» Blog Archive Intronaut Tour Leaves NYC Dazed -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

DSC00825Sometimes, when tours get announced, the lineup is just too good to pass up, even if you aren’t entirely familiar with the bands attached. I could argue that I enjoyed Intronaut and Scale the Summit as bands and that they’re great musicians, but improper timing on my behalf never allowed me to give the respective bands as much time as they deserved. I’m familiar with a good deal of their songs, and given the fact that they were all withstanding the staggering amount of music I’ve digested clearly says something about the quality of the bands as a whole.

DSC00576Intronaut announced a stacked lineup, featuring them, The Ocean, and North a few months back, and I couldn’t resist being excited. I had missed every opportunity to see Intronaut prior, and I hadn’t seen The Ocean since their appearance on Summer Slaughter back in 2013. Unfortunately, The Ocean were forced to drop from the tour, but by picking up Scale the Summit, it was clear to me that this was still going to be a show of great proportions.

The Marlin Room at Webster Hall is a less conventional one than, say, Gramercy Theater: there was no barrier or security for this show, and everyone who went towards the front quickly was bunched up by the stage itself. “Intimate” is a worthy description for the venue, and it should have been an indication that the show was going to be more personal than pandering to spectacle, even with some dramatic lights to accompany the headliner.DSC00585

I had arrived late and only caught local NY act Family for their last song, but massive props to them, as their sound was powerful and impactful, making me feel like I missed out on something for their 30 minutes. Quickly and well under the 15 minutes in between sets, North took the stage, and wasted no time in making an impression strong enough to the point where they set a new standard for opening bands in general for me.

North plays a daring game of partaking in the atmospheric sludge and post-metal blend. One could argue the genre is oversaturated with only bands like Neurosis and Isis making sizable impacts and giving way to many copycats. (As well as a few others, but only a few) The odds are in North’s favor, though, as they quickly and effectively proved to not be a simple, gimmicky pushover.

DSC00615A massive force of destruction being emitted from only three musicians was an incredible sight to witness, but even more so impressive was the general musicianship each band member displayed. Drummer Zack Hansen made a fine display of everything a drummer should be: accurate, energetic, dynamic, vicious, and mathematical, tackling each song with vigorous precision. Bassist/vocalist Evan Leek was committed to the dynamic of the music, as well, throwing his head back and forth with a barrage of heaviness, contrasting that of the actions of guitarist Matthew Mutterperl, who clearly had his hands full. The guitarist was absorbed into the music and heavily entranced by his precise transitions of effect pedals to accompany his titanic riffing and lead parts.

It also helped that the band was highly photogenic, as well. I can only hope they are able to grow in popularity, as they have my full and undeniable support from that single performance.

DSC00688Shuffling themselves off stage to a strong applause, Scale the Summit’s members quickly set their gear up and exposing more of the stage as they did. The instrumental prog metal act has been around for give or take more than a decade by this point in their career, and have a reputation for being virtuosos in their own right. Formed at the Musician’s Institute by guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier, the band has gone forward to being noteworthy in the Djent scene, but in recent years have transcended to become widely accepted by progressive metal fans.

DSC00777The first notable quality of their live show is how tight the performance was, being able to perform alongside a beautiful and constantly evolving video presentation, as well. The band was nice enough to include song names at the beginning of each new track, which made refreshing my mind of their songs much more convenient. Equally appealing were the band’s instruments: Letchford played an amazing, seven string Strandburg with a sparkling blue finish, while Levrier sported a devilishly smooth Jackson guitar that one could only dream of. Bassist Mark Mitchell’s Warwick bass wore a finish of spotted textures with the ever-appealing light up frets, emitting a vibrant blue light as the lights dimmed.

Once the band actually started playing, all expectations were met. Not only was it one of the most emotional, awe-inspiring sets I’ve seen a progressive metal band play, but the band managed to invoke depths of emotion in a live setting without sacrificing any of their technicality. Guitar and bass solos soared over complex riffs and passages, while drummer J.C. Bryant pounded away at his own degree of skill, all while smiling the entire gig.

DSC00776Songs like “Oort Cloud” received a roar of happiness from the crowd, and in moments like that, you could see in every band member’s face that all those hours spent practicing were paying off. The band stopped briefly halfway through their nine song set to thank the crowd, but also expressed their thankfulness at the end, following “Origin of Species,” showing that despite the inhuman level of musicianship they possessed, they were still in contact with their humanity. It’s remarkable that anyone would be able to put together such a flawless set like Scale the Summit did. They are the real deal.

DSC00828Intronaut, as the headliner, had a tough act to follow. Just as quickly as before, Intronaut took to the stage, wasting no time in getting to business. Unbeknownst to myself, Intronaut were playing the entirety of their new album, The Direction of Last Things, something I realized was happening by the third song. Once starting, Intronaut went right into “Fast Worms,” alternating between the heavy, sludgy riffs, and coupling it with a dynamic chorus, both guitarists Sacha Dunable and Dave Timnick handling vocal duties triumphantly. The two harmonized perfectly, backing one another up in the cleaner parts of the song, before driving it back into a pummeling guitar riff.

Through the set, amidst the spinning lights and the changing dynamics of the music, bassist Joe Lester stood triumphantly between the two, his powerful and clean bass playing accompany a pose that said “respect me.” Lester’s bass chops were on point, and when the lights lit up behind him, he cast a menacing silhouette towards the crowd. As fearsome as these moments were, his bass tone was monstrous, cutting through the rest of the band like a razor but hitting like a sledge hammer.

DSC00871Drummer Danny Walker was impressive, as well, jumping between the technical aspect of Intronaut’s drumming, all the while appearing relaxed and at ease. Part of me was envious in watching him perform, making it seem so easy but producing music that was anything short of remarkable. It remains to be seen why Walker is not being talked about more as a drummer among musicians.

As one who enjoyed The Direction of Last Things considerably, the set itself was a joy to behold. The band, though, decided to save the heaviest of hits for last, playing “Milk Leg” from their 2013 album Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) and other fan favorites, of which the crowd reacted joyfully and receptively. All in front of a spiraling and evolving video aspect of the show, the band ended the set on a high note, following up one of their strongest albums with their most well received songs to date.

DSC00801The entirety of the show was impressive, as I went in with a basic knowledge of the main acts and allowed myself to be enthralled by it from start to finish. Intronaut and Scale the Summit are both worthy of the praise they endlessly receive through their releases, and the live performance just went to show that it was no embellishment. North set up the show perfectly for the two bands after them, and I hope any of the bands make an effort to return in some capacity soon, as I could not ask for a finer performance from any of the acts.

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