How do you review a show when you were moshing for half of it? I’ll try to pull apart the experience from the torrents of shoulders and sweat that is the most beautiful human experience: the friendly mosh. A nice mosh really enforces my faith in humanity.
Rarely do all three acts at a show deserve to be the headliners, but on this occasion at the Cobalt, Thee Magic Circle, Sugar Candy Mountain and Kikagaku Moyo could have taken that spot.
Thee Magic Circle came on first. The Vancouver-based group consisted of a drummer, three guitarists, a bass player and a tambourinist. Each member was dressed in a time warp back to the psychedelic ‘60s, save the drummer. Their sound was hypnotic, but full of energy. Each guitarist had their turn singing and each sounded different — from drawn out to acid rock. They made you want to dance, but it was the first set so the elements in the crowd had yet to twist into more volatile compounds.
The second act, Sugar Candy Mountain, was the most technically skilled band of the three. Drummer Will Halsey’s jazz-inspired playing felt improvisational and exciting as he created new rhythms every few seconds, while the rest of the band — a guitarist, bassist and keyboardist — worked for him. By their second song, I lost myself to dance, so I can’t really tell you what their visual stage presence was like. I will repeat: their drummer was a gift from the heavens.
The main act, Kikagaku Moyo, was awesome. “Kikagaku Moyo” translates to “geometric patterns” which gives an idea of what kind of music they played. It was less fractally and improvisational than I had imagined prior to the show but they executed their repetitive, trance-like tones to perfection, and the raw power and balance of their instrumental songs helped fuel the aforementioned mosh. Vocals were minimal if at all present — instead they focused on flawless transitions and synchronous playing, with riffs and licks atop smashing barre chords.
If you weren’t in the pit, you probably didn’t have the space or desire — or perhaps courage — to dance. Immediately next to the sweaty mosh, the crowd was essentially static: a stoic solid surrounding a massively energetic ball of liquid, sloshing, breaking barriers, appearing, disappearing, evaporating and sublimating, somewhere in the pit. While the moshers were a heavy minority that night, I am certain they (we) had the most fun.