By Ana Krunic
April 2, 2018
VANCOUVER – As the last few notes of Can’s ‘Yoo Doo Right’ rang out over the speakers in the Biltmore Cabaret, the house lights faded over the sold-out venue. The few people that gave up their spots after King Woman’s opening set re-entered the fray wherever they could. Rarely is a metal band’s live show treated with such reverence, but such was the atmosphere in the room as Russian Circles stepped onto the stage and opened with ‘Station’.
Mostly backlit throughout their set, keeping most of the focus on the music and the thick, opaque ambiance they sustained all night. They dove right into ‘Geneva’, Brian Cook’s bone-breaking bassline cutting through guitarist Mike Sullivan’s ethereal loops. Centre-stage was drummer Dave Turncrantz, as were his frenetic patterns – all three members share the musical spotlight equally, which is definitely part of their magical proggy formula.
They moved from the triumphant sounding ‘Afrika’ straight into moody ‘Harper Lewis’, Sullivan’s gentle swells and softly plucked riffs somehow still feeling unbearably massive. The mood flowed from the joyful ‘Ethel’, into ‘Vorel’ from their new album Guidance. When they kicked into ‘Deficit’ it seemed like a moment a lot of fans were waiting for, even though they had been playing for nearly 90 minutes.
Russian Circles are masters of building and releasing tension in the most satisfying way possible. Building on riffs and letting them simmer for long minutes before launching into headbanging heaviness. Vancouver will be awaiting their return with bated breath.