Balance and Composure / Ovlov - live in Pawtucket (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Balance and Composure / Ovlov

live in Pawtucket (2015)

live show

Balance and Composure had a short run of headlining dates here that came to little Pawtucket, Rhode Island, just outside Providence. It's just shy of an hour drive from Boston, but well worthwhile if there's a good band playing this particular venue, The Met, a spacious-enough yet intimate venue that has good views from wherever one stands, and never a barricade, with lax security that let the kids have their fun.

This show had local-ish openers War Games start things off. Maybe I was just butthurt that a Sunday night show with a 9:30 start time had another band on the bill, but I wasn't too into it. They played a sort of brooding, semi-progressive alt-rock that errs on the underground alternative/Warped Tour side of things, like something Equal Vision might have put out in recent years. They weren't, like, awful, and seemed to perform just fine; it musically just wasn't my thing, or maybe didn't have enough interesting things going on at first listen.

The support on this tour is Ovlov, who I've seen once or twice before. I've tried getting into them, but their overall package is just very unassuming. Musically they've got a pretty cool '90s slacker indie rock vibe going, but the vocals are kinda flat and unengaging, and sometimes downright cringeworthy. They seemed to have a small gaggle of appreciative fans into it and headbanging along.

Balance and Composure came on and the crowd basically exploded. There was a near-constant energy brewing, from the (occasionally funny) moshing to the endless stage dives. The band spurred it on with effortless renditions of highlights from their last two albums, plus the excellent "You Can't Fix Me" from their 2013 split EP with Braid. They played well, with the vibe feeling a little more stripped down than the last headlining tour I saw them on, though that might have just been because they didn't have that kaleidoscopic color projection in the background. In any event, it definitely felt cool to see the band really command a crowd and be able to unintentionally incite so much vigor on the floor through arguably pretty dark songs. The banter was minimal, with lots of love for Ovlov and of course a little appreciation for the crowd. They interestingly omitted "Notice Me" from the set list altogether after closing with a few times since releasing The Things We Think We're Missing in 2013, opting for their other usual closer, "Quake", which was a mild throwback of sorts.

Set list (11:20-12:22):

Progress, Progress
Tiny Raindrops
Dirty Head
You Can't Fix Me
Back of Your Head
Cut Me Open
Encore (12:23-12:28):