Musical Eighteen Wheeler

Immortal Lee County Killers III live at Iota Club & Cafe

One quarter cup of black coffee, crusts from two pieces of wheat toast, the remnants of a poached egg.

Possessing the languid gait and nonchalance of three truck drivers exiting a diner in the morning, about to embark on their haul, the Immortal Lee County Killers III approached the IOTA stage. Contrary to their languid appearance, once they flicked the key to start the engine, the ILCK3 crafted an intently driven bombastic dirge encompassing a myriad of musical genres.

ILCK3 photoThe combination of Mr. Toko Chanel’s billowing, thrusting drum beats, John Wesley Meyer’s stream-of-consciousness organ, and Chet Weise’s successful attempt on guitar to enmesh the competing musical elements, together led the audience on a band professed creed that bordered on fevered rampage. The musical pace surpassed the accompanying lyrics, with a measured rhythmical assurance that if you were to focus on the content and message of the music, you’d be bowled over by the impending guitar pulse.

The breakneck pace of performance did not restrict the ILCK3 to a defined range of frenetic music. The deviation between song styles was extreme, and included stripped-down blues, wistful country monologue, and aggressive rock-and-roll. The climax of the performance was a separation between the beginning and ending maelstroms. The striking clarity produced by a gospel melody, sung without microphone by Toko Chanel, which hushed the IOTA crowd and transformed the bar-brick walls to mind’s eye stained glass, cradling the pulpit of a stage. Post-gospel performance the ILCK3 returned to their workmanlike approach of scratching guitars and sharp percussion reminiscent of hailstones striking the hood of their musical eighteen-wheeler.

Incensed guitars, conceding to drawn out organ notes highlighted the second half of the ILCK3 set. Their set bent and wove itself like cigarette smoke in the cabin of their truck, wisped quickly in, held stationary, a jolted exhale, to linger in the cabin and sift towards the cracked window, to be ripped from the vehicle and left to filter to the earth. The resultant lack of bearings or predictable course, and no discernable delivery from beginning to end left the audience not to long for a particular impending song, but to savor each tome, as its end was unforeseen.

The music of the ILCK3 possessed the trait of being an entity wholly unto itself; their craft served no secondary agenda other than to lead the audience on a non-linear path to enjoyment. Evidenced by their refusal to play an encore and the slightly-embarrassed acceptance of the raucous applause lauded on the band post set, the ILCK3 allow their body of work to be judged on its own merit, not the interplay of the band with the audience, or jokes slung around drinks after the performance. Their set constituted contrition, a full expulsion of truth.

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