Ever since I heard that Richard Swift and Frank Lenz were touring with Starflyer 59, I was itching to see them live. Stories of Lenz’s prowess on the drums and Swift’s ability to accent a set are well known, and I wanted to see it for myself. Also, Ester Drang was a bit of a mystery to me. I have had Infinite Keys but had little time to invest in absorbing it before the concert. Well, I had my first real taste of Ester Drang live, and I was blown away.
Ester Drang’s set was a good length and did not disappoint.
Is Nothing New? (Goldenwest)
The Temple Mound (Infinite Keys)
Dead Man’s Point of View (Infinite Keys)
Oceans of You (Infinite Keys)
One Hundred Times (Infinite Keys)
The Greatest Thing (Infinite Keys)
No One Could Ever Take Your Face (Infinite Keys)
Song for Jonathan (Goldenwest)
Infinite Keys (Infinite Keys)
Bryce’s soft, pensive voice combines with the stylings of his band mates in a fascinating way. This soft
spoken, introspective guy can really sing beautifully. The rest of the set was a blur of beautiful, pensive
orchestrated music that blew me away. There are few words to describe it in my mind. It was more like an experience than a concert. Like I have said in other reviews, I like to judge a band by how the sound live in comparison to their recordings. If they can match or outmatch their recordings live, then they are a band that measures up to me. Well, Ester Drang blew away their recordings. I think this music was meant to be heard at higher decibels than a mere stereo system can produce. Furthermore, Chris Colbert was at the boards mixing the band. It was complete perfection.
After Ester Drang, Starflyer 59 quickly set up. I had not seen Starflyer since Wayne Everett and Eric Campuzano had played with Jason. It had been a long time. Well, I was in for a treat. First, the set list.
New Wife, New Life (Old)
Birthrite (Fashion Focus)
Play the C Chord (Everybody Makes Mistakes)
The Lights On (Old)
E.P. Nights (Fell In Love at 22)
No New Kinda Story (Everybody Makes Mistakes)
I Drive A Lot (Fashion Focus)
I had heard stories of Starflyer playing 4 song sets and I was hoping that would not be the case that
night. Well, as you can see, it certainly was not. Jason’s vocals were great and his guitar work exceptional. What really filled out the guitar was Swift’s work. He was on a synth and matched all the extra guitar parts from “Old” and added to the others and really made the songs sound powerful. Cloud was his usual calm self, but he is a great bass player: solid. Now, the highlight for me was seeing the legendary Lenz play. He was unbelievable. Flawless technique and perfect accentuation. He may be the best rock drummer I have ever seen.
Experiencing Ester Drang for the first time was fantastic and seeing Starflyer 59 after so long was great. It made me feel like I had been away too long. I am now a devoted fan of both bands. Both have lived up to their reputation in my eyes and I look forward to seeing them again.