|Event:||Russian Circles + Cloakroom|
|Venue:||The Cage Theatre, Livorno, Italy|
Russian Circles + Cloakroom
With the release of "Guidance" in the summer of 2016, Russian Circles have brought a career longer than a decade to a very successful stage. It was about time for the Chicago-based trio to reap what they had sown around the globe, and naturally Aristocrazia Webzine couldn't miss out on the Italian leg of their tour.
Over the last year or so Aristocrazia Webzine has reached the Tuscan region, specifically the city of Pisa, which unfortunately is not exactly a hot spot for live shows in terms of metal and similar stuff in Italy. Usually, international bands coming to Tuscany for their tours would probably choose the Florence-Prato area, which in turn suffers because of its position halfway between Bologna (where I had actually last had the chance to see a live show, with Antimatter) and Rome. Also because of these reasons, I really had to attend this very rare event taking place near the Tuscan coast.
Just a few words about the venue: The Cage Theatre is a very interesting place that went through lots of changes and resurrections, before finding its current form during 2011, inside the historical Mascagni Theatre in the outskirts of Livorno. This location has been hosting very interesting bands (such as Boris in late 2016) that otherwise wouldn't be able find a suitable place in the area. We were lucky enough to park very close to the entrance and reach the hall right on time for the (very punctual) beginning of Cloakroom's performance at 10 o'clock.
Before reading Cloakroom's name in support of Russian Circles, I did not know the trio hailing from Northwestern Indiana. A curious fact about them is that they introduce themselves as «three factory workers from the Region» (the nickname for the Chicago metro area) on their Bandcamp page, and this helps remind us once more that most of the bands we love on here usually have very humble backgrounds.
This being said, the three were here on their first ever European tour, and after a few shows they really seemed to own the stage pretty well. Cloakroom played their blend of rock, shoegaze, blues, stoner — all influenced by a Nineties atmosphere — and entertained the audience successfully for about forty-five minutes. It was also nice to see a band that uses vocals opening for an entirely instrumental project. During the show, the trio also played "Big World", the single off their upcoming album released via Relapse Records.
The stage is then very efficiently set up for the following performance, as the main event has us wait for a while at first. At this point, my mind goes back to the huge amount of post-rock and post-metal bands I had seen while living in Shanghai, and it had actually been quite a while since the last time I saw a headlining show by one of the main acts of this specific scene. A few minutes later, as the hall got a bit more crowded, and here came Russian Circles welcomed by a loud applause, as expected things got started with the atmospheric "Asa", the opening track from "Guidance".
The massive "Vorel" followed up straight after, and here we could especially feel the way Brian Cook's bass and Dave Turncrantz's drumset went on tanklike, rolling over the first few rows of the audience. After years of playing together all around the globe, Russian Circles have clearly found great chemistry and they work very well together, knowing when to leave some room to Mike Sullivan's guitar, and when it is time to kick some serious (post-)metal ass. After the first part of the show mainly focusing on their latest album (also with a very nice rendition of "Afrika"), the three went on by playing a couple of classics such as "1777" and "Harper Lewis", before closing it all with the pounding "Youngblood" in the encore.
As the crowd started leaving the venue, we realize the demographics of the audience was slowly changing as well (as there was a dance night starting in a while in the same place). However, I can say I am glad to have finally found a place not too far from home where interesting projects can perform, also for people living not too close to the areas usually not covered by big international tours. We can now say that Tuscany has officially entered Aristocrazia Webzine's radar, so be ready to discover more about this region in the future.
All photos were kindly taken by Yang Yanhui, here at her first metal related show.