Intronaut, Scale The Summit, Castle - Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA - 5 July 2013

Event: Intronaut: North American Tour 2013
Written by: Susan, 8bitglitch
Published: 13.07.2013

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Intronaut - Slim's, San Francisco, USA - 5 July 2013 by 8bitglitch (43)
Castle

Castle was an excellent opener for this night of thick, dense music in San Francisco. Though they are a bit different than the other two bands, their heavy, slightly doomy, spooky, smoky metal was a complement to the progressive and crushing metal that followed. I recently caught Castle in Seattle, back in April. That show was on a weeknight and they were the headliner, so seeing them this time in a larger club with a larger crowd was awesome. They were solid before, but really came to life this time.

Mat's curly hair was even longer, and with his large beard he really was a metal mountain man. Though it covered him most of the time, this wasn't a typical "hide behind the hair" performance: he really moved and played off bassist/vocalist Elizabeth quite a bit. The two interact quite well: at times in sync, at other times almost engaging in a friendly challenge with their instruments.

Mat founded Castle and Elizabeth really brought the soul. Not only a great musician, she is a gorgeous woman who clearly loves performing, and really expresses the band's dark music well. She does this thing where she bends backward with her bass in a quite sexy way, then springs forward just in time to sing into the mic, her hair flying forward. It's a great move that had us all captivated.

Castle was quite mesmerizing, and despite being the opener, seemed to have many of their own fans in the audience. The club was quite full at the start of their set, and shouts of "CASTLE!" could be heard amongst the cheers between songs.

SET LIST
  • Ever Hunter
  • Venus Pentagram
  • Corpse Candles
  • Alcatraz
  • Blacklands
  • Storm Below The Mountain
  • Dying Breed







Scale The Summit

Scale The Summit was up next. Some days, metal is brought to you by large Swedish men with hair down to their ass, and shoulders like mountains. Other days, it's 4 skinny white guys from Texas. Jokes aside, Scale The Summit kicked all available ass. They are clearly music nerds who love what they do, as was evidenced by their blissful grins as they played their very heavy music.

If for some reason you're not familiar with this band, it's heavy, dense, instrumental progressive metal. Scratch that. Apparently, they humorously refer to themselves as "Adventure Metal." Drums, bass, two guitars, yet enough strings on that stage for a small orchestra. Bassist Mark Mitchell had 6 strings, guitarist Travis Levrier had 7, and guitarist Chris Letchford was using what looked like his Signature Strandberg Boden 7-string. And boy do these guys know how to manipulate the chordophone. At some point in the show they each were working up on the neck of their instruments and using a variety of playing techniques to get maximum sound and effect. (Not to leave anyone out simply for a lack of strings, Pat Skeffington both punished and caressed his drums and cymbals, supporting the strings with some incredible rhythms.)

It was so encouraging to see such a large crowd out for this type of music, but it shouldn't have been a surprise to me since they do what they do SO damn well. They opened with "The Dark Horse" and their heavy closer was "The Traveler." In between, the crowd followed closely and cheered in recognition as many of the songs began.

Fun fact: Scale The Summit was selling tabs with their merch. Probably more music nerds are attracted to this type of metal but still: I wish more bands did this!

How do I describe this last partů so, this was the end of the tour and clearly everyone had gotten to know each other really well. Scale The Summit averages an age in their early 20s so despite their mindblowing skill as musicians, they were likely the butt of their share of practical jokes from others on tour. An instrumental band, they still had two mics set up with which to speak to the audience. At their first break, guitarist Travis Levrier approached his microphone to greet us, probably thank us, and maybe announce the next song. However, each time he tried to speak, the sound guy would shut off his mic and play clips of Phil Anselmo speaking to the audience of what sounded like a large festival. The unassuming looking Levrier approaches the mic, but instead we hear the overly gruff voice of Anselmo, " HOW YOU FUCKIN' DOIN' I WANNA HEAR SOME FUCKIN NOISE!!" Etc. This made the band laugh, which made us in the audience laugh, which encouraged the sound guy to play more and more outrageous things from his library of Anselmo clips every time Levrier attempted to speak. It was hilarious and we were all dying laughing.

Eventually he did get to speak, but only after much laughter. This happened at two different breaks in the show; toward the end of the show, two guys (perhaps the sound guys?) came on stage with what looked like shots of whiskey. Together with the band, all 6 guys "cheers'd" each other, took their shots, then the band resumed their final songs without explanation. There must be something special about the end of a really amazing tour. We in the audience all felt like we were a part of it.

SET LIST
  • The Dark Horse
  • Age Of The Tide
  • Odyssey
  • Whales
  • Atlas Novus
  • The Great Plains
  • The Olive Tree
  • The Traveler







Intronaut

Intronaut sauntered on to the stage like the professionals they are. The crowd was ready for their headliner, and the band obliged. There was something quite subdued about their performance; perhaps influenced by the band name, the word "introspective" kept coming to my mind. They confidently let the music speak for itself. Well, not entirely. Behind the band was something that really enhanced the experience: specially made video art.

I saw a band do this once before and it was kitschy as hell. However, this night, and with this band, it was AWESOME. Their music is nearly instrumental, with the vocals acting more as a supporting texture than a vehicle for text or melodies. Such music can either pull you in or keep you at bay, so adding the visual component just enhanced the experience enough to draw everyone into the fold.

It would be impossible to accurately describe this video that danced behind the band; it included everything from skeletons rowing a boat to a creepy woman swimming toward us underwater in negative exposure, a close-up of burning embers, the band's logo, and an animation of their recent album cover, just to give the smallest taste. It was intriguing but subtle and never overbearing, staying just as a curious part of the background, letting the music shine.

And shine it did. Though I did say this is more "introspective" Intronaut, not run-around-the-stage-head-banging Intronaut. If you enjoy music for thinking, this is a band to see. The crowd was very clearly into them, yet the music elicited more clapping than cheering for the most part. I hesitate to say it was a "wind-down" for the evening, because this was definitely the main event. They just had something so soothing about their playing that everyone was lulled into a happily mesmerized head bob despite the crunchy, gritty metal. At one point some person tried to start a pit during a more upbeat song. After their short and sad attempt to shove some others into joining, we all just looked at this person confused, then returned our attention to the band. It was that kind of a set; music for enjoying, personally.

SET LIST

  • Killing Birds With Stones
  • Milk Leg
  • The Welding
  • Core Relations
  • Harmonomicon
  • Sore Sight for Eyes
  • Prehistoricisms
  • Gleamer
  • The Literal Black Cloud
  • Australopithecus






 



Written on 13.07.2013 by
Susan
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.
More articles by Susan ››




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D.T. Metal - 13.07.2013 at 16:55  
"However, each time he tried to speak, the sound guy would shut off his mic and play clips of Phil Anselmo speaking to the audience of what sounded like a large festival."
- NICE.
BloodTears - 13.07.2013 at 20:27  
This would be so fun for me, Intronaut and Scale The Summit, wow.

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