Like the bands that played before them, Sohns set up on the floor. The two extra man-high amplifiers they wheel out, however, warn that this won’t be rock ’n’ roll. This will be nerve-ending genocide. Sohns’ songs are noisy acts of violence spurred by singer Alex Mendez’s helium-inflated Sam Kinison shrieks and drummer Lawrence Mercado’s primal pounding.
Opener “New Reasons” riles the crowd to chant along to its eerie intro, accompanied by minimal percussion and buzzing bass reverb. “I ain’t waiting on this ghost,” they say “I’ve been waiting for too long.” Then guitarist Marcos Garza’s angular shred eviscerates it all, clearing room for Mendez’s animated scream. “If everyone’s an artist, art is fucking dead,” Mendez wails, at least according to the lyrics transcribed on the band’s MySpace page. Live, the lyricism doesn’t much seem to be the point.
Mendez runs across the Warhol floor, grabbing audience members by the shirts and screaming in their faces. The crowd pushes back, sometimes converging on Mendez and thrusting him above their heads. They sling beer and knock one another into the walls. An audience member holding up Mendez grabs the elastic band of his underwear and pulls.
“A Convocation of Marksmen” matches Mendez’s bloody-throat night terrors with short, claustrophobic guitar bursts and rapid-fire drum rolls. “Pieces and Pieces and Pieces” promotes sonic tetanus with its rusty, dull edges until the instrumentals open up and bassist Wes Dunn catches a surf-rock mutilation wave. Like most of the entries on Sohns’ set list, “Pieces” develops less like a standard rock song than an atomic test blast that awakens a vengeful ancient monster whose ensuing rampage registers on the Richter scale as it stomps unchecked through densely populated metropolitan regions, eating children by the clawful and squashing every hipster in its path.