Small Leaks Sink Ships - Last Exit Live - 11/21/2013

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Across five songs, they blew my mind. Their music even leaves me at a loss for words, but a friend stopped in for their set and said, "That was refreshing -- that really hit the spot." I couldn't agree more. The music isn't like much else that's going on: twin guitars, keys, bass, drum, and a violin, harmonies to write home about, and a knack for letting loose while keeping control. I get bored with solos and excess noodling, but Morning Theft has it down. At the last second, where I would almost give up on a careening passage, they'd reel it in with perfect timing. Also, they have a secret weapon in the form of Cassie Chilton -- her violin, her harmonies, and her pounding of a floor tom were amazing.

This is not to detract in any way from the rest of the band, it's just that she accented everything they did with grace and beauty. The final song, "Magic Shop/White Sands," sounded like X in their prime, with the shared vocals between Chilton and Jordan Cruz, the thumping bass of Lorne Mills, and the pounding drums of Rodrigo Ibieta -- when Christopher Shearing kicked in on harmonies, I nearly fell through myself. Then again, the four songs that preceded it were pretty amazing, too -- not a single flawed moment in their entire set.

By the time our welcomed guests from San Jose took the stage, the evening already was magical. I have to hand it to As In We, their Facebook description is pretty accurate: "Darkness and light. History and timelessness. Life and death. Transcendence and regret." Yep. All there. What's more amazing is that over the course of a 40-minute set, they were able to play three songs.

Considering the last song, the jauntiest of the bunch, was six minutes long and the most conventionally "rock" song, well, you can do the math on the other two. Speaking of math, As In We is some pretty amazing aggressive math rock to the blissed-out nth degree -- forget Explosions In The Sky or anything like it, these guys (and a gal) are simply stunning. For many minutes amid the two longer compositions, I completely lost myself as I processed the music that seemed completely purple with red and yellow flashes. They take soundscapes to a new level of realization and zealously preach their gospel of high energy, emotionally impactful instrumentals through peaks and troughs like an aural rollercoaster straight to your soul, this is music that goes beyond hearing and well into feeling and halfway through the set you become one with it.

This is not a band to listen to casually -- this is a band in which you immerse yourself. You get into the water and you stay there until their dizzying heights and terrifying depths leave your ears ringing after the music has gone.

It was three for three by that point. The great thing was that Small Leaks Sink Ships would follow. This band always delivers -- always. It was like all that was left was the icing, so people drank and smoked and waited, because everyone knew it would be good. And it was.

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