Sensory Overload: Beggars stave off blizzard with blistering Ace of Cups set

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From the February 6, 2014 edition

Screamer/guitarist Jordan Mitchell appeared unable to dial down the intensity, delivering even his between-song banter, which he peppered with frequent f-bombs, in a throat-shredding roar. I like to imagine he orders his morning coffee in similar fashion. The band matched the frontman’s energy lock-step, bashing through musical wood chippers like “Hard Times in the City,” which sounded something like Thin Lizzy toying around with thrash-metal. Another pair of tunes — “Monsters” and “Big Bad Wolf” — lived up to their beastly titles, the four musicians snarling, spitting, stomping and growling like city-ravaging creatures.

Mitchell and guitarist/co-screamer Andrew Dolan, who looked something like the dude from “Duck Dynasty” if he slimmed down and invested in some serious ink, often locked together into a single, finely honed killing machine, like two expert swordsman standing back-to-back and laying waste to all challengers. At times, one would spin off, tapping out a spiraling riff or a crushing assault while the other held down rhythm guitar. But more often they moved as a single entity, leaving blood on the stage.

On its Facebook site, the crew tends to keep things brief (its biography consists of one word: “bash”), and that sense of immediacy often carried over into its music. Most of the material, like a prime-era Mike Tyson fight, tended to be short and violent, built on thundering drums and metallic, finger-cramping riffage. The lone exception was a winding, set-closing number that transformed more gradually, shifting from a sludgy outpouring that conjured images of dark, primordial ooze to a soaring array of riffs that dipped, glided and soared. Still looking for proof of evolution? Here it is.