N.C. State Fair’s Waterfall Stage, Raleigh
Friday, Oct. 16, 2015

The North Carolina State Fair cannot be accused of being shy with its decisions.

When the 162-year-old agricultural institution announced its music-booking facelift earlier this year, followed in short order by a schedule of bands, one of the most surprising features was the inclusion of MAKE, an unapologetically dynamic and thoughtful doom metal trio from Orange County. What’s more, the State Fair didn’t seem interested in steadily escalating the volume, or in warming up the crowds to the sounds of softer rock or more polite pop or folk for a few days. Instead, MAKE would play on the afternoon of the second day, outside and close to Dorton Arena, for every man, woman and child within earshot. That is, the N.C. State Fair started with an exclamation mark of volume rather than ending with it, when everyone would be too tired to care, anyway

MAKE’s set, offered beneath appropriately pale gray skies on this occasionally drizzly afternoon, ended two hours ago. It was every bit as odd, awesome and uncanny as expected—and, to be honest, a perfect look for an event gradually updating its image in accordance to changes in the state it is meant to represent.

This afternoon’s 50-minute show wasn’t the best MAKE set I’ve ever seen. Standing on a trailer-sized stage, black curtain drawn haphazardly at their back, Scott Endres, Luke Herbst and Spencer Lee were looser than is typical. The pieces of each song sometimes shifted slightly out of sync, a situation exaggerated by the open-air environment and the hard, echoing surface of the Dorton Arena behind them. And their vocals, particularly Lee’s throat-scraping screams, sometimes lost to the instrumental march and squall, as though the sound engineer was simply more comfortable with loud amplifiers than loaded yells. But MAKE was excellent and mean while covering the Stooges’ “Dirt,” pensive and powerful during a wonderful rendition of “The Immortal,” from the great new The Golden Veil.

The @ncstatefair started in 1853. Did MAKE just play its first Stooges cover?

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