There are times when I like to throw myself into a show where I haven’t listened to much of any of the music that belongs to the artist playing and see what happens. Tonight I found myself at one of those shows; I sadly haven’t found the time to dive into Between The Buried And Me’s work enough to have an overwhelming amount of excitement, but I knew enough about their show from hearsay to know it would be good. I made my way to the Varsity Theater in the evening sun (which feels warmer and warmer with each passing day) for a solid lineup of music, all artists I have yet to see perform live.
First up for the night was artist Nick Johnston. I had zero idea of what to expect (once again, I failed to do my homework), and was honestly naïve enough to not expect a full instrumental band. As the band walked out on stage, obvious now to me it would be sans vocals, I felt drawn to the performance of the musicians, the music emitting from the stage telling a story for me the way lyrics would have. Honestly I didn’t mind the absence of lyrics; Nick Johnston and co. kept me engaged and wanting more of their emotive instrumental set.
Next up was another band that I had no idea what to expect: The Contortionist. Between the quick bursts of light and cathartic performance of all of the band members, their set flew past. While their stage performance didn’t necessarily sell me on watching them the entire time, I was sold on closing my eyes and silently jamming along to their music. For me, The Contortionist is a band that I would put on Spotify, throw my headphones on, and relax to, listening to their live performance was pretty cathartic to me too. Their 40 minute set went by quickly, and left me wanting to relive that relaxing experience.
Between The Buried And Me took the stage shortly before 9pm and I didn’t notice until then how many people had truckled in for the show. With a good sized crowd, the band started their deceivingly short set (not a ton of songs but they definitely packed a punch for how long some of them are). For never having seen or listened to a lot of their music, Between The Buried and Me honestly took me a little by surprise with just how good they are. Musically, they were on point, their stage presence amplified their sound, and I often found myself gently head banging and tapping along to their songs. I’ll admit I’m a bit embarrassed that I was surprised at how good they are, but their live performance just stole the entire show for me and left me kicking myself that I waited this long to catch them play live.
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