I will be the first to admit that this was a show that I was really excited to see because I had never seen any of the three bands on the bill, however I didn’t have my hopes up that the show would be nearly as good as it was. The show to me was meant to be a pleasant Friday wind down for my work week, not a show that I’d leave feeling like a different person entirely. It was the final night of a month long US run of three very similar and incredibly talented bands.
It was another hotter than hell Florida day that filled up about half of the Culture Room’s 600 person capacity by the end of the night. The doors opened at 7:30 and by 8 Dysrhythmia took the stage for a thirty minute instrumental set. Generally I’ve never been a fan of seeing all instrumental or jam bands live, because I feel like I want to fall asleep to the music rather than bang my head to it, but Dysrhythmia was different. Aside from some issues with the bass guitar between songs, the New York trio chugged through an otherwise flawless set. At times it felt like getting lost in the middle of an Isis or Gojira set, but is that really such a bad thing? Their music has a certain feel that fairly expresses emotion without the need for lyrics.
Making the trip from Los Angeles, Intronaut took the stage next with their blend of progressive metal, death metal and even a little bit of a jazz feel thrown in. Forty minutes seemed to fly by entirely too quickly for this band. Each song blended heavy growls with beautiful, yet face peeling, instruments. By the time the drum solo ended their set, it kind of felt like both they and the crowd were just getting warmed up and needed another hour to let out a week’s worth of anger and frustration. We were treated to some new music off of their upcoming album, Valley of Smoke, which comes out on October 12th. If their new album sounds as good on wax as it does live however, we are in for quite a treat.
Cynic finished up the night by coming back to their hometown all of these years later and delivering a truly memorable performance. It’s kind of hard to forget a band that acknowledges all of their fans as just being a bunch of fellow geeks and having us participate in ‘heavy metal yoga’ with them. Looking at the crowd, lead singer Paul Masvidal was correct that we are all geeks; geeks who were mesmerized by the lasers, the floating images and the smoke toying with our brains as we were submersed in their music. The eighty minute set opened with their groundbreaking 1993 debut, Focus, being played in its entirety. The show then slowed down for a folk like rendition of ‘Integral’ on the acoustic guitar before the majority of their 2008 album, Traced In Air, along with a couple of other songs were played to finish the show. We were all definitely left to wonder what could have been if there weren’t almost a decade and a half of downtime between albums. Every song in their limited arsenal can be labeled as a fine work of art and were all represented accurately live.
I am feeling pretty fortunate to have seen two excellent metal shows from top to bottom this week. I know that my first two reviews on this site are loaded with praise and not a lot of criticism towards any of the bands, because none is needed in these two extremely rare cases. I went into this show completely unbiased of each band and was easily swayed to loving all three. As a musician, there’s NOTHING better than going to a concert and admiring the work of each artist as an individual and then sitting back to enjoy the collective assault on my senses. When you fall into a daze watching a drummer or guitarist perform and they inspire you only to work harder, it’s a beautiful feeling that can’t be explained accurately to somebody on here who has never witnessed it themselves. There’s also something great that needs to be said for the promoters who stayed true to the music they love instead of sacrificing dignity and quality for a quick buck. It was a rock solid lineup that far exceeded my expectations, and even though I envision all three of the bands on a bill as potential openers for a Mastodon tour, is that really such a bad thing either?