[review + photos] Sunn 0))), Dead In The Dirt @ Coolidge Corner Theatre

Photo by Ty Ueda

Pretty much everything that could be said about SUNN 0))) already has been said. The New York Times described their live sound as “like buildings crumpling in slow motion. A fantastic, physical, indeterminate sound.” Also, we know they are loud. What you might not catch from these reviews, however, is an accurate depiction of the simultaenously vicious and gentle effect the music has on the entire body.

My ears are particularly delicate. I’ve been known to leave Pixar movies because they’re too loud. But it’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. So I went to Guitar Center before the show and dropped close to 20 bucks on the nicest pair of earplugs they had.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t enough.

PHOTOS: Sunn 0))) and Dead In The Dirt @ Coolidge Corner Theatre

If you’ve seen Sunn O))) before, I betcha five bucks that it wasn’t nearly as cool as seeing them at the Coolidge – partially because of the fantastic architecture and the amazing sound quality, but mostly because I could slouch down into a cushioned seat, close my eyes, and take everything in, Maxell style. The entire experience was perfect for the solemn, doomy meditation that I so badly needed.


Going into the theater was a bit like waiting in line for a haunted house. Footsteps made no sound on the carpet, and people took turns peering into the tiny window on the door that led to the theater, hoping to capture a glimpse of the foggy dungeon the Coolidge had become.

Dead In The Dirt played with Sunn 0)))’s amps, and were arguably just as loud. People headbanged in their seats with their arms up, like a concert at a retirement center.

When the first note struck, my eyes shot open and my hands shot to my ears. Thanks a lot, Guitar Center, these earplugs you sold me are crap, though it might have been naïve of me to assume that any preventative measures would actually be effective. At one point, the cartilage in my nose shook so violently that I wound up in a sneezing fit. Across the front of the stage, spilled beer jumped, bounced and showered across the front row like a mini Sea World splash zone from hell.

This is the type of music that no recorded audio could ever do justice. The vibrations of a 125-decibel wall of sound numb the body and bring it to a meditative state, allowing the listener to feel something close to levitation or even an out-of-body experience. At the very least, everyone has the chance to break down into existential gloom for a few hours.

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