When: Wed., Jan. 13, 9 p.m. 2016
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 13
CAT'S CRADLE BACK ROOM, CARRBORO—Jucifer does not really leave the road. Gazelle Amber Valentine, who screams and conjures brutal fuzz as the guitarist for the duo, lives in an RV with drummer Edgar Livengood. They haven't had a house since 2000, and they own no land. For 16 years, they have toured almost nonstop with their crushingly loud, crossbred metal.
"It's definitely a different thing to be constantly immersed in playing music and to have life pared down to just that," Valentine says. "For us, it's very positive, although a pretty fragmented and unpredictable day-to-day experience. We do take time off when making a record. And we try to spend a week or so with family at Thanksgiving and Christmas."
The music they play is equally restless. On 2014's District of Dystopia, Valentine's deliriously caustic tones are the only true constant. Sludgy doom erupts into volatile, almost-hardcore breakdowns. Soaring stretches of malevolent black metal twist into limber death metal. For Valentine, the freedom of the pair's lifestyle helps keep them open artistically.
"It keeps us inspired and keeps us in touch with our respective instruments and our band in a really intensive way," she says. "We can't always devote time to writing and rehearsing as you do if you have a regular schedule and a practice space. We end up developing ideas while we're driving. Even though that's not the most efficient way to work, it does have the advantage of creating a high-pressure situation."
They challenge themselves, too, by refusing to employ any loops or triggers onstage, a bare-bones approach that creates a famously visceral experience. It's augmented by an arsenal of 15 to 35 speaker cabinets and 10 to 15 amplifiers used for each gig.
"We find massive, endless power and excitement in the riffs and beats we can do with just our two bodies, no tricks," Valentine explains. "Our live show is the distilled, essential, most violent and vicious version of the band—and also our favorite." With Them Damn Bruners. 9 p.m., $10, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro, 919-967-9053, www.catscradle.com. —Jordan Lawrence