“Keyed up, all tore up
Free from thought, walking backwards
Refraining from walking backwards
Reverse and rewind
Contemplate moving forward
Regrets indicate, moving forth is walking backwards
We tread a long time
On occasion, on the line
Straying from this tired climb”
~”Tired Climb”, Kylesa
This month is going to be an extreme challenge for me on many different levels. As I prioritize how I need to spend my time and energy, try to figure out what I need and what I want and what I just think I want but don’t really….my head is spinning.
As we drove down Santa Monica, I realized that I hadn’t really had a moment where I wasn’t doing something all week. Yawning is not something I need to be doing before a show! But as soon as we reached the door of the Troubadour, things came into focus.
When my life gets cluttered, there is only one thing that makes me feel sane, and that’s being in the moment at the right show.
Both Intronaut and Kylesa are bands I’ve had to warm up to. The first time I saw them both was together, opening for Mastodon, and then each separately, one other time. They say the third time’s the charm, and that was definitely the case for me at this show. Not to mention that I think the Troubadour makes bands play better, with all of that past creative energy reverberating through the depths of the room.
Intronaut began shortly after we arrived, dramatic and shrouded in darkness. The progressive metal, jazz fusion instrumentation paired with harsh vocals was the perfect dichotomy to get my wheels spinning. To me, the most important and evolved music feels both light and heavy; each song is a journey through these sensations. This time I was able to put aside the feeling that has swept over me at past Intronaut shows- that the themes and musical constructs were too heady for me- and I went with it. And this time I feel like I ‘got it’.
As the Kylesa set began, I realized that there were several people stationed throughout the venue with camera gear, indicating they were recording the set. My past experience with this has always dampened my enjoyment of the show: the camera people get in your sightline, or they leave the lights up too high. This time wasn’t the case, however. The band was mostly lit by a projection of wicked looking spirals in constant movement.
With Kylesa, I had a hard time at first getting over the feeling that having two drummers felt gimmicky, and some of their vocals bothered me. But where as with Intronaut, I feel like my tastes had to evolve into their music…with Kylesa, I feel like the band’s music has really become more sophisticated, and thusly having two drummers has become necessary. I still prefer Laura Pleasants’ vocals over Phillip Cope’s…which is rare for me (I’ve been called sexist many times because I just don’t like a lot of female vocalists).
The heavy, space-out set was the best I’ve seen from them. There was the use of a theremin for “Crowded Road”, the more raucous moves of the bassist in comparison to the others, and the subtle communications between the side by side drummers that caught my eye. Highlights for me were “Forsaken” and “Tired Climb”, and then the surprising encore, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”.
Many people say that music is a religion to them. I don’t really understand religion on a personal level because I’ve never believed in a God, even though I’m a very spiritual person, if that makes any sense. But people say they give themselves over to God, and the feeling they experience because of that….I think that is what happens to me at a good show. I give myself over to it, let the music drive. It feels good to let someone else you trust take the reins. Perhaps it’s the only time I truly relax.