lighting, saying, “If I can’t see what’s at my feet it’ll be like having a really bad church organist.”

Obits’ crunching guitar chords and Rick Froberg’s iconic yell, best associated with Drive Like Jehu; Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt, kept the energy high through their entire set. Froberg seemed to be having a blast, casually thanking fans in the front row without even speaking into the mic while he tuned his guitar between songs. They played a few new songs, including one called “Black Ice.” The new tunes yielded a couple miscues but, unfazed, Froberg just laughed and kept going. Drummer Alexis Fleisig pulled out mallets for “Everything Looks Better in the Sun,” from Moody, Standard and Poor. Their set also included “No Fly List,” “Shift Operator” and “New August,” from that record. Just as they were about to conclude their stage time, Habibion started “Widow of My Dream,” off of I Blame You. “Okay, that sounds great,” Froberg said. “I’ll go with that.” And the crowd got one more.

Locals Creepoid brought a forceful set that was saturated in guitar fuzz. Their dark psych seemed to put the crowd in a gazing trance – but in a good way. The chilling “Enabler” from 2011’s Horse Heaven brought a sinister smile to bassist and singer Anna Troxell’s face while the rest off the band seemed to just focus on the punishing volume they put out, staying mostly in place. Ominous, seething tunes in the dark Black Box room just felt right.

Le Yikes Surf Club made a trip up from South Philly to open the show. Their up-tempo set went on for a limited crowd, as most people hadn’t shown up yet. However, Surf Club managed bring those that were there closer to the stage as they went on, getting increasingly more aggressive. It started with the driving and down-trodden “Dimesworth” from the upcoming LP, Apocalypso. They powered through most of their self-titled EP, ending with the standout, “Ghost Ride the Whip.”

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