It’s no secret that we love EMBER FALLS over here at Musicalypse, so when a show was announced at Bar Loose on the last day of August 2019, there was no question that we’d be going. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the basement club downtown, so we were able to revisit this underground venue at the same time. EMBER FALLS was playing alongside ROSECRAFT and HUMAVOID, but our night was busy enough that we were only able to watch the headliner. We arrived in good time and enjoyed the upstairs bar before descending into the basement for showtime.
First things first… Bar Loose? Not an awesome venue. The upstairs is a nice bar, but the basement has a very strange shape and – based on what we know of EMBER FALLS‘ sound tech and his skill – probably not a very good sound system. The room has a sort of exaggerated C-shape with the stairs to the upstairs in the middle, which perhaps causes some weirdness in the way the sound moves. As the stage changed over, the bar had to cut the music so the sound booth could call over to the band. It was properly “underground.”
The band started up with “COE” but the sound was admittedly pretty rough. The music was coming through decently, but we were quite certain that we were hearing Thomas Grove‘s voice because he was belting it out with his own power, not at all amplified by the mic. This made the first song pretty muddy overall, but it was impossible to tell if the band could hear how rough it was because they were giving 100%. The sound was still finding itself a bit as they went into “One More Time,” and I wondered if the guys were still warming up a bit too or if the song seemed a tad sloppy just because the sound quality was so thoroughly messed up. I also noted that Calu did the second verse on his own, which was a nice little change-up from the norm, giving that part a gritty live boost.
By “Rising Tide” the sound and band had both tightened up (at least as much as circumstances would allow), and the crowd started to wake up and get into things, which was perfect leading into the new and still-unreleased song, “Divine.” We caught this the first time earlier this year and we remain as intrigued as before, if not more. My thought process through the entire song was that… this sounds familiar, which song is this? Wait, this isn’t a song I know! Thus it’s easy to conclude that these guys have really nailed their own sound, and we can’t wait for this song to come out.
“Falling Rain” still does it for me every time I hear it; I will probably go to all of EMBER FALLS‘ shows as long as this song remains on the setlist (and probably still beyond that). It’s always been cool to see how easily I’ve been able to connect with the lyrics in some of their songs for reasons that I can’t even define, but this is definitely one of those songs. Another favorite is “The Cost of Doing Business” – a great call-out to people who seek to profit and don’t care about what gets sacrificed in the process – and it seemed that the crowd knew this one too, as the floor became a haze of sweat and raised fists.
There was an extended intro with what sounded to me like an organ playing and a beeping that could’ve been a heart monitor, leading into their new single, “Heart Shaped Black Scar.” This was easily one of the tightest songs of the night and all I can say is that they totally nailed it and it was everything you want to hear from a new single by a band you like. Full 10/10 for both new songs!
They ended the night (naturally) with their big hit, “Shut Down with Me.” This song is so great that its impossible not to get hyped up when those first notes play. They do tend to mess around with it and go crazy a touch too much so it often has messy moments, but nevertheless it’s a fantastic live track and always really powerful. These guys were at full energy from start to finish as well, which is another one of their big draws. Between Grove‘s gorgeous voice, Calu‘s awesome growls and rhythms, Oswald rocking out and making bass look so cool, Jay V‘s incredible solos, and Ace always killing it on the drums, you know that these guys are going to give you a good night every time. The stage was far too small for what they’ve got going on, even with OneOfHaze (Mikko McMenamin) no longer in their roster.
My final thoughts are always more or less the same: why is this band not bigger? Everything they do, they do so incredibly well, from music to lyrics and vocals, all the way into their stage appearance and energy. There is nothing I don’t love about this band. They interact so well with the crowd and just make you want to party and get out all that energy you had pent up from the week. I’m a bit of a broken record at this point – I love this band and you should definitely check them out if you like combining electronica with heavy fucking metal!
2. One More Time
3. Rising Tide
5. Falling Rain
6. The Cost of Doing Business
7. Heart Shaped Black Scar
8. Shut Down with Me
Written by Bear Wiseman
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”