Ubik played The Highline on March 29, and they rocked. Hard. It was my first time seeing them, and it had been a long time coming. I’d been hearing about them for a few years by then. Let me get two things out of the way right off the bat: this band is awesome, and this is gonna be a glowing review. You owe it to yourself to see Ubik, and they deserve the exposure for the work they put into their craft. Their show ranged from beautiful moments of emotional clarity to terrifying, dirty, metal dredging doom. Google “Ubik” and they’re the second entry on the second page (the 13th hit)—not bad for sharing thier name with the title of a Philip K. Dick novel. How they settled on “Ubik” is a long story, according to rhythm bassist Joel Fletcher. Many moons ago, before they had settled on a name, lead bassist Eric Charles was reading another Dick novel that included something called a “Rictus.” During a practice, the band were close to settling on Rictus as their moniker, but they wanted to sit on it for a week before making a final decision. This was a good idea—during that week they made a disappointing discovery. “Every 2-bit Casio player or high school goth band or boring new age hippy rock trio had already plastered the internet with their own ‘Rictus’ band,” Joel said. When the week was over, Eric was onto another novel by Dick—Ubik. In keeping with the theme of an item from a Dick novel, they went out on a limb and settled on Ubik. The rest is history. Full disclosure: I played with Joel in Born Without Blood, and we’re good friends. That didn’t, however, influence my growing infatuation with this band’s performance as it unfolded. In look, sound, and concept, they’ve got their game down, and they know how to entertain. Plus they have a really energetic and charismatic singer in Michelle Pannell. When the show started she was immediately in character, pacing back and forth furiously, staring at the stage floor, ranting. Just ranting. Pointing and wagging her finger at the images in her mind, clenching the mic. Her vocal performance stretched the gamut from sweetly-sang, clear, elongated tones from the belly, to quick-fired bursts of word after spoken-ish word, to screams of absolute savagery. Their drummer, Tyler Griffith, was a perfect, funky metronome. His style reminded me a little of Deftones’ Abe Cunningham. Griffith is a short, buff, skinny dude with shaved blonde hair and a lip ring. He played shirtless in true rock form. Definitely got a hip-hop sensibility about him. He kept time really well—especially during my very favorite part, at the end of the set, when they started to gradually slow down from fast punk music to drudgingly slow doom. It was so awesome. That was my favorite moments of the show. The band slowed the tempo, letting the bassists’ tones ring out in a very prolonged fashion and shake my entire body. Meanwhile, Michelle was screaming like a maniac into thick, wet reverb and delay, extending her rage to the heavens, while Joel, Chris and Tyler stayed tight during a consistently-slowing tempo—not an easy task for a rhythm section. It was intensely distorted, low-toned, and unrelenting. I love doom. In case you haven’t figured it out from my vague explanation, there are no guitars in this band—just two basses. And their humans are both over six feet tall. It all works sonically because Joel plays with his big, meaty fingers, slapping and plucking those strings like a practiced caveman, producing thick tones. He’s not afraid to play chords, either. Eric, The Mad Scientist, wearing a white UBIK lab coat and black tie at the show and sporting his approximately 15-pedal-strong board of various and sundry effects, plays his bass with a pick and turns his e.q. toward the treble end of things. All in all, Ubik gives you a full experience. They enrich you with all kinds of sounds and images and then send you on your way. 12 out of 11 stars. Fuck yeah, Ubik. You guys rock.