Tangled Thoughts of Leaving
Friday, March 13, 2015
Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving opened with the subtlety of an artillery cannon, a sudden crash of noise jolting the meandering bodies in Amplifier’s band room to life. And so they should; with an extensive back catalogue, an average song length of around eight minutes and a 40 minute support slot to fill, there’s no time for pussyfooting.
The best thing about watching this band is they’re unpredictable; even if you’ve listened to their records and seen them live dozens of times in the decade they’ve been gigging around town, there’s an undeniable joy in watching the foursome weave complex sonic threads that flow in and out of sync over the course of a ten-minute movement, before coalescing into a beautiful, punishing crescendo. Better yet, behind the complexity, the shifting time signatures and the frenetic melodies lies an undeniable emotionality – a captivating quality that’s not easy to achieve given the quartet’s nuanced mix of post-metal, doom and experimental aesthetics.
And maybe it was just the humidity in the air thanks to the impending cyclone, but this was a thoroughly exhausting, literally breathtaking performance to behold; the air actually felt thinner during each flurry of volume. It’s rare that a support act sets the bar so high, even when that band is as venerable as this one. There’s little doubt that the few in the crowd who may have been seeing Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving for the first time left as total converts.
When the opening notes of Heat Death Infinity Splitter sounded out like sonic beams from the heavens, it was clear this wasn’t going to be your typical post-rock show: there would be no tremolo picking, no self-indulgent build-ups and no delay pedal worship; instead, this was about energy – the kinetic fervour of EDM and the vitality of a fucking tight rock band delivered with the military precision of world-class musicians. Considering 65daysofstatic have a sound so steeped in synth tones and atmospherics, they did a remarkable job of recreating those crisp tones in a live setting.
Though guitarist/keyboardist Joe Shrewsbery doesn’t sing a word, he comfortably slipped into the role of de facto band leader, oozing charisma as he gently silenced a belligerent punter at the front of the stage yelling “One more song!” 15 minutes in, which was about as endearing as that asshole you know who still thinks yelling “Free Bird” makes him the funniest guy in the room. Shrewsbery’s patience thinned as they persisted, and his polite request morphed into a demand the comedian shut the fuck up before he get kicked out.
The 90-minute set leaned heavily on 65’s most recent record, Wild Light, and rightly so; from the killer bass groove on Sleepwalk City to the frenetic beats of Prism and the uplifting, celestial tones of Safe Passage, the songs from that record were overflowing with vitality in the flesh. After over an hour, the quartet retired for two minutes before the agitator from earlier in the evening got his wish, as the crowd erupted in a chant of “One more song!” We got two – seamless renditions of This Cat Is A Landmine and AOD, both from the band’s 2004 debut, The Fall Of Math.
There’s a sample at the start the band’s first single, Retreat! Retreat!, where a voice utters, “We will not retreat. This band is unstoppable.” I don’t think anyone who witnessed Friday night’s performance could disagree.