The choice of venue can give both positive and negative consequences for a show. The choice of a tiny venue above a bar may have given a very large sense of intimacy for the crowd watching O'Brother, Junius and Black Clouds, but the other aspects were definitely harmed. The vocals were mixed way too low throughout the show for each of the bands, and the crowds were mostly calm and quiet. But all of the three bands showed off their superior music abilities and blew away everyone listening with their technical prowess.
Opener, Black Clouds was only playing their second show, but the way that the members worked off each other made them seem like decade long veterans. The brand new post-rock band powered through their 30 minute set with very few words said, made even easier by the fact they were an instrumental band. The band seamlessly went from lighter, ambient sections guided by keys to heavy blasts of sound from the three members, and showed to be very competent to bands such as If These Trees Could Talk and Tides From Nebula. With only one song released so far on their Facebook page, Black Clouds still hasn't shown us what they can do in a recorded setting. But after seeing their live performance, I have much faith that the band will release one mighty post-rock record.
Junius was the band probably most hurt by the poor sound setup by the venue. The band's heavy instrumentation drowned out vocalist Joseph Martinez's super smooth voice which, if mixed better could have brought their performance to a new level. But, Junius also knew how to combat the weaknesses of the venue, using self operated lights to add another dimension to their performance. While guitarist Michael Repasch-Nieves casually shredded at times, he often head-banged hard enough to leave a trail of sweat flowing beneath his body. All of the members put their best into the performance, overcoming the relative difficulties from the venue to put on an extremely solid performance.
O'Brother had been one of the most impressive live performances I had ever seen in the past, and their headlining set was just as intense. They played songs from throughout their catalog, stating that they were playing a song that "they had not played in a while" as they began "The Great Release" from the The Death Of Day EP. But a large portion of their set came from their newest release, the debut full length Garden Window. The upbeat "Lo" was a highlight of the band's set, as fill-in guitarist Kyle Coleman seamlessly was integrated into the band on his first tour with O'Brother and showed that he was a perfect fit for the important spot. But, the most chilling moment of the night was during crowd favorite "Sputnik". The docile crowd surprisingly ignited during the chants in the bridge as the band folded out the instruments and let the screams of the crowd fill in the blanks. While the venue's sound could have possibly crippled the band's heavy, guitar layered attack, the band's technical ability made up for the auditory weaknesses. As O'Brother closed with the album title inspiring "Lay Down", the crowd was visibly blown away, further implanting O'Brother as one of the best live acts in the game.