I saw two of my favorite progressive metal bands on Saturday! Plini and Intervals are both solo acts backed by a drum and bassist. Intervals used to be a full band (witha singer!) until Aaron Marshall made it his own solo project.
Now, before I go onto the concert, I think I should mention that I enjoyed the Intervals previous album, A Voice Within (2015) much more than the newest album The Shape of Colour. I believe Aaron Marshall is a fabulous guitarist and songwriter, but the voice of Mike Semesky just meshed really well with Marshall’s ideas on the guitar. I was dissapointed that he never played or even mentioned material from that album. As far as I know there were personal reasons for why that iteration of the band went their separate ways, and A Shape of Colour is still a strong album in any respects.
The first few acts of the night didn’t really grab my attention in any way. I will leave them out of this write up. But the main opener, Painted in Exile could have headlined the show themselves! They have a great comeback story with their new album The Ordeal being released after a 5 year hiatus. Their vocalist had a thing and could not make the show, but the rest of the band rocked so hard it didn’t matter. I was particularly impressed with their keyboardist, Alan Hankers. I really hope this band puts out more material in the next few years. It would be a waste otherwise. Every man in the band has serious ability.
After what seemed like a particularly long intermission, Plini showed up with his custom Strandberg Boden OS 6 and opened his set. With Intervals (Aaron Marshall, a random drummer and Plini’s Bassist) behind him, he played songs off of his latest album Handmade Cities and a few others. While I don’t believe Plini is the best songwriter, he is the best guitarist that I’ve ever heard live. His easy-going demeanor won the crowd, and perfectly fit the material he was playing. When the riffs got heavy, all he had to was change his expression a bit and the crowd reacted like he was doing backflips off the stage. I would pay more money than what I spent to see him perform again.
A long intermission again, (For the same band!), and Plini switched places with Marshall. It was the exact same setup with the same drummer and bassist. Don’t get me wrong, they were great musicians, but switching around the same people and changing the name, then playing very similar music seemed a bit strange. They could have just combined the set, called it Intervals with a special guest of Plini. Semantics, Really. Aaron started right into I’m Awake (one of my favorites!), Sure Shot, and Libra all off the new album. He also dug out songs from In Time. During this set, all lights except those on stage were off and the multi-colored light bars in the back gave a really cool effect to the bands presence. You could tell that they were trying to match the colorful artwork off of The Shape of Colour. There were a few heavier sections where the crowd attempted to mosh, but in the end the upbeat material rightfully kept the hardcore dancing to a minimum.