Porter’s Pub prepares for an infestation when the Locust play a rare local show
“Let’s make beautiful music together,” said no one in the Locust, ever. Because what they make isn’t traditionally recognized as music so much as it is noise — and lots of it. Bobby Bray and Justin Pearson, who formed the band nearly 20 years ago with now defunct members, scream swollen lyrics while absolutely crushing guitar and bass strings, respectively. When the San Diego clan hits Porter’s Pub on Saturday, Nov. 23, for their first local show in years, long-time members Joey Karam (synth/vocals) and Gabe Serbian (drums) join the swarm.
Back in the ’90s, the Locust built a fan base on experimental, new-wave grindcore, an instrumentally brash style that blends elements of hard-hitting genres such as heavy metal, early screamo, hardcore punk and thrash. Unlike many bands, who use lyrics to connect with audiences, the Locust unify crowds with often incomprehensible garbled vocals that punch the air to create high-velocity mania that’s violent and aggressive without being dangerous.
Writhing on stage in insect-styled bodysuits long before Green Man ever appeared on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the Locust dually exhibit anarchy and order, dissolving into pandemonious but controlled noise. That they’re presented as part of a collective — replicas of one another, a sample of the indecipherable masses — could be social commentary or gimmick (the group is known for their on-point, well-designed marketing). But the presentation makes for an epic show regardless of the lesson.
It’s bound to be staged chaos, and when the band allows a rare traditional rhythm to creep in, it’s practically exhilarating, as though you’re being given entrance to a secret. The songs are short blasts of hurried musical mutations that, even to the noise averse, are addictively engaging. In their own version of Stockholm syndrome, the Locust both cure and create headaches. Prepare accordingly.
This article originally appeared on NBC SoundDiego. November 22, 2013.