|Russian Circles at Cat's Cradle|
The lights blacked out. Shortly after, a feedback-laden loop played, entrancing the audience until it was impossible to know how much time had passed. That's one thing I love about these kinds of shows. Typically, bands have openers to prep the audience for the big act of the night, so the mood is already set for the headliner, the audience is awake and excited; it's go time for the main act. Russian Circles was able to re-calibrate and wield any energy in the room, bringing everyone back to the same focal point. If you've seen Godspeed You! Black Emperor, it was a similar intro and feeling. The band walked out onto the foggy stage and ripped it open. The backlighting highlighted the band's profiles instruments' blurred silhouettes, a fan was blowing on the drummer accentuating each hard hit to his kit. Playing through their thick catalog, the band went through various guitars and basses manipulated by a hefty (and highly custom-made) pedalboard. They made great use of sampling, looping and layering to create a truly impressive live performance, elaborating on their recorded songs.
|Russian Circles' pedalboard|
It was a Monday night but didn't feel like it. My only complaint of the night was the crowd. For being fairly scene-heavy, there was a lot of chatter during quiet parts which you just don't do at a post rock show. This genre provides an experience versus the cut and dry division of songs that calls for no interruptions or jumping the gun on clapping, despite good intentions of praise. In fact, I've seen people get shushed before and dirty looks cast at cell phones going off. Along with that, this wasn't a type of show you yell out requests at. The set was consciously well-crafted as is. Rocking out is cool, moshing can be appropriate, but taking it to torpedoing across the crowd Raiden style isn't. Luckily these complaints address a limited group, but it was distracting. All that aside, it was a phenomenal night and I hope to see Russian Circles again.