Review and photos—Appleseed Cast at the Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver March 9 2010
– review by Catherine Carmichael/photos by Ariana Rock
Surrounded by aquamarine lights set against the rustic, underground cabin aura of the Biltmore Cabaret, the Appleseed Cast delivered more than an anticipated show: they delivered an experience.
The evening started off with Chicago’s Dreamend, a “pop/experimental/folk band” (thanks, Myspace!). With strengths lying in its musical concepts and instrumentality, Dreamend’s best song was its last, a primarily instrumental piece without the regrettable offset of off-key vocals.
As promised on the band’s aforementioned Myspace page, the Appleseed Cast performed all of its 2001 double LP Low Level Owl Volume 1 and Volume 2. The otherworldliness of the experience was helped bythe fact that the band played the albums in their entirety, without taking breaks between songs.
While briefly acknowledging the audience, the Lawrence, Kansas band continued the set as if all the individual songs were, in actuality, one unabridged track that has its strong and delicate moments, all the while developing like a story.
Nothing spectacular happened on stage, and this lack of showmanship emphasized the Appleseed Cast’s outstanding musicality and poetic lyrics. Whether members of the audience were familiar with the band’s music or not, it was evident they were enjoying the set, with most people bobbing their heads along with the tenacious drumming or raising their hands to affirm their approval.
Songs like “On Reflection”, which contain some lyrics, demonstrated lead singer Christopher Crisci’s passionate and simple voice.As further evidence of the band’s creativity, TAC did not restrain itself to a typical guitar sound and at times the guitar notes could have been easily mistaken for a keyboard’s.
The show was experiential largely because the Appleseed Cast’s songs are not ones that listeners easily sing along to, though one can still relish in the artistry of the lyrics. The beauty of the group’s Biltmore set lay within its experimental guitar riffs and interesting keyboard effects, encouraging listeners to relate the tunes to the images displayed on the projection screen behind the drummer or to discover their own feelings related to the songs.
The Appleseed Cast’s music has the feeling of a quilt: the listener is immersed in the different textures of the grand, symphonic pieces, all while experiencing the very human warmth and intimacy in songs like “Bird of Paradise” or “Steps and Numbers”.
More Appleseed Cast Vancouver photos: