Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meshuggah, Cynic, The Faceless – Station 4 – St. Paul, MN

For those that don’t know, I’ve been a Meshuggah fan since day one, since their early EP and stuff that got re-released with better quality later. They are amazing musicians and I would have paid a lot more money than I did to see them at Station 4.

I missed most of The Faceless, but what I heard I liked. Although when I walked in, there was some pretty fruity singing going on. The sound quality was sub-par as usual for Station 4, but you could still hear the drums enough to know the guy was talented. When the drums stopped, you could hear the guitarist noodling about so I know those guys are pretty good as well. Everything else got lost in the mix. They’ve got some heavy breakdowns which got the crowd all keyed up, which is nice to see as well.

I found my friend HotGirlsBrother after The Faceless and we talked about how we, as musicians, SHOULD like Cynic, but just can’t bring ourselves to do it. This wasn’t going to be the show that changed our minds either. The singer had one of those weird octivator things on his vocal mike so he sounded like Cher in “Do you believe in love”. That got really annoying after about the first 10 seconds. The guitarists didn’t move around all that much and when they did, I would think, “Well, that’s an odd time to be banging your head.” The bass player was amazing though. Fretless 5-string and he used all of it. VERY fun to listen to. The guitarist played Steinbergers (the guitars without headstocks that I loathe just on principle – how can you spear people in the face without a headstock?). They were both really good and played some difficult and full chords. However that was kind of lost in the mix and the extra-fruity singing. At one point, I think the guitarist was singing over and over about a spaceman – what the heck is that all about? The drummer was amazing, both feet and hands. Here is how I described Cynic to HotGirlsBrother – “It sounds like The Mars Volta ruined by blazing guitar solos and double bass.” If I want to hear the Mars Volta, I’ll listen to them. In fact, I love them. I don’t love Cynic. NEXT!

Meshuggah was brilliant as always. Fortunately, we stood on the side of the stage near Frederick Thordendal, the lead guitarist of this band. At Station 4, you’re only going to get to hear one guitar and we chose the correct side of the stage to hear the main guy. Brilliant playing and weird but appropriate solos. The drummer is a freak of nature. I don’t know how he does what he does and so effortlessly and flawlessly, but he’s incredible. The bass player often gets overlooked, but he was dead on. The vocalist is, in my opinion, one of the best front men ever. He’s a minimalist on stage, so he’s not running around. But when he sings and even when he’s letting the band do their thing, he is an imposing force on stage. He might weigh all of 150 pounds, has a shaved head and a manicured beard. But he looks mean and HUGE on stage, even though he’s not. I would see Meshuggah again and again. They had some technical difficulties during their last song - Future Breed Machine. They gave the beginning a couple of attempts (since it’s kind of a weird talk-box sample thing) and when it didn’t work, they just started where the actual music started. True professionals. They played a lot of newer stuff which is amazing and fast and the older stuff is slower and technical – it was a good mix.

Top 5 things about this show
1. Meshuggah
2. Cynic’s bass player
3. The Faceless (what I could hear)
4. I love HotGirlsBrother and his friends
5. Drummer for Meshuggah

Bottom 5 things
1. Cynic in general
2. Sound quality at the venue
3. Show was sold out so hundreds of dirty sweaty metal people
4. One of the Meshuggah zip-up hoodies was SEVENTY dollars
5. Did I mention Cynic?...


No comments: