Live at Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, March 21, 2014Featured review by: UG Team, on march 28, 2014 2 of 10 people found this review helpful
Sound: Between The Buried And Me is considered by many to be one of the most creative bands in the world. This progressive metal juggernaut is most famous for their improvement from one record to the next, never taking a step backward, only forward, becoming more creative, diverse, and therefore interesting along the way. It goes without saying that BTBAM's music is extremely complex and musically enlightening, which begs the question: can such complexity successfully transfer to a live environment?
So, as someone who was relatively new to the band's music and curious to listen to it live, I went to their show last Friday, March 21st at the Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA to answer that question. The opening acts for the night were The Kindred (worth listening to), Intronaut (not very good), and Deafheaven (incredible live experience, but music was below average).
The easy answer to that paramount question is no. Such complex music, I have learned, does not serve a live show well. But still, there was a lot to experience that night.
By the time BTBAM came onstage at about 9:45, I was tired of standing on my feet for two and a half hours. As I alluded to before, the opening acts were okay but not amazing. Especially during Intronaut, I found myself staring more at the sound guy mess with his knobs than the actual band. So I was definitely ready to be blown away by BTBAM. They came onstage with no fanfare, no theatrical music, no dimming of the lights, nothing spectacular to give a superhuman impression. Obviously, BTBAM prefers to let the music speak for itself. With vocalist Tommy Giles Rogers opening with a quiet, somewhat classical piece on the keyboard, the night was launched.
In terms of sound, the band played excellently. I did not notice any mistakes in terms of playing; quite an achievement given the musical acumen needed to even attempt to play this music. In terms of tone, each band member, on his own, sounded excellent. However, as a group, the tone tended to muddy up during the heavy parts of the songs, mostly when Rogers made death growls/screams. I could also not hear the bass clearly at all unless it was playing on its own. Though something I found interesting is that I noticed no muddiness when listening to the included video that documents the show. I was standing next to the sound guy, so I assumed I was getting the best earful of anyone in the building, so I would take both my tonal assessment and the audio from the included video with a grain of salt.
In terms of comprehensibility, it was plainly impossible to absorb BTBAM's material in real-time. There was very little that I was able to get clear in my mind the night of the concert. But now, looking at the video, it is easier to make sense of what they were doing. Honestly, during the show, the only thing that I could comprehend was the fact that sections were put together that would not have seemed like likely companions, yet they folded into each other in a way that just made total sense.
Evidently, many in the crowd, namely those who were moshing, did not frown upon this lack of comprehensibility, having memorized every section from the songs. So, I would assume that for longtime fans, BTBAM provides an excellent experience, but from my point of view, as someone who is relatively new to the band, there was just way too much to comprehend at once. // 7
Perfomance: With BTBAM, it was immediately clear what the concert experience would be like from the get-go. From a stage presence point of view, once the lead singer tore away from the keyboard into one of his death growls, BTBAM showed all there was to see.
At stage left, the rhythm guitarist put his foot on the monitor, his guitar on his hip in a vertical position, and politely strummed his chords, maybe the required harmony every now and then. The lead guitarist on stage right was covered in his long, ragged mane of hair and stared at his fingers all night, moving the guitar around every now and then, but he more or less remained mesmerized by his fingers the whole night (but who could blame him; they were active and fun to watch).
Bassist, Dan Briggs, was probably the most active of the band apart from Rogers, the lead singer. Briggs, though, was still not incredibly active; he just bounced back and forth in his odd position in the back of the stage, usually standing sideways so that his headstock pointed toward the crowd. Singer Tommy Giles Rogers wasn't too interesting himself, sticking mostly to one major pose with his right hand high as if he was beholding and approving of the terror of a riot. He would jump back and forth like the bassist, but over a larger surface area.
Overall, the band did not have a good amount of stage presence; headbanging just doesn't cut it anymore. Still, the band did have one or two planned movements, and honestly, their fingers ran across their fretboards so quickly and gracefully that watching those fingers was entertainment in itself. To me, the best parts of the concert were when Rogers would go to the back of the stage and play some chords on the keyboard and clear the way for some beautiful guitar harmonies (to see what I mean, check at about the 40 minute mark of the included video). // 6
Overall Impression: Taken as a whole, the concert was average. Sure, BTBAM showed a little stage presence here and there and sure, they played their music flawlessly, but I firmly believe that an amazing concert has more to it than just playing something that people could listen to on an album. I would probably not go see the band live again because I, personally, get much more gratification by appreciating BTBAM's music straight off the album, as I discovered it in the first place. Moreover, personally, as a live entity, I thought that Deafheaven outdid BTBAM.
If you're a fan looking to mosh to BTBAM's music, rest assured, you will be obliged, but if you're looking for anything that does not have to do with running aimlessly in circles, you would best be served by sticking to the album.
1. Foam Born (A) The Backtrack 2. (B) The Decade of Statues 3. Obfuscation 4. Astral Body 5. Lay Your Ghosts to Rest 6. Autumn 7. Selkies: The Endless Obsession 8. Bloom 9. Swim to the Moon 10. Silent Flight Parliament 11. Goodbye to Everything Reprise