A/ Thee Silver Mt. Zion…

28 Apr

Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band: live

Some plans and ideas seem to end up having everything stacked against them, and somehow it all manages to turn out alright. School was ok, but nothing extraordinary, the bus ride home was hell. I got splattered in ink and was carrying four bags and small art portfolio case. I got home and the internet was down so I couldn’t check if anyone wanted my spare ticket for tonight’s ASMZ gig in my hometown!! It was always meant to be special. ASMZ, a slither of Gospeed!, of tiny bit Montreal in the town where i live. But home seemed to have different ideas. After waiting 40mins for a bus i started walking/running. Asked someone about 5 request stops along if they’d been waiting long: 48 mins… So i got to the station and hopped on another bus into town. Ran a bit more to the venue and got there with just enough time to get something to eat and get a good place.

I wasn’t 100% up for the gig, even though i was pumped the day before. The spare ticket had been bugging me. I didn’t want to go alone, but in the end did. I couldn’t refund it, couldn’t find anyone (everyone seemed to want to go but just “couldn’t”). Today I also found out just before I went out that my mum was at the hospital, nothing seemingly serious, but hospital nonetheless. So my mind was slightly preoccupied. But ASMZ was the perfect…remedy? I don’t know. Maybe a way of looking at things. For the the first time ever during the music, the instrumental sections in particular, I kept seeing flashing images/ flashbacks in my mind’s eye.

The initially quiet, reserved, unwelcoming crowd took a while to get clapping and cheering and the first three songs were beautiful but received with clapping and then silence, in contrast to the footstamping, cheering, whooping and applauding for the encore. Mainly compromising new songs, only a few people were aware of the structure of the songs. Opener 13 Blues for 13 Moons was the lowlight of the night, but still a string driven thought-warping epic which was followed by the very impressive older number Mountains Made of Steam. Those 10 or so minutes were just beautifully solemn and an elegiac like aural panorama of the rising, falling, frothing sea. Emotionally I felt myself strangely affected for a song I’d never heard before by a band who I’m not really aware of all the recorded material. The next song, Engine Broke, was my highlight. A beautifully slow building, almost schizophrenic journey, with a drum line which sounded more poppy than any other ASMZ song to date. It was followed by a good performance of Take These Hands And Throw Them In The River, again characteristic of the relationship between swooping and jarring strings, bass lines and half melodies, vocal harmonies and harshly sung lines, which represent the model of ASMZ we’ve come to expect.

Engine Broke

Erfin had a few words before the newly written A Million Died To This Sound, a filmic dramatic number. Frontman Erfin referred to the often ridiculous nature of the internet, hype and “hometown heroes”. Someone in the crowd shouted The View but the band just knew the name as some American TV show with menopausal women rather than the “shit scottish band”, which brought some genuine humour to the evening, but I wonder if Efrin’s hometown heroes could just be…well, you know…AF. And guess how I first heard of ASMZ.

Encore Blind, Blind, Blind had the audience captivated and hypnotised. Erfin’s impassioned vocals were really effectively used here and it was a great way to finish- haunting, cinematic and mesmerising. Everything had turned out far more than alright.

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