Thursday, May 10, 2007

Catharsis and the Concert Goer: Tungsten Coil/subNatural

The always-lovely Ms. Adzuki and I had both been having rather One Of Those Weeks, but despite our fatigue we gathered ourselves up and headed down to Elysium to catch subNatural and Tungsten Coil's show last month on April 27th. In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely certain what lay in wait for us – there’s a world of difference between a couple of songs on a MySpace page and the real sound and feel of a live show. Both bands seemed somewhat subdued from their MySpace offerings, and I was really needing something that could wring out all the bad stuff I'd seemed to have absorbed in my inner sponge. Boy howdy, was I in for a shock...

The first act of the night (we always try to get there in time enough to catch all three) was a group called Matches for Memories - an incredibly energetic group of guys who set a good mood for the night. It was impossible to sit still and chat when they were bounding and grinding like life depended on it on stage, I kept finding myself wriggling about in my chair and wishing the very nice random person who'd joined us would stop trying to talk over the band and let me listen. A wonderful setup to the rest of the night.

subNatural was up next, and I was completely unprepared for what I got. The sound I heard on their MySpace was not nearly as hard as what they had in the club that night. Possibly it was the recent addition of their new drummer (who was absolutely astounding, and I wish I'd gotten to see the previous fellow before live to compare, 'cause I'm like that) or maybe just the intensity of live performance itself drove everything to a more frenetic place, whatever it was, I wish they'd bottle it because it was hot. I found myself absolutely transfixed, up and dancing, feeling all that nasty goo at the bottom of my soul shaking up and coming loose. There was so much drive and furious energy coming off everyone on stage - at times it was hard to keep up with the flurry of motion that was Ritch in his shiny red pants, now up, now down, now clutched head-to-head with Nick on the bass, carrying the crowd along with him as he went from high to low and back. Dizzying, energizing, the set was sex on legs, and I was desperately sorry when it was over. Hell, I was taken enough with them that their band sticker is the first band sticker to grace the back windshield of my car. That says something.

The short break between sets was hardly enough for me to get my breath back, and Tungsten Coil came on stage. Fog, lots of it, poured off into the crowd, and a light show started as the lead singer came out on stage with arms spread - I'll admit, my first thought was oh god, please don't let this be cheesy. It was ballsy and made me raise an eyebrow, but lucky for him there were folks in the know there, and they were already all on board. Then they started playing, and it all fell in together, the vocals, the instruments, the lights and the fog, just an absolute force from the stage that Before I knew it, Cindy'd pulled me up to the very front of the crowd and I was screaming right there with everyone else, so caught up in the dancing I didn't realize I was actually holding myself up with the edge of the stage to keep from falling over. Sadly, as tends to be the case down at Elysium it seems, the vocals were often drowned out by the rest of the music, but as a package whole, the way the performance crashed over me and through me was precisely what I'd been needing all week - a pure catharsis of sound and light and attitude. It didn't hurt that they did a hella cover of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" - you do tribute to the songs that define my history, I'm gonna cheer for your future, it's just my nature. And while it was all what I would consider a very hard and gutsy set, it wasn't all just fast or noisy. There were definite and strong moods within the set, and Eric did a great job of setting up what was coming, connecting with the audience, talking to us, bringing us in to their dark ride. And come on, how can you NOT love a show that has the guy on keyboards come up front and center on a keytar and rock out like Dimitri did not once, but multiple times?

I have no idea how long their set lasted. Much like subNatural's set, time sort of stopped and I was lost in the performance, caught up by the artists, surrendered to the sound. I really like that I came away singing the praises of not just the musicians, but the whole performance - the stage presence, the set design (the TC banner in the back that lit up was kick ass, along with the additional lights they had on stage with them and other touches) - that kind of attention to detail really makes or breaks a live concert which in my little highly digital world makes or breaks a band for me, too. I don't want to go out to a club to hear studio cuts, I go out to a concert to be cut by the hard edge of sound and performance. I go to be caught up and left exhausted. That night, cumulative, did that for me - as the final notes of Tungsten Coil's final song slowly faded out, I realized I was empty. Totally wrung out. The artists of the night had picked me up and made me move and shake and feel to the point I had to gtfo and get food NOW so I could get us all the way back up north to points homeward. I'm actually kind of sorry I had to leave in such a hurry for sustenance, I totally didn't see if they had a merch booth set up in the back. Next time I'll have to pack a granola bar so I can linger. This is what live music is about though, for me, bands who don't just sing at you, they draw you in, pull you under. I am so incredibly glad I didn't let a little thing like lack of sleep keep me home that night, I'd have missed out on some of the best damn music I've listened to in a while, and an incredible piece of performance. Check their schedule and see if they'll be in your area anytime soon. If it's anything like the one I got, it's a show you don't want to miss.

Upcoming Shows:
(please see bands' webspaces for more details and most up to date info)
Tungsten Coil
May 22nd @ 10pmKLBJ-FM 93.7Austin, TX
May 30th @ 10pm101X Homegrown LiveAustin, TX
May 23rdROOM 710Austin, TX
June 15thRedrumAustin, TX
June 16thReno's Chop ShopDallas, TX

Tungsten Coil on MySpace

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic concert review. :)
I'm so glad you're on board because my concert reviews are dry as fuck. It's a shame we can't haul Shawn down to Austin more often to see the action at Elysium. I know he would have enjoyed this show.

Monday, May 14, 2007  

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