Animals As Leaders, After The Burial, And More

The Assembly Music Hall, Sacramento, March 27th, 2014

This was my first time at Sacramento’s spiffy new venue on K street. Myself and a rag-tag group of fellow travelers all made the southbound sojourn to see the one and only Animals As Leaders, who put the tour together in celebration of their new album The Joy Of Motion, which is VERY good, by the way.

We missed the first band, Salythia, but got there just in time for Chon. While sporting small, combo amplifiers and Hawaiian flowered shirts, these instrumental virtuosos took us through warm, fuzzy, prog-metal. Although each song felt like the same thing with different shred, it was still beautiful shred. Sweet, impeccably groovy, and flawlessly played. I wish they would’ve smiled more, but the bassist was great—he was obviously having fun, and I had fun watching him. Chon were a great warm-up, and the crowd loved it.

Next up was the one man rhythm machine, NaveneK, who happens to be AAL’s previous drummer. His setup was simple: a pad and computer for managing the electronic music he had produced, plus himself on a drum kit. NaveneK took the crowd on a head-bobbing, shoulder-shaking electronic dance journey through trap, dubstep, breakbeat, trance, and hip hop. It was a stretch to get this metal crowd to dance, but he’d drive people bonkers at something like Bassmint. He got people moving by the last song—a major accomplishment. The man is an incredible drummer, and happens to make really good dance music. I loved it.

After The Burial, from Minneapolis, brought the fucking house down. They were, by far, the evening’s peak in crowd-energy, and they had the room jumping for 45 minutes—straight. The only vocalist of the night fueled an excellent connection with the crowd, while the rest of the band sonically crushed the room with bright neon-tinted 8-string guitars. The room was an ocean of movement and everyone was loving it, jumping and crashing like waves against their fellow homo-sapiens.

It had been a fun, weird night, and soon enough came the men of the evening: Animals As Leaders. This was the fourth or fifth time seeing these guys, and it was definitely the best. Now they have 10×10 LED screens displaying imaginative seas of color and design that accompany the futuristic, creative metal that they love to play. AAL is known to let their visuals capture the attention of the crowd, while they focus on the intense, technical music they’re playing, but that
night the three piece had the most fun I’ve ever seen them have. Huge grins, shoulder- shakes and headbanging let me know that they are really coming to enjoy the music they write. When the crowd wasn’t standing in captivated awe at the brilliant displays of light and instrumental prowess, they engaged in jumping frenzies. It was a flawless set, spiced with various guitars that were just as much works of art as the music.

Written by Crown

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