Between the Buried and Me w/ The Faceless, The Contortionist, The Safety Fire
Show review and photos from: Karina Diane Parker Date of show: September 29, 2013 Where: The Observatory - Santa Ana, California, U.S.A. Published: October 3, 2013
Opening up the show was The Safety Fire, a band from London, England. They were first introduced to the public in 2006 even though their debut album titled Grind the Ocean was released was in 2012. The first song played was “Yellowism” which is filled with amazing snares and awesome riffs. This band was able to bring energy, and fired up the crowd with just a few notes. I had a rather interesting conversation with the band’s bassist, Lori Peri, at the band’s merchandise stand. I asked him why he was working double duty. He advised me that since they are big in the UK they want to reach out to the fans here in the USA which is why he was manning the merch table. I’m not sure if these guys realize that they already have a strong following here as I was taking photos of the band on stage I heard many in the audience singing along with all their songs. But all and all, The Safety Fire had a unique style and I was quite impressed with their performance and stage presence. They definitely won a few new fans over, including me!
Next up were The Contortionist, formed in 2007 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This band has issues maintaining a consistent singer/keyboard player for more than a two year span. For someone that has never seen this band live, I was curious as to why the roadies, after tuning the equipment, started jamming all of a sudden. Once I realized that it was the actual band playing it all became clear to me. Their new singer, Michael Lessard, sounded very clean and spot on with the vocals and as their music progressed you can see that the band is very passionate about their music and it rubbed off on the audience as well. Even though they did not look like a band at first, they sure did sound like one when it all came together. My only complaint about the set is that it was a bit short and consisted of only four songs.
The Faceless was one of the most anticipated bands of the evening. Formed in 2003 in Encino, California, they have been the center of attention throughout the years. Michael Keene is the only surviving original member in the band, and there have been many rumors going around about the band breaking up, and about the way their music sound has changed. This resulted with the first question on everyone's mind: "where's the bassist, Evan Brewer?”. He is definitely one of the most lively band members, and he was definitely missed. Brewer has addressed the speculations about him quitting the band recently on his Facebook Page, and states that he is currently pursuing project opportunities and has not left the band, but will miss some tour dates. The Faceless still managed to put on a great show with just a recorded bass track. The vocals and the guitars were spot on and the audience was in awe of the performance. The singer was moving around everywhere on stage which made the show even more entertaining to watch. My only reservations about the set was that the band never addressed the audience directly since they were performing in their home state.
"BTB-AM!, BTB-AM!" the crowd roared as it was now time for the headliner Between the Buried and Me. Their whole tour revolved around them performing their most recent album release, Future Sequence, in its entirety which is approximately 72 minutes in length. This reminded me of the movie Tropic Thunder where Robert Downey Jr. as Kirk Lazarus says "Man, I don't drop character 'till I done the DVD commentary" and if you watch the DVD, he never dropped character. BTBAM did just that on stage! Without a single pause or song countdown, and just a simple "Hello Santa Ana!" the band went through the entire album from start to finish with the help of some visual effects on two round screens. Tommy Rogers, who was the Jack of All Trades, played the keyboards, then ran to the front of the stage to let out some powerful clean and on pitch vocals; just as if you were listening to the CD itself. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring’s guitars were in perfect harmony, and bassist Dan Briggs had killer energy as he moved around across the stage to the flawless rhythms of Blake Richardson’s drums.
I was pretty impressed with this show. The Observatory was almost sold out and packed with fans singing along to almost every song played that night. The lineup was great since all the bands that played were in the Progressive Metal genre, they all complimented each other and the sets flowed from one band to the next. BTBAM's set was very technical and if you are a metalhead or a musician of any sort, I would not miss this tour if it ever comes through your town.