With winter’s frozen spirit finally broken we got out on drizzly, but not too awful Sunday night to see some of sludge and prog’s finest bands at The Sinclair for the last night of this trek. Before the show we hung out at a local dive/diner Charlie’s Kitchen, where we sipped beers with buds, and our contest winner, who won two free tickets to the show, Mike Vargus, courtesy of Prosthetic Records. Thanks guys! Good times!
With the popularity of prog, especially local to Boston with Berklee School of Music right nearby, it was a confluence of music nerds, “girlfriend metal” types, hipsters, crusties, vest wearing mofos, and our usual army of Boston metal types in the house. It’s funny to me sometimes how clique-ish groups of people are at metal shows these days, in many way reminding me of the early 90s again. Silver Snakes from L.A. hit that stage first and sounded tight, but were a little uneven musically at the start. I think it was their set list because they got stronger as they played on. They play an energetic mix of post-hardcore and alt-metal that you can definitely get into. They had their fans in the house, so that helped.
The Atlas Moth came next, and when we last saw our mid-western sludge heroes, they blew our brains out opening for Gojira and Devin Townsend last year. In the meantime they have been hard at work recording their highly anticipated new album, The Old Believer (Profound Lore), due this June. The Atlas Moth has always been a humble bunch, willing to open for anyone, stick to their guns and slog it out on the road in vans for a long time. Judging by tonight’s performance, including three new songs, I think their days as an opening band are numbered. Doing what they do best, a slow-burn and churn of layered riffs and waves of sounds, and just bludgeoning the crowd sonically with songs like ‘Coffin Varnish’ and ‘Holes In the Desert’. The interplay of the band, especially Stavros Giannopoulos and Dave Kush who alternate guitars and vocals, just kills. Of the new numbers in the set, ‘Halcyon Boulevard’ was a real face peeler, and you could tell the band has advanced their sound once again. I was impressed with the quality of the volume tonight too, since sometimes the band is so loud, it hurts. Basically never trust a fart at The Atlas Moth show! You might regret it.
The Ocean was next and I was beyond excited to see them.. The co-headlining tour has afforded this musically adventurous troupe the ability to add a little more production value to their show now, which is great. Awash in blue lights and with a cool video screen full of quirky images synchronized to their set, the band put on a great show. Playing Pelagial (Metal Blade) in its entirety was a magical experience to witness. Granted, it was my personal favorite album of the year for 2013, so I have probably spun it more times than anyone except Robin Staps’ mom, but this heady masterpiece of an album was meant to be enjoyed complete, not unlike Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd, or even more recently Crack The Skye by Mastodon. The band is very purposeful in their performance and definitely feel the heavy emotions of the music they play. Vocalist Loic Rossetti definitely plays to the crowd, although atypical of many singers, he spends most of his time lurking toward the back of the stage, except when singing. It was a masterful performance and as far as I could tell the music was played to perfection. I ended up missing the last quarter of their performance to do some interviews I had to conduct back stage, but I did catch the unexpected highlight of the night. Stavros from The Atlas Moth came out to do a lead vocal turn towards the end of the set. It was a pretty killer and the crowd was a little stunned. Some folks filed out after The Ocean, which is always a little disappointing.
Last up, Scale the Summit were due to hit the stage. With a little sparser set up that The Ocean, STS is a band I respect a great deal. Some instrumental prog bands and even some of your post metal bands like Rosetta and Pelican) try too hard to “put on a show” rather than just let the music do the talking. They set up quick with the lights up and started to play without so much as a word to start things off. Like their co-headliners, Scale the Summit made great use of the video screen behind them. I had seen the band as an opener, but never for a headlining set and certainly not on as big. Each man played their instrument to perfection as they had the audience entranced with their music. Well, most of the audience. I definitely saw a few put upon girlfriends and spouses who were dragged out tonight, likely against their wills. Meanwhile the band, fairly oblivious to the audience for them most part, played with a lot of passion and not really machine-like perfection, but with a lot of soul. STS is heavy, but a different kind of heavy. They definitely leaned on The Collective and The Migration for the set list, but there were few complaints. It was a very enjoyable show and the again, staying true to what the band is about: simplicity in style, and outstanding musicianship. After the show the band hung out and signed autographs and took pictures with fans, which was really cool too. We caught up with Chris Letchford to thank him for the show, and talk about their upcoming prog cruise show opening for Yes.
Scale The Summit Set List:
The Dark Horse
The Olive Tree
Origin of Species
Words: Keith Chachkes
Photos: Echoes In The Well
Instrumental music is often a tedious affair at best. Many bands over indulge themselves in overly complex music and instrumental masturbation. Prog/fusion outfit Scale The Summit are a rare breed, because they actually care about writing memorable compositions. Their considerable technical prowess serves to cement their music, instead of taking centre stage. Guitarist and main composer Chris Letchford is more than happy to provide some insights on everything Scale The Summit…Continue reading