On April 19, 2003, I had the long awaited opportunity to see Absinthe Blind live in concert. I live in Kentucky, so I had to drive about 1 and half hours to see them in Cincinnati, but it was worth it. I called the club for directions and found out that there were 7 bands playing that night at Top Cats. Having been to many club gigs, I did not expect much from the bands that I hadn’t seen nor heard of before. It was a cavalcade of local bands with Absinthe as the out of town guest. Well, I have to say that the other bands certainly didn’t disappoint, well, maybe the first one did, but lets not go there. The line up was 7am, Hyperstatic, Readymaid, Johnny23, Hilltop Distillery, Absinthe Blind and Chalk. Needless to say, all the bands were great in their own creative way. Even those whose style I do not enjoy impressed me. I was happily surprised that my $10 got me such a deal.
During some of the band’s sets, I was able to sit down with the members of Absinthe and interview them for the site. I must say, they are all great people and easy to get along with (a transcript of that interview is up on the site). That said, I watched the rest of the bands being especially blown away by Johnny23. They were an instrumental band with bass, guitar, violin and drum. Sigur Ros on acid is all I can think of as far as a description. They were incredible and had only been together 8 months. In spite of all the great bands, I eagerly awaited Absinthe getting on that stage and performing.
I like to judge a band by how they do live compared to how they sound on their recordings. If they sound the same or better live, I know that their sound was not fabricated by mixing boards and electronic magic. Well, Absinthe far surpassed their recordings. The vocals were top notch and they were so tight: perfection. Before I get into the set any further, let me give the set list.
Shields *from Rings
Crowd *new song
Vanity Calls *from Everyday Separation
The Break (It’s Been There All This Time) *from Rings
Walls Covered in Hope *from Rings
Win *new song
She Saves/Now I’m Where I Need To Be *from Rings
The opening song, “Shields”, was powerful and great. The vocal harmony between Erin and Adam was right on. Tristan was incredible on guitar. He looked so natural up there. I wish I was able to describe his set up, but I have no pedal knowledge. Needless to say, he created walls of sound and accents in songs that were perfection. The rhythm section was also tight. I feared for Seth‘s drums: he hits hard and holds nothing back! Brett filled out the rhythm section perfectly on the bass and keys.
The new songs were a treat. It is difficult to remember exactly how they went, but my overall impression of the whole set is that they are a patient band. They write songs that “wait.” The arrangements are obviously well thought out and they climax and fall with perfection. No rushing. The final song ended in a crescendo that hit ever note possible.
If you get a chance to see this band live, do!