6/30 – As Tall As Lions @ Bowery Ballroom.

July 2, 2009

I hadn’t been to a general admission show since April, so this one really reminded me of what I’ve been missing out on these past couple months – dehydration, aching feet, ringing in my ears, and really being able to get involved and move around during the music; all of which being things I’ve missed.

Afuche opened, and were like nothing I’d ever heard live before – they had a tremendous amount of energy with facial expressions to prove it. Their sound was unique and seemed improvised at some parts, which I thought was great, and the transitions between songs, all with completely different time signatures, were smooth. They were smiling the whole time, making it evident that they were having a great time playing, and the crowd seemed pretty into them (I know I was). There was a great trumpet solo towards the end of the set that really got everyone going, and Julio from ATAL was jamming along with them on a percussion instrument throughout the set backstage. I was thoroughly impressed.

The Dig played next, and had incredible bass lines and pleasant vocals, but had a sound too familiar to me. I probably would have enjoyed the set more if they hadn’t taken such a long time to set up, making most of the crowd pretty restless. Not that I didn’t think they were good… just no better than good.

As Tall As Lions finally came on, well after 10:00, and opened with Circles, just as I had hoped they would. They had background singers all dressed in white who stood near the drums, clapping the beat to the song, but otherwise not doing much. It felt good to be one of the only people who knew every word to the new song. It was impossible to stand still, and I couldn’t help but throw my hands in the air at times, completely losing myself to the music. It was the perfect song to open with and woke up every person who had had an ounce of weariness in them prior to the start of the headlining set.

Rest of the set list:
-Song For Luna
-A Soft Hum (Maybe I’m Just Tired Hidden Track)
-Be Here Now
-A Break A Pause
-Ghost Of York
-Goonite Noises Everywhere straight into Into The Flood
-Breakers
-Milk and Honey
-Lost My Mind (Encore)
-Stab City (Encore)
As well as three new songs.
Surprisingly no Love, Love, Love (Love, Love), but that’s probably because everyone was screaming for Stab City throughout the entire show.

The bridge of Song For Luna, one of my favorite ATAL song climaxes, made everyone pound their fists into the air, and the crowd challenged Dan, carrying the tune even louder than he; “Sing into the moonlight, who could ask for more?” over and over again. Eventually, he stepped back from the mic and just soaked it all in, and everyone kept going, even when all the instruments stopped. It was similar to the feeling I always get at Anthony Green shows during Devils Song where everyone sings “We’re all in the same spot.” Afterwards, Dan joked that we would all have to get together before the next New York show to practice our vocals. Perhaps the most impressive part of the set, though, was when they played Ghost Of York, a song that everyone was able to sing along to and head bang to at all the right parts. At one point I just thought to myself, this is what happiness really feels like- and I was surrounded by it. Everyone felt it. It moved everyone. I closed my eyes and smiled, practically tearing due to the hauntingly beautiful vocals.

A set had never gone by so fast to me, and when it ended, I couldn’t believe it. I would have paid all the money in my pocket to hear just ONE more song, even half a song. It had to end at some point, though, and at least now I’m left with memories of one of the most enjoyable sets I’ve ever witnessed. I’m so proud to say I listen to this band, and look forward to seeing them again at the end of the month.

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