A Night At The Circus

I was outside surrounded by about three different auto body shops in New Brunswick and wasn’t sure if I was going to this concert or getting my oil changed. The Loft, as many of you may know but I certainly was a bit ill-informed…is a loft. If you took any sort of dirty basement show and raised the ceilings, BAM. You would have The Loft. The inside was run down and looked abandoned except for the man built stage that was decorated with draped curtains, hanging light bulbs, and lamps. I looked to my left and there was a giant mattress blocking a door. I looked to my right and the walls were tattooed with the inners of Wall And Piece. I turned around and there was a filthy, rusted sink with cigarette butts and bottle caps inside. Every aspect of this place turned me on.

There were a bunch of bands to be playing this night, one of which was The Venetia Fair of whom I had came to see. But before I completely emerge this article into their performance, I want to point out the other bands that were showcased.

Trees of Light was…eccentric. I mean, I understood the concept; two-piece instrumental band that consisted of just a drummer and a guitarist who had a profound amount of effects pedals at his feet. Their music flowed…as long as the drummer kept following the guitarist’s gestures to inform him that there was going to be a change in progression. Throughout their set there was actually some singing, and towards the end I realized the lead singer was the same guy I saw centering his chi and gyrating about doing the “standing bow” pose I’d learned in yoga.

Then there was Barrow. This is what high school sounded like through my headphones. They were this wonderful post-hardcore blend of Alexisonfire, Funeral For A Friend, and some hints of Thrice. They were kind of progressive in the sense that they had a bunch of pedals (why they remind me of Thrice) and it was almost like the effects stood as its own instrument, if you could imagine it. The reverb and tranquil flanger effects definitely stood out to be their own entity.

I believe I was on my third beer when it happened. An eight ball-bred, mescaline fed circus rolled through New Brunswick and pitched tent right in front of me at The Loft. I’ve heard The Venetia Fair’s music, but I never knew how much energy they have on stage. When the first note rang out, there was an outburst of chaos as if I was just shot in the face with a cannon full of confetti.

The Venetia Fair’s pandemonium in their music and performance reminded me of The Blood Brothers in some ways, minus the flamboyancy. They’re rapid chaotic breakdowns and fills remind me of Dillinger Escape Plan or Converge, while Benny’s (vocalist) trembling voice evoked Gerard Way or the singers from Envy on the Coast. I also taste Daryl from GlassJaw’s animosity and random spurts of malice, especially when he shouted, “And I could blame this on the pills, or your family and friends but let’s be honest, you’ve always kind of been a whore.”

Within the first song, Joe (shoeless keyboardist) was standing on his keys and playing with his feet, Benny (the once silently composed singer) had the mic wire wrapped tightly around his neck, Chris (who liked to stand on his drum set) was just as animated extending his arms ever which way, and Mike and Mr. Chark (the erratic guitarist and bassist) were frantically running about as if they weren’t administered Ritalin for a month. The stage antics were unreal and so exuberant. This type of performance is what I wish ALL bands would do.

It was a bohemian, cracked out circus where instead of elephants and trapeze stunts there were instruments and their own bodies. Benny was acting contortionist; flinging his tall, skeletal body all over the stage like a child throwing a tantrum. At one point, he was standing on the keyboard, holding himself merely by the mic wire that wrapped around his neck and then wrapped around a column. Then all at once, they would whip out tambourines, kazoos, and maracas. Joe was thwacking his keys, which made me nervous since not less than 20 minutes earlier I saw him pouring two beers down his throat while lying on the floor. Mike actually climbed on top of the stacks of speakers and used his kazoo as a slide and/or guitar pic. Although everything about this performance was raw, the music was still on-point and it all made sense. As I watched I thought, “this is totally what they should sound like live.”

Every single element of this band makes them so unique and diverse that it makes me smile from ear to ear that they exist. Wait…what was really fucking cool about this show was they got an encore. Do you remember how I described The Loft? This basement-in-a-loft show, which was filled with like 20 people max? Yeah, they cheered them on for an encore. Pretty sick.

Even though The Venetia Fair was the climax for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed the last two bands, Sara and Meet Pause. They were both great alternative rock to listen to. Sara had these awesome bass lines that carried the music along. A cross between Weezer and Silversun Pickups, complimented with the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s.” Meet Pause was a trio that submerged themselves in a bunch of different genres. One song would offer a bunch of catchy, foot-stomping elements, while another song offered yelling and crazy riffs.

All in all, for a hidden, rundown loft that has two-three flights of twisted, decrepit wooden stairs as an entrance and exit, the show turned out to be absolutely amazing for something that looked not so promising from the outside.

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