Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Sound of Animals Fighting live 2014 Review Tempe AZ Marquee Theater 3-29-2014

        Well, what some people thought impossible has happened again. It all started with an update to a Facebook cover photo.  Back in October 2013, The Sound of Animals Fighting Facebook page (long thought to be dead due to inactivity) showed some new activity. Shortly after, a bunch of clips of their live performances were posted.  This was very interesting because they had only played live 4 times back in 2006. 
     The rarity of their live performances was due to the fact that the band is made up of members of different bands (Circa Survive, Rx Bandits, Finch, Chiodos, The Autumns, Days Away and more).  An indie/prog/screamo super group if you will.  Because of different touring schedules and commitments to each members respective band finding time to get together to practice and prep for live shows was near impossible. Lead singer Anthony Green was repeating the line "this is the last time this will happen" during their last live performance back in 2006.

      Thankfully he was wrong!
(Anthony Green backstage with some of the volunteers, That's me in the back!)

If you missed out on those first 4 live shows, there is a dvd available that shows just how fun and creative this band really is

Through some sort if miracle, the group was not only able to play live again, but this time they would be playing in 6 cities on both coasts with stops in some cities for 2 nights.  The entire musical collective was orchestrated by Rich Balling a former member of Rx Bandits, whose credits also include curating and editing the book "Revolutions on Canvas: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene"

(myself with Rich Balling before their performance in Tempe AZ at Marquee Theater 3-29-2014)

The inital bunch of shows featured live painting by Norton Wisdom and Aaron Nagel (formerly of Ska/Punk band Link 80).  In addition to the live performances, the silent film Metropolis was playing in the background.
The show also featured dancers like something from a Cirque du Soleil show and people in Black hoods with carnival masks.

     A few months ago TSOAF had posted on facebook that they would be looking for volunteers to help with their live performances, so naturally I offered my assistance for the Tempe show.  About a week before the performances began I received a private message from the bands facebook account instructing me to meet at the venue a few hours before doors opened to get details on how I could participate. 
     After the 5 &1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas to Tempe I was pacing around the hotel room hoping that I could be one of those hooded people who creepily walked across the stage with a flashlight or something like that.  This time around though they would be doing something a little different.
Instead of black hoods and flashlights, we were told that we would be given different colored body suits to wear and that we would become live art accompanying the music during the performance. 

The Orange suits would be fire wrapping themselves around Matthew Kelly of the Autumns has he sang an Acapella version of the Heretic from the album Lover the Lord has Left Us.

 Referring to the lyrics "Flesh is heretic, my body is a witch, I am burning it" which repeats in the background of that song and also appears in their first album The Tiger and the Duke 

The black suits, with assistance from the red suits would unveil a long banner that featured the name of the live DVD.

The Blue suits would become waves of the Ocean and the Yellow Suits, the Sun during their performances of songs from the album of the same name "The Ocean and the Sun"

Being backstage with one of my favorite all time bands was a dream come true enough for me, but to actually be able to participate in a rare live performance and be a part of the art was AMAZING!

(backstage selfie in my blue body suit)

The Red suits from earlier came back for the last song to hold up large picture frames.

I was able to take a little bit of video and a couple photos while backstage but I was too much in awe to worry about quality.  It was a moment that will never happen again and I didn't want to remember it from behind the glass of a cellphone screen, I wanted to take in as much as possible while it lasted.
(Rich Balling dancing his way offstage)

Once we were done with our role in the show we were let back out into the crowd.  I was able to capture some video while enjoying the last few songs.  Because it was shaky cell phone video I decided to edit it and try to make it somewhat more interesting. So give it a watch and let me know what you think in the comments below. 
     Also if you were at any of the shows, leave a comment with your thoughts and feelings on it. 
Was it everything you hoped it would be? 
Were you one of the lucky few who got to participate? 
There was definitely a sense of camaraderie backstage with all of us volunteers. I'd like to see what kind of connections can be made through such an intimate experience, shoot me a message or comment.

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