Agalloch -- Cambridge, MA -- July 25th, 2012
I know its a little late, but here's my review of the Agalloch show.
I went to see Agalloch at the Middle East in Cambridge on July 25. It was a Wednesday night, so I was unsure how the turnout would be. I got to the venue about 25 minutes after doors opened to find there was still a line to get in. I usually never have to get in to this place, so I knew that the show would be pretty packed. Taurus came on at 9, an hour after doors opened. By then the room had a pretty good amount of people in it, but was not packed. They started off just playing feedback with the creepy video playing in the background, eventually coming out on stage. The music was very droney and slow, and seemed to just repeat the same thing over and over. They never talked to the crowd, and seemed to be in their own world on stage. The music itself was nothing special, and not something I would listen to normally. In a live setting though, it wasn’t too bad, as the performance was really trippy and weird. They played for about 30-35 minutes.
Agalloch came on about a half hour later at 10. By then, the room was packed; it must have been sold out or close to it. I haven’t been to a ton of shows here, but I’ve been to a few and this was the most packed I had seen it. John Haughm lit incense on stage before they started, releasing an aroma in the room that set the mood for their set. They came out onstage and kicked into a short instrumental intro, then played “Limbs” right away. I am a huge fan of this song, so this was great for me. I was slightly irritated though, as two people in front of me were filming the set and talking the entire time. I am usually good at ignoring annoying people at shows, and was able to do so for the most part. Luckily, they moved right after “Limbs.” Next, they played “Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires,” possibly my favorite song off Marrow of the Spirit. The song always brings me to a wintery mountainous landscape, and this feeling was felt just as much hearing it live. They then played Faustian Echoes in its entirety, which sounded amazing live. Other highlights for me were “Hallways of Enchanted Ebony” and “In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion.” They played a cover of Sol Invictus’ “Kneel to the Cross,” and left the stage. The crowd was cheering and yelling to hear “Falling Snow,” which they did come back out and play. The crowd went nuts when they kicked in with this, and everyone seemed pleased at the end. Performance-wise, Agalloch was AMAZING. Every song was played perfectly, and the entire band had good energy and seemed happy to be there playing to the crowd. Normally I am a big-time headbanger and mosher, but I was very calm at this show. This type of music puts me in a more relaxed and thoughtful mood, so I just stood there taking it all in, nodding my head along and even closing my eyes at some points and just listening to the music. I bought a Faustian Echoes shirt to remember this incredible night, and would HIGHLY recommend anyone to see this band if possible.
Agalloch setlist (checked with setlist.fm to make sure)
Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires
Our Fortress Is Burning... I
Our Fortress is Burning... II: Bloodbirds
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
As Embers Dress the Sky
Hallways of Enchanted Ebony
You Were But a Ghost in My Arms
In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion
Kneel to the Cross (Sol Invictus cover)
8/17 High on Fire