April 22, 2016 Intervals Dazzle Phoenix The Theater Petaluma, CA 4-9-16 w/ Plini, Angel Vivaldi, & Save Us From The Archon
Those looking to catch some of top ranked new generation of Rock and Metal guitarists in action need to look no further then this spring’s The Shape of Colour Tour. A tour that began on March 17th up in Canada, it quickly submerged the United States a week into the trek while offering a bill headlined by Canada’s Intervals with support from Australia’s Plini, New York’s Angel Vivaldi, and Pennsylvania’s Save Us From The Archon. An international ensemble of Progressive Rock/Metal acts, the tour gives fans a chance to indulge in music that is not only technically advanced, but stimulating to the musical senses.
Making its way across the West Coast, on the last half of the run, The Shape of Colour Tour arrived at The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California on Saturday, April 9th. The Phoenix Theater, despite being quite a drive from the Bay Area proper, was not too far for loyal and dedicated fans of all the bands. Combining the main tour with an album release party for the local band Chapters, the venue had two stages set up for the evening. With that in mind, it should be duly noted the Bay Area has a great appreciation for the Progressive Metal scene and The Shape of Colour Tour represented a wide spectrum of elements to capture the imagination.
On the second stage, off to the right, local Bay Area act going by the name Sea in the Sky launched with their Prog-Rock set. At one time an instrumental act, Sam Kohl has joined on vocals with Johan Guerra on bass, Rodney Dudum on guitar, Jakob Bray also on guitar, and Daniel Larsen on drums. The band just recently shared the stage with likes of A Lot Like Birds, Hail The Sun, Tides of Man, THEONGOINGCONCEPT, Stolas, Icarus the Ow,l and Covet, so they were primed and ready.
At 7:30 PM sharp, Sea in the Sky began their rousing performance, jumping into “Tread Lightly” before cutting it short and hitting the audience with the full awesome power of “Tamagotchi.” Fronted by the very endearing Kohl, just rough and tumble enough for the Metal community, those that know him personally know that he is dedicated. His vocals add something very intimate to each track that he attaches himself to. Early participants were in for a treat as Kohl and his cohorts revealed not one, but two new songs. According to an inside scoop from Kohl himself, their working titles are “Strange Hoe” and “Eflat.” More than a few of the locals there have seen Sea in the Sky perform before and were clearly excited to hear the new material. They wrapped the set up with “Krill,” a very energetic song, doing their best to set things up nicely for the next band.
That band was another local act by the name of Chapters. Hailing from Sonoma County itself, they are comprised of Benjamin Guzman on vocals, Dylan “Diggly” Gonzalez on clean vocals, Doug Bruce on guitar, Allen Loesch on bass, Fernando Rivas on guitar, and Jordan Berry on drums. Unfortunately for all involved, Diggly was not able to show due to the recent passing of his father. Despite this, Chapters did their damnedest to make their groovy Prog-Rock show as epic as they could.
Also performing on the second stage, the act was obviously known and loved by their local scene and people were very sympathetic to the situation. Their setlist consisted of all new music off of their upcoming album, Clairvoyance. First off was “Hindsight,” which got the crowd moving again, followed by “Retrospect.” While the crowd was definitely into it, people were milling about far away from the stage, so Guzman got everyone to move up and pack in a bit, just in time for the title track off the upcoming album, “Clairvoyance.” When they went into “Ethereal” next, that is when they got the mosh. At this point, Guzman was much more comfortable being the only vocalist on stage and his interactions with the crowd were at their peak, doing his best to cover for Diggly’s absence. They wrapped things up with “1999” and thanked everybody again for coming out. Very supportive and vocal about the local scene, he encouraged everyone at the show to pick up a free CD back at the merchandise table. With that, it was time for the main stage to get rolling.
First up on the main stage, and first band without vocals, was Save Us From The Archon. Hailing from the East Coast, more precisely Pittsburgh, Save Us From The Archon is an instrumental melodic Mathcore band. Full of spastic, beautifully bearded hipsters consisting of Andrew Cresto on guitar, Nelson Brooks on guitar, Samantha Zunich on bass, and Devin Greig on drums, the energy they provide is through the roof.
Ready to go, their first song was 2014’s “Informed Of The Reality Left There In The After.” Fans of lengthy titles for both their songs and albums, their second offering came in the form of 2012’s How Terrible, the Undergrowth’s Jaws That Tangle “2c. To get rid of this god-awful feeling.” Dazzling the audience, from the get go, Brooks was moving as if possessed, while playing extremely intricate guitar parts in each song. Continuing along, “Days lengthen without sunlight (if only in my mind)” came before “dearest forgetful, i have” off their latest album, L’Eclisse. Having the audiences entranced by their instrumentation, they would go on to play songs off their most successful album, 2014’s Thereafter, delivering “swallowed by waves (unable to sleep when),” and “eventually, unconsciously,” before their final piece, “epigram (divorcing body from self).” Providing a high energy performance, Save Us From The Archon was sensational and the relaxation nature of their compositions allowed the audience a chance to recuperate.
Next came Angel Vivaldi, the metalhead with style and flair, who hails from the New York/New Jersey area. One thing that makes Vivaldi stand out is that he reached a lot of his fans early on through YouTube. While that is not uncommon these days, amongst his peers on stage this night, he was the biggest YouTube success story. Shredding delectable licks from here to Sunday, Vivaldi is a wizard.
