Furnace Head @ The Meatlocker

MONTCLAIR, NJ—It seems that the times when one stumbles upon a two-piece hardcore band (one that doesn’t sound like they’re trying too hard) are few to none these days. Personally, I have only come across two or three. Recently, I met a guy who told me he happened to be in one of these heavy bands called Furnace Head, and based on his description of the vibe, I just had to check them out.

The band consists of two members: Rob Gonzales on guitar and Evan Kaminski on drums. Their equipment is the first noticeable thing about the band. A pretty standard drum kit with nice heads is what Kaminski uses, though Gonzales certainly had some tricks up his sleeve when it came to the amps he uses. The setup was basically two amps connected to each other. On one end, a 30 watt Orange Dual Terror was connected to a 100 watt Marshall Cabinet, while on the other, a 100 watt Peavey PA head was connected to a 100 watt Hartke bass amp. When I first saw this, how shall I say, Franken-amp, I was both stunned and confused at the same time. I could not imagine why so much power would be needed for so few members, or what kind of strange sound I was about to hear.

Since there are only two members, it was pretty easy for me to focus on each part separately during various moments in the set. The style Kaminski throws down on the drums is certainly interesting. First, it should be noted that when he hits the drums, he hits them hard. This isn’t your typical drummer who has studied a lot of jazz music or taken courses in school. He plays raw and he plays fast. The snare drum is a fat one, which allows for thunderous sounds, perfectly fitting for this type of music. Everything seemed to work well with the guitar playing coming from Gonzales.

One nice thing that I found out about Furnace Head in their live set is that their abundance of nice equipment is justified by Gonzales’ skills as a guitarist. There are often times when a band can get up on stage and to the dismay of the fans watching, it turns out that they are all merely nothing but nice equipment. This is certainly not the case with these guys. It was obvious that both of them knew exactly what they were doing, and what they wanted to be doing. Gonzales’ guitar parts sounded fast and vicious with a heaviness brought out by the low-end of volumes coming from the PA he was using as an amp. I felt nothing short of brutality coming from these gentlemen throughout their entire set.

I looked around several times at the crowd of people standing before the intense set Furnace Head was displaying, and found that I was surely not the only one enjoying the show. The place was packed for a Monday night and people were banging their heads and clapping their hands. This was one of those bands that seriously impressed me in every aspect. I’ve been waiting for a band to come along and grab me like some of my already existing favorites have and Furnace Head may have made the cut.