Saosin, with Armor for Sleep, Fear Before the March of Flames and Meriwether
Saturday, February 9
By CALEB GOELLNER
The kids born around 1990 are starting to hit the age when they can vote, smoke and gamble, and their newly minted right to be nostalgic was apparent at Saturday night’s Saosin show. Rock and roll has changed some, but despite a young audience glowing of PDAs, some of the attitude and fashion present at the show evoked memories of a decade too cool for the Soviet Union.
Walking into The Granada a few minutes before the show began, I took note of several blasts from the past. Among the resurrected fashion trends were gold-foil print on neon-colored band merchandise and more than one adolescent sporting flannel. This kind of obnoxious-meets-sensible parade of colors and fabrics mirrored the kind of show that would unfold as the night progressed.
Opening band Meriwether began the show playing solid rock tunes with a touch of heaviness. The rhythm section stood out for the first half of the set, mostly because the guitar levels bobbed up and down to the point of distraction as the mixed was tweaked. Strong vocals and friendly song construction eventally shone through as the levels evened out, and the band closed with its speediest and most interesting song of the set.
Next up was Fear Before the March of Flames, a band that I have a pretty soft spot for. In fact, I have such as soft spot that I’m willing to break Stephen King’s “adverbs are for retards” rule to describe their sound: Fear Before plays asymmetrical and awesomely abrasive music and they do it in front of a killer, custom light show. Skipping around in a woman’s dress, frontman David Michael Marion kept his junk beneath his skirt and gave any too-cool-for-bands-without-eyeliner spectators a literal and metaphorical set of middle fingers. It wasn’t pretty, but it was real.
What was pretty was Armor for Sleep’s set. For some reason, every time I’ve seen the band live, its drummer has stolen the show, pounding out fills far mightier than what’s recorded. It’s nice to hear a little ballsy variation, especially when Armor’s vocals have historically suffered from a deliberate stutter and slur problem. At this gig, however, the melodies came out clear and in time. It made all the difference.
Speaking of singing, Saosin did a lot of it, and somewhere beneath the apocalyptic amount of vocal delay pushed by the PA, scores of fans could be heard singing along. Looking equal parts Dustin Diamond and Kurt Cobain, vocalist Cove Reber commanded the rowdy crowd through a smashing set. I’m sure the girls and boys used to crushing on his press pics were a bit dismayed by his blatant effort not to look cute, but it honestly impressed me. Saosin’s rock’n was satisfying and a hypnotic curtain of Christmas lights flashed to the beat. It was a good enough time to forgive the sound guy for any overzealousness.
Sipping on my drink of choice, I reflected on the night’s relative variety and thought about the future. In 18 years, will younger generations mimic today’s culture? This show was enjoyable enough for me not to vomit at that prospect.