Monday, November 21, 2011

Review -- Saints and Sinners Tour (Dallas, TX -- 11/18/11)

Last Friday, I went to a metal concert featuring two up-and-coming openers, and an increasingly-popular headliner.

The venue was the House of Blues. It's my favorite place to see live music in Dallas. It's still fairly new, and in perfect shape. It's indoors, so no Texas hot weather shenanigans. And then there's the sound: It was built for live music, and has never been disappointing.

The first band to play was TesseracT. I've tweeted about them quite a bit, and their album 'One' may be high in my Top Ten at the end of the year. The simplest way to summarize their sound is if Jeff Buckley sang for Meshuggah. At least, that's how I felt about them before their vocalist on the album (Dan) left the band about three months ago. Apparently his priorities in life have changed. Uh, yeah, whatevers. The new singer (Elliot)? He's okay, but has nowhere near the range or power of his predecessor. Judge for yourself with these two videos. The first is from a live performance earlier in the year, and the second is something I taped from the show.

With Dan:

With Elliot:

Fans of the band have been split, but if you listen to Elliot and think he's as good of a singer as Dan, you're tone-deaf. Otherwise though, the band was very tight.

Then came Animals as Leaders:

Perhaps you remember my post from earlier this year, stating how Tosin Abasi is the Chuck Norris of guitars. Well, he got on stage and gave a roundhouse kick to the brains of every person in the venue. He is a virtuoso in every sense of the word. But don't just take my word for it:

I just wish the venue would've had a spotlight on him, so we could better see his pyrotechnics. But no matter. Their merch booth was swarming with business after their set. I'd hoped to track Abasi down afterward (to get a picture and shake his hand) but my friend that went with me to the show said, "I bet he's in the back room icing his hands down." No doubt.

Finally, there was Between the Buried and Me:

While I was never much into their first few albums, they have really grown on me in the past couple of years. They've started to show a more mature direction in their songwriting, yet still allow themselves to run wild with their influences. At times they sound like Faith No More, Rush, and Opeth hanging out at a carnival together. Everyone in the band has chops to spare, and it almost feels like normal song structure bores them. But somehow it all manages to stick together, especially on their last two albums (Colors and The Great Misdirect). If I had one complaint, it's the lack of vocal variety in the growls. However, he enunciates well, and in a live setting, it's appreciated.

This was the third time I've seen them live, and I think this was the tightest set yet. They looked comfortable in the headlining slot, and for good reason. They've gathered quite a loyal and growing fanbase, and all the touring in the past decade is really starting to pay dividends. I hope they stay as active as they've been recently, both in the studio and on the road.

Overall concert review? I'd give it an A-minus. Tesseract's new vocalist was a little disappointing, and more light on stage for Animals as Leaders would've been appreciated. However, it was easily worth the full ticket price.