Written by Rachel Ardour*
I’ve got so many feelings about the Pillorian, Obsidian Tongue, Mavradoxa and Ancalagon show. It was one of the most profound and all-around surprising (at least to me) shows I’ve seen in a while. And that’s why I specifically asked Mike if I could write this show review, and he said yes so here I am!
The anticipation for this show was heavy. You could feel it in the air walking around. People were downright giddy.
Ancalagon started us off and I’m always blown away by the sheer talent displayed by this band. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing all those guys grow as musicians and they’ve gone to amazing places with their craft. Brian and Collin’s soaring guitar duets always remind me of Dissection, although I know they both also are also heavily influenced by Inquisition, Rotting Christ and Melechesh. I always find the riffs they write delightful and fun and never ever boring. Every turn a song takes has me going “wow, that’s really neat!” These are of course nicely complimented by John’s equally melodic bass lines and Joe’s machine-like precise drumming – that dude is a human metronome. You can set your clocks to his drumming, I promise. And of course there’s Matt. He brings such a great energy to his performances. It doesn’t matter if he’s got a room of just a few or 100+ people, he gives it his all. And I always find it exciting when new people get to see these guys play, and watch them be blown away as I was when they first hit the scene. The crowd got to moshing right away, showing just how much they were loving the performance. I always love a lively crowd!
Next up was Mavradoxa with quite a few tricks up their sleeves. I hadn’t seen them since their show with Dark City at the Bug Jar in January. They were incredible then, but this show they showed just how hard they’ve been working in the last few months, really honing their sound. Again these are some of Rochester’s finest and most dedicated musicians that I’ve been watching grow as musicians for years. I’ve lost count of how many bands and projects Josh has been involved with. I remember when Monica just started playing the drums, and it’s mindblowing how far she’s come in that short time – and it’s all that dedication to her craft. She’s a joy to watch because you can see just how much she loves to play. The music that Mavradoxa makes is so full of feeling too. I love the guitar harmonies and that the bass line also harmonizes and counters the guitar melodies. I’ll always rave about a bassist that understands the concept of counterpoint! And Josh gets it. Mavradoxa killed their set.
Obsidian Tongue took a long time doing sound check but we found out there was good reason for that. This is probably the 5th time I’ve seen them, and they’re always a treat. In my opinion, they’re best live. There’s just something to their presence that a recording doesn’t quite capture. They are one of those bands that have several 15-minute epics, so I think they got to play about 3 songs for their set. Their music has plenty of mood shifts to keep things interesting though, and it’s amazing the sound they create with just 2 guys. The crowd even found reasons to be lively for their set.
And then the main event. Pillorian. I have to admit, although I’m familiar with the bands most of these guys were in before Pillorian, I didn’t check out their music at all. Although I remember someone telling me about it when they released their album, for whatever reason I never got around to listening. But that’s fine, sometimes I think the best way to hear a band for the first time is live, so that you really get the feel of what they’re all about. And they were amazing. Not at all what I expected coming from the guy who wrote albums I used to fall asleep to… I was amazed at how energetic and moshable this stuff was. And the crowd took every opportunity they could to get moving. The air was thick with the fog which of course added to the atmosphere of the music in a great way. You can really get lost in there!
Photo by Mario Rodriguez*
Overall I give this show two thumbs up, plus all my other fingers, and toes as well. It was great, moody, atmospheric and very foggy. The crowd was lively, the venue is great. You can bring your drink outside to have a smoke, there’s lots of parking, interesting decor to stare at while trying to make awkward conversation at the bar…what’s not to love? It was great to see so many new faces too, and I hope our local music offerings had them hungering for more!
Our top picks from the bands:
And if you’re such a person hungering for more – go to the Ancalagon tour kickoff show June 15 at The Bug Jar. This will be their last tour with Collin before he leaves to pursue more schooling in Virginia, so it will likely be your last chance to see this lineup in Rochester. Not something to be missed! Send them off right on their tour and also wish our dear Collin luck in his future endeavors! Also at this show Tyranitar will be playing after a long hiatus with a new drummer, Fatal Curse is coming out from parts unknown, and Aspired Infliction and Abyance from Buffalo!