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There’s a not-all-that-fine line between hardcore and a reel of nothing but close-up penetration shots. Crowdsurf Off a Cliff seem content to set up camp on that latter side, only taking an occasional peek at the former — metaphorically speaking of course. If you insist on taking your film-to-music analogies in PG-13 form, COC is the music equivalent of a Michael Bay action sequence: All jump cuts and explosions with little concern for the audience’s ability to fit the pieces into a coherent whole. Noise-rock, in other words, that almost completely dispenses with the boring old “rock” side of the equation. This is a band whose own MySpace page describes their sound as vocalist Adolfo Acosta “screaming indistinctly” over the band’s “‘music.’” That’s right, “music,” in quotes.

Of course, the page also speaks of their “serious yet satirical tone covering real world issues,” which I assume refers to the “lyrics” Acosta shrieks while he’s hopping around the stage like a spirit-filled Pentecostal, sounding like Gilbert Gottfried hacked three-fourths to death. If the band spends time writing actual words to these songs, it really seems like they’re working too hard. Drummer Alan “Chewy” Codd keeps time by beating his drum-kit like he caught it skipping town after impregnating his sister, and the rest of the band has apparently signed a non-binding resolution to follow his lead. Their few rough-cut tracks on MySpace reveal more carefully plotted tracks with midsong tempo change-ups similar to cited influence Converge, but tonight it’s basically black noise with each song virtually indistinguishable from the last. (Maybe it’s important to note I’m standing less than a foot away from one of the speakers.) Guitarist Andrew Phillips’s shirt — which reads “CUNT” — is about the most nuanced thing onstage, and bassist Dustin Lee De Munbrun plays at least half of a song one-handed. Tough stuff to dance, or even crowd surf, to, obviously: Between songs, a few audience members scream, “Happy birthday, Chewy,” possibly just to make sure the sudden silence doesn’t mean they’ve gone deaf, but otherwise the crowd is strangely subdued. I’m not sure what the proper response is, either. The strongest feeling evoked in me all night comes at the closing song’s final line, when Acosta pulls the microphone away from his face, and I can’t hear a single word he’s saying. Earplugs are our friends. •

Crowdsurf Off a Cliff
Sat, Jul 17
Nightrocker Live
605 San Pedro
(210) 650-2243

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