NEPA Scene Staff

Canadian band Big Brave headlines night of experimental music at Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre on June 14

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From a press release:

Big Brave, an experimental drone metal band from Canada, is currently on a North American tour that will stop at Karl Hall in downtown Wilkes-Barre this Friday, June 14.

Wilkes-Barre’s own one-man “blackened slowcore” band Planning for Burial will open the all-ages concert with a drone set, along with Frackville electric harpist Chelsea Smarr, who often improvises live shows as a solo artist or with other local avant-garde musicians. Expect an evening filled with heavy, atmospheric, and dream-like soundscapes – experimental music driven by emotion and unburdened by any specific genre.

Doors at Karl Hall (57B N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets, which are $10 is advance or $12 at the door, are on sale now via Eventbrite. This event is BYOB for those 21 and over (with a $5 corkage fee).

For over a decade, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania-based musician Thom Wasluck has been unleashing his signature gloomy dirges under the name Planning for Burial at a nearly relentless pace. He now has three full-length albums under his belt, most notably 2017’s monumental “Below the House,” as well as numerous EPs and splits. Wasluck writes and records everything himself and has toured extensively as a one-man band, playing hundreds of shows over the years. Both incredibly loud and intimate, Planning for Burial performs with an unrivaled passion and funereal grace that is equally at home in basements and concert halls.

Since their inception in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2012, Big Brave has explored terrains of experimental rock with a clear focus on the key principles: space, volume, and raw emotion. The essence of Big Brave’s magic has always been the way they balance these dynamics, particularly how much sheer power comes from the beautifully quiet moments. The same principles are the starting point for their new album, “A Gaze Among Them,” only the approach is different, beginning with the question, “How do we take very little and make something bigger than what we actually have?”

Vocalist and guitarist Robin Wattie further explains, “The biggest challenge was to not do what is easiest. i.e. what we knew worked for the last albums or what is, for us, easy to write. With ‘A Gaze Among Them,’ Mathieu and I put ourselves through the ringer – I did not want to do what seemed to me to be a ‘logical next step’ in what we could do musically. I wanted to go back to our original concepts and work from there – space, tension, minimalism, and voice (finding melody and musicality in pieces that consist of one note for longer than 10 minutes, for example) were the primary concentrations I wanted to push.”

In the process of revisiting their early intentions, Big Brave (often stylized BIG|BRAVE) has boldly evolved, emerging with a thrilling new body of work that is all at once refreshingly new, explosively heavy, dynamically loud, beautifully minimal, carefully repetitive, and totally and utterly cathartic.

“A Gaze Among Them” features Robin Wattie (vocals, electric guitar, guitar amp, bass amp), Mathieu Ball (electric guitar, guitar amps) and Loel Campbell (drums), with guest appearances from Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt Zion) on contrabass and Seth Manchester’s synth overdubs. The album was recorded with Manchester at Machine with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The beautiful image adorning the cover (created by Robin Wattie) further demonstrates that Big Brave has blossomed. The trio sound rejuvenated and confident, and “A Gaze Among Them” is the sound of a band truly honing their craft and feeling totally satisfied with it – compelling, necessary, and important.