Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Live: Cinemasophia, Ceremony

When: 4/25
Where: Cameo

When I headed over to the Vanishing Point Presents show at Cameo, I was hoping to catch the second act, Ceremony, but when I arrived, the set was already running behind and the opener, Cinemasophia, was still on stage. I’d had no intention of checking the band out, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I quite liked them!

They have a shoegaze side to their music, which is undoubtedly how they ended up on this bill, but their post-rock rhythms set them apart from the pack. The band’s male-female vocals were lovely, contrasting dissonance with harmony to propel the music forward. Crashing, heavy jolts give way to sweeping melodies. Shimmery guitars and ricocheting drums kept the music lively.

Cinemasophia (from MySpace.com)

But even during the set, I had the sad thought: “I really like this! I wish I would remember it a month from now.” Although lovely, Cinemasophia doesn’t offer much you won’t forget. The statements simply aren’t extreme enough and even though there may not be too many bands that sound just like this, the components are all so familiar that they fade into the background. Cinemasophia is a great listen, but they’ll need to push their own boundaries if they want to make their impact last. [MySpace]

The next band was the well-loved duo Ceremony (not to be confused with the hardcore band of the same name) on a rare trip up from their home in Virginia. I was excited to finally hear them live, but I must admit, I was slightly disappointed. Though the dark, heavy, shoegazey beats and noise were as great as anticipated, I was expecting a whole hell of a lot more reverb. I’m not sure if I just had the wrong idea about what this band would sound like or if the venue simply couldn’t or didn’t put the proper effects on the PA.

Whatever the case, the vocals were delivered dry and had a rough, indie rock sound to them. It might have been cool if done differently, but the contrast of the ragged vocals over the highly polished and mechanized sound was awkward and dampened the music’s strengths – in other words, the down-home vocals took the bite out of the sound.

Also, it was disappointing to see how much of the band’s music was prerecorded. The night’s headliners, Screen Vinyl Image (whose set I missed this time) make similar music and manage to create a great deal of it live instead of just hitting a “play” button. Hearing so much of overall product pre-made took some of the excitement out of the show, making it rather dreary.

That’s not to say Ceremony is bad! Their recorded material is strong and their live performance has a delightfully massive sound, like running your eardrums over with a steamroller – earplugs are required. The beats, though pre-programmed, were strong and kept the music tense and dynamic. Despite disappointing my admittedly high expectations, the band’s got a lot to feel good about. [MySpace]

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