Monday, November 14, 2011

11/13/11 Cynic with 3 and Iron Thrones @ Station 4

Okay, given the late hour, people might follow why so many concerts, tv, and movie reviews haven't found their way in here. (Time, discipline, etc. more to add soon. about that)

Iron Thrones: they played 5 or 6 songs I think, and I sensed among the 3 shows I've seen from them, they may have sounded the best from a performance standpoint. Now, just a point to make, when this tour was announced, Anathema was included as another potential band on the bill; but they couldn't make this show, nor the tour I don't believe. I think due to Visa issues, but I shouldn't be quoted about that.

So, someone who runs Station 4's facebook page asked for suggested local bands to open this show with Anathema canceling (and Scale the Summit, who will be coming with Protest the Hero in a few weeks). So I and especially my friend Josh suggested a few names (Brice Plays Drums, The Royal Veil and maybe 1 or 2 others), and Iron Thrones were among them. I had seen them with East of the Wall in 2010, and knew they were playing another show with EotW coming up.

So, I am glad they got to open this show, and if I had any reasonable part in helping them out, cool.

And their music, I guess I'd describe as slightly technical metalcore, is kind of hit and miss for me. I really enjoy some of the guitar tones they use, and when they use syncopation. Their vocals are a little hard to gauge given tonally their singer often sounds similar on more than one song. Although to be honest, that's hardly a huge factor for me, nor all that different than a lot of metalcore bands.

But the last point I can't forget is just Station 4. While thankfully tonight was not the Sauna that it can often be, namely in the Summer. The sound issues, namely the mix of the vocals and some of things, continues to disappoint me here and there. The vocals get drowned out by the distortion. It goes in and out, but I've experienced this issue there enough times to not be surprised by it. What they can do about it, I dunno.

My Divided Falling
Battle Cry
Alien Angel
High Times

they didn't have the extra members to jam on the tom drums like at Progressive Nation 2008 or when I saw them at the Entry in 2009. However, Joey and the others still had a great energy which is one of the biggest reasons why they stand out live. Although I'd be lying if the absence of those drummers/drumjams wasn't missed.

But like Iron Thrones, I found Joey's vocals going in and out and muffled at times. Now part of that could be he wasn't always directly on his microphone when he was really extending himself (and his head or neck). However, I spoke to him both after and before the show. And I actually asked him about them playing the song "Only Child" and he said they are looking to debut it at a show on December 30th in their hometown (Woodstock, NY). It making more sense to play it live the right/full way, etc.

But one reason he said they'd never do a song like that at a show like the show tonight is they didn't have a SOUNDCHECK. So, there you go. His vocals were drowned out sounding at times, go figure without a soundcheck.

But overall, especially the energy and some of the songs like "My Divided Falling" and "Alien Angel" really were enjoyable. And the "Bramfatura/Jam/Amazedisgrace" is always worth the price of admission. Joey popped a string on his acoustic and was sorta animated and tempted to smash it. But unlike Pete Townshend or Jimi Hendrix, a guitar smashing doesn't work too well in the budget.

It was cool chatting with him, Billy and some of the other members of 3 afterwards. Joey mentioned that they may, or have been approached to do some kind of split EP with Between the Buried and Me. Also perhaps Josh from Kiss Kiss/Vuvuzela could be working with them, playing with 3 as another guitarist and/or some new original music (if the opportunity was given). While many may not be aware (although not myself before last night) Joey is a big fan of Kiss Kiss. And that may largely be a result of when Three toured with Kiss Kiss, going back to 2006 with Kaddisfly, and I recall at least 1 or more tours a few years later.

As a fan of Josh and Kiss Kiss along with 3, I'd love to see that happen. Also The Dear Hunter as Joey knows and have done some shows with them. A tour with them could happen next year, if the timing were to work. Now whether those 2 bands doing a full-scale North American tour together, and it coming to St.Paul or Minneapolis is still a bit of wishful thinking right now. But logically it would be a great tour, and The Dear Hunter and 3 have gained at least a little more of a following in this town of late.


I'm guessing this is the setlist as it is given for the show from Friday.

Amidst The Coals
Carbon-Based Anatomy
Evolutionary Sleeper
How Could I
Adam's Murmur
Celestial Voyage
Elves Beam Out
King of Those Who Know
Veil of Maya
Wheels Within Wheels
Integral / Integral Birth
Box Up My Bones
The Space For This

given I love Focus, but also think/know it best as a complete, flowing record, this Cynic concert and setlist was a bit hit and miss for me. I do find their new EP Carbon Based Anatomy interesting, but not necessarily addictive or as Cynic-like. But I did enjoy the music from it, the samples and atmosphere tonight. However, compared to seeing the complete Focus back last year, this show didn't engage me throughout.

I will say, the best moments got my attention enough. They have this hypnotic quality often in their music, which really works wonders. And I think the sound issues were less noticed during their set for some reason. But overall I ended up getting an uneven reaction. Maybe it's just the material, mainly the Traced In Air work which I've never loved. Or maybe Station 4 had something to do with it. I would enjoy seeing them at another venue if possible, but the odds seem almost nil for that to happen. And given their interest (and lack of promotion in this town) I suppose there shouldn't be many reasons to be disappointed.

I also overheard someone mention they have a new record coming next year. I wonder how much of the ambient, post-rock kind of work (like from their new EP) it'll include.