November 19, 2011
The Patriot Center
Fairfax, VA USA
Review by Craig Hunter Ross
Photos by Craig Hunter Ross
This is a hard show to assess. On one hand, Between the Buried and Me are a musically articulate, stylistically varied band whose style ranges from skull crushing metal to classic crunch riffs to jazz. On the other, their stage performance left me relatively flat because of the relative sameness of their songs. But, having said that, I was clearly in the minority this evening judging from the loud, fist pumping enthusiasm generated by the packed floor of fans at Dallas' House of Blues.
"London Calling" by The Clash was pumping over the loudspeakers when the lights dimmed and the stage curtains parted. Moments before, a fan pressed against the stage barricade turned to his friend and said, "They're about to come on! I can't wait another minute!" Rather than taking the stage to a blast of sonic fury and lights, the band took the opposite approach and started slowly. Ambling onto the stage, lead guitarist Paul Waggoner stepped up to the mic and began playing the chords of "Mirrors," the quiet, atmospheric opener to the band's new release The Great Misdirect. This was followed immediately by the lengthy, pounding "Obfuscation" that sent the crowd into a frenzied delight.
The riffs flying between Waggoner and rhythm guitarist Dustie Waring created a thunderous roar. Bassist Dan Briggs was moving back and forth, reeling off bass lines like a cross between Jaco Pastorius and Geddy Lee. All the while, drummer Blake Richardson - invisible to the crowd with no lighting on him whatsoever - kept expert time with pounding beats and intricate rhythms.
Despite the sonic colors the band members painted on stage, the portrait the band's music created on stage began to lose its palette. Blame the muddy picture on band founder, lead singer and keyboardist Tommy Rogers. His voice seemed totally out of sync with the music throughout the evening. Maybe his voice was mixed wrong, I don't know. The thing is this. Rogers sounded like your atypical hardcore metal singer, screaming like a demon guarding the gates of hell often in unintelligible gibberish. It was especially off putting with the typical song averaging seven minutes. During certain passages in a song, when Rogers toned down the demonic growl, he had a very pleasant sounding voice. During the band's epic 14 plus minute "White Walls," Rogers' voice sounded a lot like Richard Patrick from Filter singing his hit, "Take a Picture".
As previously stated, this group has a lot to offer musically. "Viridian" from the band's Colors album, sounded more like a '70s jazz infused tune with bassist Dan Briggs stepping forward to start the song off in a slow, jazzy grooveThe aforementioned "White Walls" was simply a badass masterpiece, sounding a lot like 70's crunch rock with dueling guitars between Waggoner and Waring. The song truly rocked and was a memorable end to the group's 70-minute set. After leaving the stage to a rousing ovation from the crowd, the band returned for their sole encore, "Mordecai". An emotionally drained and charged up crowd headed loudly into the night.
The Decade of Statues
Disease, Injury, Madness
Medley: Alaska / All Bodies / Arsonist/ Shevane / Cut A Flip / Aspirations /
Fire for a Dry Mouth / Lost Perfection: Anablephobia