On stage with him was his touring cohort on guitar and Greig from Save Us from the Archon on drums as they kicked off with “An Erisian Autumn.” Known for crafting tracks that are very technical pieces, the audience was literally in a trance watching his fingers move across the fretboard. Keeping everyone spellbound, he then covered Joe Satriani song “Crystal Planet” before moving on to “A Mercurial Summer” and “…..” Displaying good communication with the other guys on stage, throughout the set, the second guitarist looked determined as hell and Greig also looked determined not to give into weariness.
Vivaldi, ever the showman, had a lot of tricks up his sleeve, including crazy taps while not just looking away, but drinking an entire bottle of water, playing crazy licks behind his back, and having the second guitarist cover his eyes during a solo. Simply out, the dude was insane. After the solo, he rattled off “ …_ _” before wrapping things up with “Acid Reign,” and “A Martian Winter.” Before anyone could blink, he was gone, like a magician, and the ending felt abrupt. Those who have not seen or heard of Vivaldi, and appreciate exceptional guitar play, need to do so.
Hailing from the land down under, the one man bedroom music wonder with a heart of gold, Plini was up next. In the past Plini has used his musical talent and influence to make a real change in the world through his projects like “Ko Ki.” Making his first visit to the USA, up on stage with him was Simon on bass, Troy on drums, and Jake on guitar. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, Plini’s set was delayed a bit and he had to cut the set one song short. The casualty? “Paper Moon.” Fans need not let their heart be troubled because there was still plenty of goodness to go around though.
Beginning with “Heart,” the opening track off of the first album in his trilogy, 2013’s Other Things, it was immediately recognizable. He then went into “Away” off of his second album of the trilogy, 2013’s Sweet Nothings, before hitting the third album, 2015’s The End of Everything with the title track. At this point, Plini told a great story of a fan at another show on the tour who told him a very graphic tale about he, his girlfriend, and another girl, which ended in him breaking up with his girlfriend by sending her a picture of the album cover of The End of Everything. Quite an interest, after this he moved away from the trilogy into the single “Atlas,” then dug further back, all the way to 2012, to bring the crowd “Moonflower.” Having everyone wanting more, the journey concluded with “Selenium Forest” from Other Things, and with that, they ran out of time and took their leave… Except for Plini himself.
This all set the stage for headliners of The Shape of Colour Tour, the band everyone knows as Intervals. Masterminded by Canadian Aaron Marshall, who founded the project back in 2011, Intervals has put out some of the most inspiring Progressive instrumental Rock based music in recent years. A tour put together to support the 2015 album, The Shape of Colour, since its release back in December, praise has come in waves. With fans calling it everything from a Progressive masterpiece to a delicious blend of styles, The Shape of Colour could be Marshall’s most complete work to date. Ready to bring the new album to the dedicated fans inside Phoenix Theater, Marshall was accompanied on stage by his drummer, Nathan Bulla, as well as Plini, and Plini’s bass player Simon.
Wasting no time, they went right into it with “I’m Awake,” the first song off of The Shape of Colour. Smoothly transitioning, they went into “Sure Shot,” the second track on the album, and after that, Marshall spoke about how elated he was to be touring with all these wonderful musicians from all over the world. He also informed the crowd that it was Devin Greig’s, from Save Us from the Archon, birthday. Offering his touring mate a happy birthday, Marshall stated, “If you’ve been following along, you know what’s coming next,” and indeed it was “Fable.” The third track off The Shape of Colour, it was now apparent that Marshall was going to play through the whole album. A song that has a saxophone solo, courtesy of Leland Whitty, on the actual studio recording, it was great to hear Plini and Marshall each do their own thing in place of that solo.
Keeping the energy flowing, the magic of interpreting something in a live setting was very much alive as they went into “Sweet Tooth” and “Black Box.” At this point, the interactions between Marshall and Plini was a sight to see as they clearly were having a blast performing together. Going on with “Slight of Hand” and “Meridian” brought the audience to the last act of the set where everyone was relaxed and engulfed in the emotion of the music. This peaked with “Libra,” a track that has a lot of good movement to it and is really iconic of The Shape of Colour as a whole.
With the audience looking for more from Intervals, of course the band came back out for an encore, but this encore was something better, it was a jam. All those musicians incredible in their own right, helping each other out on stage got together and just “shot the breeze” together. At one point, Marshall and Plini were exchanging guitar solos back and forth effortlessly. The second jam, and the final closer, was an improvisational version of one of Plini’s songs. It was really magical and captured a lot of what live music is really all about for a lot of people. With that, after some selfies, Intervals was finished and everybody had to come face to face with the reality that it was all over.
Despite how international the stage was, they all brought a lot of the same kinds of people. Local acts Sea in the Sky and Chapters had a lot of support, meanwhile, Save Us from the Archon, Angel Vivaldi, Plini, and Intervals all had well established fan-bases, a lot of which overlapped. Those who were unfamiliar with the other acts instantly became fans of each band by the time the night was over. All in all, anyone that showed up would definitely say that the drive was worth it, regardless of the distance. From Sea in the Sky’s technical, yet emotional Progressive Rock, to Chapters’ multi-vocal act, to Save Us from the Archon and their slower paced, yet just as intense tracks, to Angel Vivaldi and his shred ’em up till they drop style, to the bedroom music mastermind Plini, and finally to Intervals, who has been a major force in the instrumental Progressive/Djent scene for quite some time now. In enough words, it was without a doubt a concert that could not be missed.