By: Eliza Goldstein
Upon entering High Dive on Friday, June 23rd, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what I had gotten myself into. I was here to see Club Silencio play music from the films of David Lynch, and while I did not know what that meant, I am a huge David Lynch fan and the show sounded like it would be odd and exactly what you would expect from Lynch fans. Trying to imagine what form “The Music of David Lynch Films” would take was puzzling enough, trying to imagine what the opening bands would sound like was beyond my wildest musings. The High Dive only made it more difficult to draw any conclusions by way of playing Björk as loud as possible throughout the whole venue. Sitting at the outside bar, I actually ended up missing the opener’s first song because I couldn’t hear them start over the pulsing “Hyperballad.”
When I finally ran into the venue, I saw one man standing on stage amidst guitar pedals and blinking lights. Brian Lee is HiFi Envelope, and Hifi Envelope is the feeling of walking into a thick fog on a temperate morning, and all the watery air particles around you are emitting their own frequencies and tonal vibrations. Lee appeared to be one man on a stage with a guitar, an ipad, and a million pedals but the sound created immediately enveloped me in a musical cloud of complementary riffs, and sound effects. This is what a noise show should sound like. Keeping with the David Lynch theme of the show, Lee had a video playing behind him of what at first appeared to be unrelated images, was in actuality a series of abstract clips from Lynch’s 1984 film Dune. The video was edited by Aaron O’Laughlin. You can easily find HiFi Envelope’s music online, he’s got albums available to stream on Bandcamp dating back to 2003, including a full-length release called Transitional Objects from last November. Seeing Hifi Envelope live, however, is more of a rarity. Lee isn’t able to play as many shows as he might like because he’s simply too busy with regular life most of the time. As a father, a husband and a university employee, Lee must often put his family before late night gigs. Keep a watchful eye out for the next time he does play live, and in the meantime- listen to Hifi Envelope’s full discography on Bandcamp.
The overhead lights came back on, the Björk-exclusive playlist resumed at full volume, and I felt at ease, knowing what was coming next. This was going to be a good ol’ fashioned noise show, and I patiently waited for the next group, Mantras Octave, to set up their synthesizers, pedals and whatnot. But of course, the good lords of music love to mock me, and instead of another noise artist they brought out a doomier version of The Black Angels. The three piece certainly earned their title of “psychedelic rock” by instantly busting out a spacey, jam-heavy set. The guitarist and Bassist had distinct vocal styles that worked perfectly with their instrumentation. The guitarist, Joshua David, sounded like he was emulating the mysterious drone of David Byrne and Sev Ronson, the bassist seemed to prefer the foreboding, almost chant-like tamber style of Ian Curtis. I was thoroughly impressed by Mantras Octave, and found out they hail from very close. The band is based out of Ocala and try to play shows in Gainesville as often as they can.
When the main act, Club Silencio, took the stage, the first thing I saw was characters. The band is made up of all men with a female vocalist, and everyone was dressed in “formal attire” All the men were wearing classic suits, dress shirts, etc. And the vocalist, Weatherly Knighton, wore a long black evening gown that almost appeared to glow under the all-red stage lights. David Lynch films are all about the characters, as was this band. The saxophonist, Ben Davis, sounded as if he was parodying Lynch’s own Chief Gordon Cole from Twin Peaks both by quoting and imitating his characteristic holler. Knighton could have been any mysterious beauty from a Lynch film, but certainly performed the most beautiful rendition of “Llorando,” the vocals-only song from Mulholland Drive, that I have ever heard. While the name Club Silencio is taken from the classic Mulholland Drive, the band played songs from all across Lynch’s discography. I was surprised to hear Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” as I don’t usually associate it with any film, but of course, Dean Stockwell’s character lip syncs the song in Blue Velvet. When the group played “Falling,” the theme from Twin Peaks, a collective hush fell over the crowd as everyone listened, almost as if in a trance, to the moving theme. Before the show, I had read that Club Silencio is “led” by guitarist and “Atlanta music scene veteran” Jeffrey Butzer. Butzer was certainly a delight to watch and listen to, just as colorful and talented as his band, but I was pleased to find that it didn’t feel like a band following a leader. Instead, it felt like a group of extremely talented musicians were unifying their talents to create an unforgettable night of music, oddity, beauty and David Lynch.