When Mark Johnson, The Cedar Cultural Center’s director of events, took to the stage to announce the evenings bands he mentioned there were free ear plugs at the front. Of course as he said this I was face to face with a kick drum and I questioned my current position and lack of ear protection.
The Twin Cities got a taste of Chicago with a double bill of bands from the windy city. FACS, a three piece were the first to play on this rainy evening. As the openers for this show they were pushed up close to the edge of the stage. This put Noah Leger’s drum kit front and center, perfect for taking in the loud and snappy percussive tones and hypnotic beats. It’s always fascinating to watch such energetic drummers ply their trade, especially when they aren’t tucked away in the back.
FACS played out a dynamic collection of songs during their 45 minute set. The chorus and reverb drenched guitar riffs for the song Silencing was one of they many highlights for me. Songs like Anti-Body and Houses Breathing have unnerving and unsettling tones that lure you into a hazy dream like state. This is exactly the sort of music I gravitate towards as autumn begins to take hold. With the change in season fast approaching, this introductory experience to the sonic world of FACS was a fortunate one. Their musical crafting and live shows will now be my radar as they continue with this 2 year old project.
Primary / In Time / Silencing / Skylarking / Total History / Houses Breathing / Hive / Anti-Body / Exit Like You / Others
As the night grew on so did the crowd. The Cedar became a more densely packed venue as the headliner, Russian Circles, began to setup. With their recently released album, Blood Year, they a good amount of new material to share to the ever increasing audience. The slow and somber intro was Hunter Moon. Warm and bleak notes rang out across the dimly lit room. As those sounds faded away the drums were brought back to the forefront once again. As Dave Turncrantz struck his drums with a heavy hand as his kit was awash with flashes light from behind the foundation to the song Arluck had been set. Brian Cook laid out a fuzzy bass riff that added to Arluck’s backbone as Mike Sullivan’s tapping guitar soon took the main focus.
The new songs continued to flow out as the magnificent Milano and its heavy groove pulsated the airwaves. They band dug into their extensive catalog and played a handful of older tracks with a couple new ones peppered into the mix. While their new album hits the hardest production wise, witnessing them live is a sonically crushing experience that shouldn’t be missed. Their use of looping whether pre-recorded or live adds to this already massive trio as it creates an extra layer of depth to their wall of sound. The use of volume swells offers a dynamic listening experience as the guitars growl with feedback and textured noises. Each musician was back lit a touch of mist that rolled out from the smoke machine.
The band concluded the evening with the fan favorite Youngblood, as the first few tapped notes on the guitar the audience let their appreciation known. This well oiled machine churned out a heavy hitter as the closer that is even more so admired in a raw and live setting such as this. It was an aural and visual delight to take it all in. As it is generally the case with most, this band sounded great loud and heavy. While my ears were fully exposed to a hefty dose of music, it sounded very well cranked up and I appreciate the venue and bands for getting it so right.
Russian Circles Setlist:
Intro (Hunter Moon) / Arluck / Milano / Deficit / Afrika / Harper Lewis / Quartered / 309 / Sinaia / Vorel / Youngblood
Remaining Russian Circles Tour Dates:
Wed, SEP 11 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
Thu, SEP 12 – The Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
Sat, SEP 14 – Rialto Bozeman – Bozeman, MT
Mon, SEP 16 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
Tue, SEP 17 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
Thu, SEP 19 – August Hall – San Francisco, CA
Fri, SEP 20 – Discovery Ventura – Ventura, CA
Sat, SEP 21 – The Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
Mon, SEP 23 – The Nile Theatre – Mesa, AZ
Tue, SEP 24 – Meow Wolf – Santa Fe, NM
Wed, SEP 25 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Sat, SEP 28 – Thalia Hall Chicago – Chicago, IL
Fri, OCT 18 – The Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI
Sat, OCT 19 – El Club – Detroit, MI
Sun, OCT 20 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, Canada
Mon, OCT 21 – Théâtre Fairmount – Montreal, Canada
Wed, OCT 23 – 3S Artspace – Portsmouth, NH
Thu, OCT 24 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Sat, OCT 26 – Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY
Sun, OCT 27 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Tue, OCT 29 – Union Stage – Washington, DC
Wed, OCT 30 – The Broadberry – Richmond, VA
Fri, NOV 1 – Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
Sat, NOV 2 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
Sun, NOV 3 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Mon, NOV 4 – One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA
Wed, NOV 6 – The Secret Group – Houston, TX
Fri, NOV 8 – Levitation – Austin, TX
Sat, NOV 9 – Deep Ellum Art Co. – Dallas, TX
Mon, NOV 11 – Delmar Hall – Saint Louis, MO