My photographer and I gave each other a glance. We really didn’t need to say anything, the glance said it all– Why the hell are we here? Neither of us knew anything about any of the three bands. We answered the unspoken question at the same time– Well, it’s better than a night off. Okay, not the best attitude to have, I know. Honestly, I felt bad because I could tell I just wasn’t in the mood. Still in recovery mode after the weekend, I was ready for a night at home with some binge watching on Netflix and, well, just laziness but, again, any show is better than a night off so I took my spot along the back wall and waited for whatever the concert Gods wanted me to hear on my sleepy Tuesday night.
Local boys Bubblemath kicked the show off right at 8:30. “We have a thirty minute set and three songs that should last thirty minutes!” stated keyboardist Kai Esbensen in a very matter of fact way and, with that, they were off. They weren’t kidding. Bubblemath played three songs that took damn near exactly thirty minutes to perform. Although it was three songs, each song had multiple movements in it which seemed to give the audience a moment to breathe (which was much needed). Bubblemath’s music was very chaotic but it was a controlled chaos. I definitely heard some Primus and The Dear Hunter influences wrapped up in their short set but it was so much more than that. There was a true sense of uniqueness in this group as they powered through their set. With five members squeezed onto the small stage at The 7th Street Entry, there wasn’t much room for movement but there was still an undeniable sense of energy throughout their opening set.
Okay, my bad mood was starting to fade and I was already starting to feel grateful that I hadn’t just wasted my Tuesday night on my couch. If Bubblemath was any indication as to how the rest of my night was going to go, it was going to be a damn good night. That’s when Gatherers took the stage and, not to be dramatic or anything, they changed my life. Gatherers set was one of those where I just can’t put it into words. Sure, I can sit here and ramble on about energy, positive vibes, talent and everything else that I can reword a million times to help me hit my word count but, the fact of the matter is, if you didn’t see them last night and have never seen them before, it won’t make sense and you still won’t feel what I felt as I watched this band slay their short yet powerful set.
I wasn’t alone in falling head over heels for this band. Towards the end of their set, a man started walking up towards the stage. Just as the band was about to jump into their final song, the man threw something on stage. “It’s $100!” He yelled as he walked back to his friends standing in the back of the venue. Now, I don’t know if it was actually a one hundred dollar bill or not but I could tell by the look on the drummer’s face as he unfolded the thrown object that it was something big. The amount of gratitude in each of the member’s faces said it all. The singer must have said thank you about a million times in a matter of ten seconds but, again, that says it all. This band was worth the money you had in your pocket last night and, although I already have 84 black t-shirts hanging in my room, I couldn’t resist but to get one more to add to my collection. Again, I can’t Gatherers’ set into words but I can tell you that this is a band you absolutely have to see live as soon as you can.
Gatherers was just so damn good that I honestly didn’t even want to give headlining group Bent Knee a chance. My mind was made up that Gatherers had stolen the show with ease and, although that didn’t change, Bent Knee definitely put up a fight and within their first song I was so glad I hadn’t left right after getting my mind blown by Gatherers. Bent Knee is a art-rock band from Boston. Although a super fun and entertaining band to watch and listen to, what’s most striking about this group is the complexity of the music. With clear nods prog rock, industrial metal, indie-pop, avant-garde and everything in-between, Bent Knee’s set was interesting to the point where it almost made my head hurt to figure it out. While I was busy trying to figure out influences, the rest of the crowd was enjoying the off rhythm beats as they attempted (and typically failed) to nod their head along to the music. None of that mattered though. What mattered more than the offbeat nodding and toe tapping was the smile that everyone in the audience had on their face.
Much like with the previous two bands, the modest stage was beyond crowded for this six piece group but they somehow find a way to fit all members, keyboards, guitars, drums, bass, and even a violin on stage. Although I still stand firm in my idea that Gatherers stole the damn show, Bent Knee was nothing short of entertaining and amazing to watch. Like Bubblemath, they had a sound that was completely unique and all their own that kept the set moving and alive. I honestly had completely forgotten that my goal was to be home by 10:30. I was just so stuck watching them and figuring it all out (which I never did) that I had forgotten to check the time. Sure, I was exhausted and honestly confused by the time I got home but it was the best kind of exhaustion and confusion. How did this random show that I knew nothing about turn into a truly unforgettable experience?
I don’t know what happened last night but I know I loved every single minute of it. I may have showed up a bit pessimistic and annoyed but within the first band my entire energy had changed. Last night was a hell of a show– that’s really all that can be said.