As the drumming half of Lightning Bolt, Brian Chippendale could be Providence's biggest rock star, and is surely the hero of every hipster undergrad who dreams of escaping College Hill. So it felt both appropriate and odd Thursday night when Chippendale, in his solo act Black Pus, returned to the RISD Museum's Moore Terrace, tucked between the original museum entrance on Benefit Street and the Chace Center on North Main. In any case, the Terrace had enough room for the museum curators to avoid the developing mosh pit.
As Black Pus, Chippendale fills the melodic void left by Lightning Bolt bassist Brian Gibson by filtering his voice and bass drum through more effects processors than I could count into four hand-painted amplifiers. (After graduating RISD, Chippendale and Gibson were both active in establishing legendary Olneyville art space Fort Thunder.) Still, watching a Black Pus show doesn't feel too different from watching a really good drummer practice. After playing for a good forty minutes, Chippendale removed the mask that keeps his microphone in place and invited everyone to an after party on the other side of town.
The next night offered a glance at the current state of College Hill rock, as Slonk Donkerson rocked the basement of their guitar player, Parker Silzer B'12. The band teased their upcoming second LP with gems like "Radical Dude" and "The Edifice," both of which would be college radio smashes if college radio still existed. A cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" was interrupted when Silzer broke a string.
Black Pus plays Machines with Magnets tonight with Kolour Kult and Dead Rider. 400 Main Street, Pawtucket, 9 pm. $TBA