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Raleigh’s Between the Buried and Me, longstanding boundary pushers sitting somewhere delightfully between metal, prog and hardcore, swung through Minneapolis’ Skyway Theatre with some heavy help to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of their album The Parallax II: Future Sequence, supported by Reading’s death prog wizards Rivers of Nihil and the guitar-come-ska wizardry of New Jersey’s Thank you Scientist. Audiences were well primed for an evening of virtuoso instrumentation spread across the three bands.

Rivers of Nihil opened the night of musical indulgence, armed with their new lineup. They previously had to part with their former vocalist Jake Dieffenbach as due to hearing loss he was no longer able to perform, so they regrouped with bassist Adam Biggs' taking over growls for them. The new sound was explosive - Biggs’ did a tremendous job filling Dieffenbach’s shoes, and the dynamic of him with guitarist Andy Thomas was a ferocious tug of war between clean and heavy. To Biggs’ immense credit, he seemed to give every ounce of energy he had into the vocal performance, his facial contortions looking simply unreal at times. Their set featured heavily of newer material, including brand new single "Sub Orbital Blues", the first to prominently feature Biggs, but they also closed out with the title track of "Where Owls Know My Name" (a personal favorite).

Thank You Scientist were up second, a band living somewhere in the boundary waters between big band and prog rock. With a violinist, saxophonist, and trumpet player on stage adding to the arsenal of guitar, bass, drums and madman vocalist Salvatore Marrano, their chaos is a lot to take in, but fit seamless into the sandwich they created with Rivers of Nihil and Between the Buried and Me. Existing as almost a midway between the two sounds, Marrano and company rolled through several high octane tracks that bounced from verse to section to chorus to bridge with reckless abandon, Marrano’s full-force vocals taking every ounce of energy he had.

Between the Buried and Me finally took the stage to a dimly lit scene as the opening notes of "Goodbye to Everything" began to stage. All five members - with session guitarist Tristan Auman of Sometime in February filing in for Dusty - took to the stage, and the magic began. "Astral Body" faded in, and the Skyway Theatre crowd was off to the races. Tommy Rogers is seemingly physically incapable of giving less than 110% when he performs, occupying nearly the whole space when not contributing to the keyboard sections while managing a note perfect vocal duty. There’s a lot of credit to be given to the band for how modern their material from a decade ago sounds - "Parallax II" sounds like it could have been released this week - and the life they breathed into this old material really elevated the whole show into an experience. Adding to this was the phenomenal lighting work and visual design of the panels behind them, adding a cinematic element as they played through the entire album with barely any breaks. Although there was no encore, I highly doubt any fan of the band left the showing asking for more - the band are true masters of their live craft.


Joseph Dunst

Photojournalist - Minneapolis  

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