6/6 – The Constantines @ Emos

As the week full of shows drew to a close, I had one more highlight that awaited me; The Constantines.  Admittedly, I was more interested in seeing openers I Was A King than the headliners, but this was mostly due to my recent love of the Norwegian band’s self-titled album, rather than animosity towards The Cons.

So, as I Was A King opened their set, I had no choice other than to be totally enthralled.  Sure, the band probably lacked a little bit in presentation, but what they lacked there, they more than made up for with their exceptional blend of guitars and vocal harmonies.  They blasted through their set with the image of businessmen, barely waiting for one song to end before launching into the next, which allowed for the pleasure of all as they belted out song after song.  Highlights of their set included “Not Like This,” Step Aside” and “Norman Bleik.”  Oddly, I would love to describe this band as a space-pop band run through a Guided By Voices blender, which is unique in that the second to last song the band happened to play was a cover of that band, and a good one at that!

Sandwiched in the middle of the opener and headliner was The Crystal Antlers. I had very little expectations of them musically, as I was unfamiliar, for the most part, with their album; they do have a reputation for being a killer live act. The band lived up to the reputation for being a high energy live act, especially the extra percussionist who at the end of the show spun his spare crash cymbal like a basketball player spins a ball on the tip of his finger.  You couldn’t help but to be drawn into the high energy set, which took of the instant they played “Dust,” a song many in the audience knew.  Perhaps one draw back on the group, and their album, is the inaudible lyrics, or unintelligible.  While it coincides with the band’s aesthetics, it’s difficult to do more than jump about whilst listening to the band.

As The Constantines took to the stage a little after midnight, everyone knew what to expect.  If ever a band were to play the role of consummate professional it was this group.  Live, they sound ten times better than their recording, which goes a long way considering their exceptional post-punk releases have always won me over.  The great thing about this group is their consistency, which allowed them to draw from all of their albums Shine a Light, Tournament of Hearts, Kennsington Heights and their self-titled album.  Singer Bryan Webb’s guttural yell still sounds crisp, and the band is exceptionally tight, able to change instruments at will.  You don’t achieve such longevity without the such a performance, and based on the rather large crowd, it’s clear that The Constantines have done their part to keep the fans happy by putting on an unbelievably enjoyable show.

Unfortunately, our photographer was not in tow, but you can check out photos of the set by heading to our friend Mike at Sonic Itch.

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