Instrumental Math Rock
An opinion piece turned concert review
The other night I went to a concert with a friend of mine, a task quite difficult given my latest successes at improving my sleep schedule. There were 3 bands, I knew one song by the second band so I thought “yeah that sounds like a gig worth going to”.
Vaseduva — The Physics House Band — sleepmakeswaves
I got lucky as I was blown away by each band’s performance.
It often happens that the ‘warm-up’ bands underperform or fail to impress because they have a shorter set to work with, or a smaller audience present, but sometimes the exact opposite happens. This was a great show, all of the bands were equal when it came to on stage entertainment value, despite minor hic-ups and mid song sound-tech action because of time limits.
The first band Vasudeva came on stage at 8pm when they were supposed to be starting, then proceeded to not start and initiate soundcheck. After such a brilliant display of tour fatigue (which Guitarist №1 a.k.a. Mr. Bus Fatigue a.k.a Corey Mastrangelo apologized for multiple times through their set) they started playing, told us it was their second time here, and impressed me thoroughly.
Vasudeva’s songs, all non-vocal, carry a warm yet bright tone. The best way I could put it during the show was “Most music doesn’t make me dance but these guys do”. The sound of the drums could be best described as ‘light on its feet’ offering the band a jumpy energetic mood while the two melody and fingertapping heavy guitars make the band’s music feel like a cyclical rise and fall of a summer breeze.
Their set has come and gone, and they were off the stage. I had the pleasure of running into Vasudeva’s Guitarist №2 a.k.a. Grant Mayer, who did me the massive favor of running backstage with my freshly purchased copy of their first full release Life in Cycles, and returning with the signatures of all 3 of the band members, Corey, and Drummer №3 a.k.a Drummer №1 because they only have one a.k.a Derek Broomhead.
Now is time for the second band that I originally came for: The Physics House Band or TPHB from now on. The only song I knew from them was Teratology, a kind of anthisesis to the overall emotional theme of Vasudeva. TPHB’s songs could be best described as ‘Going to a physics class when you actually like physics. Also you are travelling at the speed of light. In space. And sometimes under water. And sometimes in your own psyche.”
Adam Hutchinson a.k.a. Make Playing Bass Look Cool starts the set off with a simple introduction. It went something like this: “Hey guys we are Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, let’s get lucky”, I like to believe I learnt more about the philosophy of that band through that single line than I ever could have online.
TPHB’s music is fearless, it dares confuse its listener, and it remains entertaining and sheer fun throughout this process. This could even be felt during soundcheck where I constantly wondered if the set began or not. I turned to my friend and told him “I don’t usually experience so many plot twists during sound checks”. TPHB is a band for avid music listeners who like to venture into the unknown, potentially multiple times in the same song. The drums feel heavy and demanding, on occasion rather confusing. The bass is intense and refuses to sink into irrelevance through sudden shifts in pacing, while the guitars/synths refresh and uphold the sci-fi vibes throughout the gig and each song.
At the merch stand I ran into Adam then thinking I’m a smartass I cracked a (most likely) oversaturated IT Crowd joke about his hairstyle. He gave me a surprised smile (probably as a response to getting this relatively English/ more Western joke in Central-East Europe) and said “Yeah. Very good”. I then ran into the band and had them sign my also freshly purchased Mercury Fountain CD. All of them are super relaxed guys who clearly love what they do and the people they do it for. If you get a chance to see them please do.
And last I got to see around the first half of sleepmakeswaves. They were definitely the most jammable of the three bands in the sense that more people were willing to get excited about them. They weren’t as happy sounding as Vaseduva but not quite as complex as TPHB so they struck the ‘fun’ middle ground perfectly. They’ve the vibes of a post rock band that likes having fun other than talking to aesthtetic album cover artists. The guys came through as eternally grateful on stage, and so happy to be where they are.
Over all, this evening was about experiencing rock music fitting for the 21st. century: complex, modern, entertaining and engaging, both musically and in person.
I wish I could have stayed longer but if you payed attention I mentioned my fixed sleep schedule in the beginning of this post. I acted as a shadow of myself halway through the ‘most jammable’ band so I had to leave to get home relatively in time. It’s a shame because I missed out on the opportunity to hang with the bands a bit longer. If you ever read this guys, it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you all, and I hope you all come back to Hungary soon.