Monday, March 11, 2013
Caspian, Native and Ditch Tiger @ the Red Room (3/7/13)
This show caught my interest because it featured three bands I'd never seen before, two of them from out of state. Then I read up a little on Caspian and got even more interested. They've been making a name for themselves--European tour, SXSW gig, album review in Spin, stuff like that. This show started to look like one of those deals where the band plays some small venue one year and then plays someplace like the Knitting Factory the next.
I counted something like twenty-five people when I arrived at the Red Room. When Caspian played, I counted a little over fifty. Modest, but not bad.
Local band Ditch Tiger opened the show. Usually, I don't care for screamo-ish metal/hardcore, but these guys proved an exception. It helped a lot that their pounding riffs, intertwining guitar lines, snaking basslines and rumbling drums emphasized groove over preening melodrama. You could've even danced at a few points. Their barking vocals didn't seem to fit the music sometimes, but I imagine that they'll work that out (not at the expense of the groove, hopefully). As for the sound as a whole, it was good and loud but not so much so that any instruments drowned out the others.
Up next was Native. Here was surprise number two of the night. This Indiana band's howled vocals, pulverizing chords and machine-gun drumming managed to be dramatic but not overbearing. The trick, I think, lay in how their bass sounded more thunderous than their clean, ringing guitars. This enabled them to infuse their raw power with an agreeable lightness and airiness. Similarly, while their stage act was as fierce as you could've wanted (lunging back and forth, swinging instruments like weapons, big lights flashing when the vocals came in), their joy and gratitude came through strongest: they thanked the audience at length for showing them love on 1) their first time in Boise and 2) their first tour in a long time.
Caspian closed out the night. If somebody ever makes a film adaptation of Dante's Paradiso, he/she should hire these guys to score it. This Massachusetts band's soothing drones, driving beats, guiding basslines, whirring distortion and chiming/roaring guitars were by turns ominous and rousing, turbulent and serene. Their assured playing and unfailing sense of drama kept the audience enraptured for the entire set. Like a waking dream. Highly recommended to fans of Talkdemonic and Red Hands Black Feet.
A nice little aside: I glanced over to the sound booth at one point and saw Blake Green (Wolvserpent) nodding gently to the beat. Skill recognizes skill.
You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Wes Malvini, Evil Wine and the Red Room.