Further Seems Forever - live in Allston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Further Seems Forever

live in Allston (2016)

live show

Further Seems Forever reunited for a round of shows with their original singer, Chris Carrabba, a few years back. Though it’s by no means an even anniversary, they’re now back with Jason Gleason, the guy who replaced Carrabba in 2002 and joined them for their very solid sophomore effort How to Start a Fire the next year. Gleason had and still has a phenomenal voice that probably could have catapulted the band to that upper echelon of emo stardom bands like Taking Back Sunday and Saves the Day were reaching around the time, but they never quite got there, perhaps in part due to the mercurial nature of their frontman status (Gleason left the band about a year after HtSaF’s release). This Boston show was part of a short three-date east coast “tour” where the band wasn’t necessarily playing the album in full, instead playing a standard set, but naturally leaning heaviest on Gleason’s album with them (and getting pretty close to playing the whole thing in random order anyway).

I missed opener Kids, and arrived as Dryjacket were kicking into their set. The latter are a Hopeless Records band out of Marlton, New Jersey, playing a pretty typical style of modern melodic emo revival. They nail lots of the expected hallmarks, from noodly guitar-picking to plaintive vocals. They were by no means awful, performing rather tightly in fact, but nothing about them struck me as particularly engaging, with not much that nudges them above the glut of bands presently playing music like this. The small audience was polite and receptive to them, though may have been harboring similar thoughts.

At exactly 10:30, the theme to Twin Peaks played over the PA to usher in the band. I’m surprised more people didn’t recognize it instantly as this audience was predominantly people in their late 20s and 30s. I overheard a couple people commenting how it sounded like a video game soundtrack. Two of the members walked on stage and started with a slow one, the How to Start a Fire closer “Aurora Borealis (In Long Form)”, with the rest coming on after a minute or two. It may have been a truncated version, or was just so tranquil that it felt way shorter than its 4:50 running time. They then kicked it into high gear with HtSaF's opening title track, and it was a high-energy dynamic change that thrilled a small patch of the audience up front, who joined Gleason at the edge of the stage to sing along. That set the tone for the rest of the show.

There were probably between 70 and 100 people in a venue that could comfortably hold a few hundred more, and despite the space it felt like a warm, intimate show, with no barricade and the band lightheartedly bantering between songs while keeping the performances passionate yet loose. There were lots of dad jokes (like how every song was about being a dad, according to Gleason) and bassist Chad Neptune blowing up his spot by mentioning how bloated Gleason felt from a pre-show burrito. Neptune also bragged about the wild fact that drummer Steve Kleisath holds the Guinness world record for points scored in a Mario Bros. game (a whopping 5 million-plus). Gleason also gave a very heartfelt speech about singer Jon Bunch, who was his replacement towards the end of FSF’s original run, before playing “Light Up Ahead” (they played another song or two off Hide Nothing as well), recounting a story about how he met him after a Sense Field set when he was 15. He was an engaging frontman himself, putting it all out there as he even fell to the stage and knocked over the mic stand on separate occasions while his soaring vocals remained precise and anguished, and sometimes ramped up to meet the aggression of the studio recordings. He mentioned how much of an honor it was to play songs off The Moon Is Down, like his favorite FSF song of the same name. It was a fun and concise set with no unnecessary extravagances or excessive flair, even ending on an energetic note with standout and HtStaF lead single “The Sound”.

Set list (10:30-11:33):

  1. Aurora Borealis (In Long Form)

  2. How to Start a Fire

  3. The Deep


  4. Against My Better Judgment

  5. Hide Nothing


  6. I Am


  7. On Legendary


  8. A New Desert Life

  9. Bleed


  10. A Blank Page Empire


  11. Light Up Ahead

  12. Pride War


  13. The Moon Is Down


  14. The Sound