by Robert Bell
8 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $7.
One night about 10 years ago, at the old JR's Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville, I went downstairs to check out this band on the advice of my buddy, who was the doorman. "They've got so many amps it looks like they're trying to hurt people," he said. "Like, cause bodily harm. They're called Jucifer."
Indeed, there on the tiny stage towered at least 47 million watts' worth of massive guitar amps, dwarfing the tiny woman standing there with a tiny guitar and a tiny drummer sitting at a tiny drum set. I'm not exaggerating here: it looked comical. Unsurprisingly, it was deafening. Surprisingly, it was pretty awesome.
Often, when you see a band that wears silly costumes or has a zillion amps or something like that, what you're seeing is novelty trying to mask poor songwriting. Not so with Jucifer. The band has traversed a lot of stylistic territory over nearly two decades, from blunt-force stoner riffage to skeeze-rock sleaze-o-rama to free-form feedback squalls that recall My Bloody Valentine, another band that was certainly fond of guitar volume violence.
Guitarist and singer Amber Valentine's vocals, too, range in style, from ethereal beauty to raw, guttural throat damage. The duo has convincingly pulled off this sonic grab-bag on a handful of albums, though 2010's "Throned in Blood" saw a decidedly more metal concentration. Which is just fine, as heaviness for its own sake can be a good thing for an inspired, veteran act such as Jucifer. Just be sure to bring some earplugs.
The opening acts are Oracle and DDT.