Review: Show Me the Body’s “Dog Whistle” Tour ft. Zelooperz at The Sanctuary
Last week, NYC-based Show Me the Body made a stop at The Sanctuary in Detroit as a part of their tour in support of their latest project, Dog Whistle. The release has been hailed as their most cohesive to date, following the success of the more chaotic Corpus I, and their live show seems to have progressed with the music in the eyes of people that have had the privilege of witnessing it.
Cutting their teeth in basements and living rooms- now touring nationally and internationally- many in the NYC hardcore scene have likely had the chance to see them at vastly different points throughout their career. But even for fans in Detroit, some of whom have had the chance to see them several times in just the last year or two, the new trajectory is exciting. One friend at the show mentioned that he had seen them the last three times they visited and “every time was better than the last.”
Joined by colleague Zelooperz (both share management under Dart Parker, alongside Danny Brown), the show was an exhibition of similar energies, manifested in totally different genres. Zelooperz’ set wavered between decisive and outright chaotic, the rapper/visual artist laid down his heavy-hitters- even running a few tracks back multiple times- to a crowd that was equally intrigued, enthusiastic and terrified.
A front row of super fans recited nearly every word as he went through a range of old tracks and new, showcasing his range in delivery and taste in production with the help of DJ skwlkr. Other set highlights included on-going spirited banter with the crowd, during one of which he asserted that he was a “Wildcard” (the title of his latest release) and then promptly living up to that description by ending his set with a quieter, more melodic song, only then to demand that the crowd start a mosh pit.
Show Me the Body’s set also showcased an impressive range. Dog Whistle features several instances of reprieve from the more dense onslaughts of sound in the form of spoken word and ‘soft’ vocal delivery, courtesy of frontman Julian Cashwan Pratt. Their set went in and out of thrashing catharsis with music that is sharp and poignant, and rough but kind of beautiful. Seeing the way that the band members writhe on stage with every chord change and lyric delivered is truly a sight to behold- it’s the type of primal release that comes with channeling very real explicit thoughts and feelings about the world as a brutal and disarming art form.
Even for those that don’t consider themselves aficionados of hardcore (including myself; listening to their latest project in the car was the first time that I indulged that part of my musical taste in some time) just watching them switch between instruments or near one another in a beautiful embrace in the midst of such a ferocious atmosphere, was hard not to recognize that there is something special going on.
As if their rapid ascent of industry recognition was not enough to convince me (even before listening to the music), their performance last week confirmed that indeed, the buzz is more than justified.
Featured photo by @bro.cco.li.
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