Waiting in the line outside and slowly freezing my ass off, I was invited to ride a mechanical bull. Being a country boy and eager to warm up, I gladly accepted the challenge. After proving my dominance to this hydraulic beast, and taking my place back in line, I noticed something. For a 10 year reunion tour of a band that has a cult status amongst hundreds, if not thousands of followers, the crowd seemed… sparse. I understand that we were there almost an hour before doors, but even walking up to the stage and readying myself for the onslaught, there was still… no one. But I have never, and will never judge a show by the quantity of people. It’s all based on the heart the performers give, and the amount of life the crowd gives them in return. So I nestled up close to the raw steel of the barrier, and got ready to awkwardly cheer on the bands while some sweaty dude’s genitals slide up and down my posterior region (yuck).
The venue is occupied by a few souls and music from an era where THE BEATLES reigned supreme. A small twig like young man steps out on the stage with a guitar in hand, and the music fades away. He proceeds to make noises. A lot of them. Somehow, through the use of his selection of guitar effect pedals, and careful notation, he creates a cacophony of jumbled and scattered vibrations that make up a soundscape the likes of which, I have never heard before; and it is lovely. The rest of the band slowly saunters out, and starts a rather melodic introduction into their set. I know nothing of this band except for the fact that they’re called SEIZURES. And boy, oh boy, did they live up to that name VERY quickly. As pretty as their introduction was, it was immediately and brutally overtaken by their menagerie of spastic time signatures, volatile chord structures, and intense screaming vocals.
I must say, honestly, these guys were incredible. They didn’t move too much, and they didn’t really appear to be as out of control as their tunes were, but I chuck that up to being on tour with a band that is NOTHING like them. This was DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN level insanity, and it was extremely well executed with surgical precision. The constant U-turns and start/stopping in their songs is something that not many people can get behind, and sadly, the crowd gave them little to no response. They were deserving of a vicious mosh pit that would hospitalize multiple, and injure several others, but with a barricade in front of us, and almost no one in front of them, they just seemed out of place. Hopefully I catch them on another tour at a place like The Door where the crowd can get violent and let loose.
Now, as with most tour packages, there’s almost always a slump set. Sometimes the band is off its game/having a bad day; sometimes the crowd just doesn’t feel it. That’s what brings us to the next band…SOUVENIRS came out very calmly, and rolled right into the set. They are a very clean cut and calm post rock group. That’s… That’s really about it. Nice harmonies, solid song structure, and decent stage presence but… There was nothing that stood out, nothing that caught me off guard, or threw me a curveball. There was really nothing wrong with their set per se, but I can’t think of a single thing that would make me want to run around and tell everyone about them. I believe they have the potential to grow into a hellacious musical force because, as dull as it may have been, the songs did sound original, and at the end of the set, they did let loose and get a little crazy with it, which is something I can get behind. Keep an eye on them, they could do incredible things. But what about a band whose legacy consists of already incredible things?
I decided to turn around for the first time since walking in. The crowd is wall to wall, and growing by the second. People are pouring in now, and it’s becoming apparent that something incredible is about to happen. I don’t know why I felt that in the air, but I could just sense it. And with 10 year reunion tours, one of two things usually happens:
1. The band that’s playing could be burned out, and just doing it for the money, which almost always leads to the shittiest shows of all time aside from a BOTDF set (If you don’t know what that acronym means, good. Your life is on the right track).
2. The band has been completely rejuvenated, and they’re coming back, or continuing on, stronger than ever.
Ladies and gentlemen… I am absolutely proud to say, this band is nowhere near burned out, and SAOSIN are certainly not in this for the money. I know for a fact, that they came in to that room to bring an intensity that only their chemistry together could muster. The set started quietly, the band, sans vocalist (Anthony Green), approached their posts and started with an ambient introduction. I feel the pressure from the crowd on my back. It gets worse and worse as the seconds pass. Then… that pivotal moment…
Anthony steps on stage…
The crowd erupts into monumental applause, and the band immediately lashes into their biggest hit “Seven Years”, a cult hit. It’s at this point that I realize, not only am I singing at the top of my lungs to this band, but so is every set of vocal chords in the room. It’s a heavenly choir of lyrics in unison. Not one word is missed, not one note is wrong. Amidst Anthony singing out from the stage, he would pause on occasion and let the audience carry on his harmonies from the recorded version of the song;
Anthony: “Getting off my chest…”
Literally everyone else in the room: “THE STORY EEENNNDDDSSS…”
Right into the first chorus of their set, and I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s pure mayhem. There’s a reason I have a massive bruise on my sternum, and it’s from the twelve tons of person on my spine as they all tried to reach for the stage at once. The set was pretty much this way the entire time. People screaming at the band, the band screaming back. They were constantly moving, and bringing their own intensity to the mix. Not only was the music executed flawlessly, but the between-song-banter was actually funny, and crowd engaging. At one point, the audience passed a pizza up to the stage, and Anthony told them to take it all. I was holding the pizza. By the way, I would not recommend holding a pizza at a SAOSIN concert. People are still mental when it comes to food, and they will try and claw your damn eyeballs out of their sockets for a slice of something that smells like a foot, and bad decisions.
After all the pizza mayhem, and a few more songs, the crowd surfing started coming full force. I was personally kicked in the head multiple times. Once the (I think it was) fourth song ended, some guy decided to randomly clamor on top of everyone before the next song started, and make his way to the front. Inebriated, coated in a grim layer of bodily waste, and donning cowboy boots, he managed to get to where security could pull him from the crowd, where Anthony called him out for doing that without any music playing, in which he compared it to “A girl just talking to you, then she just starts taking her pants off, like… Calm down dude!” I was refreshing to see a vocalist so liberated with their choice of words and subject matter, but I digress. The show continued on. So many songs shouted, so many feelings felt, so many impacts to my cranium, and so many people awkwardly fondling me while trying to grab at SAOSIN.
If you get the chance…catch this tour. Get there early, get up front, and get ready for a rush of nostalgia, and full bore intensity that only original SAOSIN can bring you. I’ll be thinking about this for a long time. Plus, I got the guitarist’s hat, so that’s gonna be a friendly reminder that will conveniently sit atop my head for months on end.
LIVE REVIEW: ZALEN CIGAINERO
LIVE PHOTOS: CRYSTAL FAYE PHOTOGRAPHY