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Envy / Touché Amoré: live in New Havenlive in New Haven (2010)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)
This show was full of pleasant surprises. The Lily's Pad of Toad's Place was apparently its second floor, and was essentially a furnished DIY space with a bar. No stage. I'd be seeing Envy play on a floor. Envy. On a fucking floor. Just before my friends and I officially stepped through to the ot.
This show was full of pleasant surprises. The Lily's Pad of Toad's Place was apparently its second floor, and was essentially a furnished DIY space with a bar. No stage. I'd be seeing Envy play on a floor. Envy. On a fucking floor.
Two righteous sets later I was ready for my first experience with a touchstone of experimental hardcore. The five members of Envy set up their respective kits and two humbly began ringing guitars without a word of introduction before launching into what I believe was "Chain Wandering Deeply," the opener off 2003's possible career-high, A Dead Sinking Story. No matter what sonically crushing song the band chose to blast the crowd with, though, it was just an onslaught of textural tidal waves. Hell, the crowd didn't even know how to react, for the most part; obviously, no one was really singing along, but very little in the way of head-banging or even bobbing was occurring. They just stood and witnessed it all, either mesmerized or maybe not learning much.
The language barrier was very minimal, even as frontman Tetsuya Fukagawa could only offer smiling, sincere and polite "Thank you"s between songs. You could sense his emotion pretty clearly when he would step away from his sequencer and lyric book (laid out flat on a stand facing the crowd sideways), up to the mic stand, knees bent and his frame slightly hunched over as he clenched his eyes and swayed vulnerably while screaming whatever sort of poetic anguish was at the heart of that particular song. It juxtaposed with his breathy spoken word perfectly. The guitarist to his left may have one-upped him, though, practically immersed in sweat before the band was halfway finished. Really, they all had some incredible stamina for the hour they played, facilitating between spastic moments of hardcore kineticism and lending the requisite parts to their beautifully gloomy post-rock soundscapes.
As much as I love Envy, I honestly find it pretty hard to distinguish and identify their songs; I'd show you a poorly lit photo of the laminated set list taken on my cell phone, but it's all in Japanese. I can say they definitely played a few off their expansively epic new offering, Recitation. I guess that's sort of a given.
It was a hell of an experience either way, and a fantastic show (save my rebellious hiccup). Don't fuck up and miss this.
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