Saturday night was a double kick-off night. First of all, it was the first show in the newly-minted Templars venue, just off of exit 13 on 28 N. More importantly, it was the official release party of 9 Stitch Method’s Jaywalking Somnambulist album.
This was probably one of the most fun shows I’ve gotten to see this year. All of the bands were on point and sounded great and everyone was there to have a great time.
I think the first thing that struck me when 9SM took the stage was that they were a 2-piece band that does things right. The backing tracks they use are mixed and mastered well and especially for use in a live setting.
Often, backing tracks used in a live setting are either too muddy or too tinny and the music, the feel and the emotion behind the songs are lost because of it. That was not the case. These tracks were so incredibly well done, that when I turned away I forgot there wasn’t a full band on stage.
Smaller venues tend to limit the amount of space bands can utilize while performing, but a great band will figure out how to make the most of that limited space without sacrificing the energy level of the show. 9 Stitch Method is such a band.
Lead vocalist Patrick McElravy used every inch of the stage, the stairs leading up to the stage and a fair bit of the floor space around the stage. There seemed to be boundless energy flowing throughout the space.
9SM started their set with a medley of “Bridge” and “(Sub)conscious Thoughts”. Bridge clocks in a little under a minute, but there was so much packed in that minute, I’d almost wished it was a recording so I could go back and listen a few more times.
The guitars were cleaner than I’d normally expect for a metal, but they cut nicely through the the mix. Constant machine-gun double kicks forced the song to drive forward. Guitar riffs that seem like they should be competing with each other fit nicely into the overall tune, constructing well-orchestrated counterpoint.
From Bridge, the duo seamlessly slipped into “(Sub)conscious Thoughts”. Death growls and clean vocals played against each other, creating a dark and twisted path through the deep and lush musical landscape.
This opening medley set the tone for the rest of the show. It was going to be a highly emotional, exceedingly energetic, very aggressive set. And it was extremely satisfying to be part of.
“Sleep” lulled the listeners into a false sense of things maybe slowing down a bit. And they did. For the first couple of bars. Although compositionally less complex than the opening songs, it made no less of an impact.
For some reason, this song reminded me of Therion, which is never a a bad thing. Actually, it’s a really good thing. Once again, this was like listening to a landscape where Patrick’s vocals cut a swath through the undergrowth of Josh Colich’s interwoven guitar rhythms.
Next the dynamic duo created another medley from “Jars” and “JD”. Am I allowed to call a metal tune catchy? Because “Jars” is definitely catchy. I feel like I’m breaking some kind of law by saying that, but that groove was just completely infectious.
As a matter of fact, the song has been running through my head since the show.
“JD” was almost like a down tempo trance tune, with all of the atmosphere created by guitar. If the first few songs were like navigating through a deep, dark landscape, “JD” was where you get lost in the jungle and couldn’t find your way out.
“Ceiling” returned to the complex compositional elements of the first couple of songs. The twist this time was the near-psychedelic keyboards and sound effects.
Adding yet another layer of contrast in the sonic landscape that 9SM so artfully creates, the keyboards served as the disorientating dizziness playing against the base laid by the the guitars, drums and bass.
Judging by the audience reactions, this was a fan favorite and rightly so.
“The Fear is What Keeps Us Here” was the last tune of the night and the band could not have picked a better song to end on. This song was a hard-driving anthem that cranked the proverbial knob to 11.
The bridge sounded to me like what a Gregorian choir would sound like if they were chanting over a metal tune. Again, not a bad thing.
Once again, I find myself using the word “catchy”, but it’s true. This song also wormed it’s way into my ear and wouldn’t leave.
The show ended with a very exhausted Patrick collapsing on the floor for a well-deserved rest.
If my eyes had been closed for the entire set, I would have never known I was listening to a two-piece band. The energy, emotion, and controlled aggression that these two put into their craft makes for an extremely memorable show and one that I can’t wait to experience again.
East Koast Kraziez
The Harbor Divide
9 Stitch Method
9SM Set List:
The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here
Images of 9 Stitch Method Release by Reina Peli