Live Review – Maserati (w/ Joy Wants Eternity) @ Sunset Tavern — Seattle, WA 3/1/13

Picture this. You’re going to a concert to see a band play who you’ve been listening to for a while. You’re familiar with most of their work and/or maybe you’ve caught a few of their live videos on youtube. So prior to the concert you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect, right? That’s generally the case with most bands I see perform, post-rock especially so. Going into last Friday night’s Maserati show, I had no clue what to expect..and I certainly did expect the powerhouse performance the band put on for nearly 90 minutes.

On Friday Night Maserati, Joy Wants Eternity and local supporting band The Fruiting Bodies got together to play at The Sunset Tavern, nestled in the heart of old Ballard in Seattle. It’s a far cry from most venues in town. At the top of the list you’ve got concert halls like The Paramount, The Showbox and The Moore, each with their own distinct features and history, excellent acoustics and just all around great venues to catch a show. In the second tier you’ve got venues like Neumos, The Crocodile and even still El Corazon is a halfway decent place to see a cheap show. I expected this show to be at one of those second tier places and I certainly never expected a band like Maserati to be playing at nothing more than a tavern with a stage too small to properly accommodate a 5-piece band. However, once Maserati hit the stage none of it seemed to matter and for the next 80 or so minutes the band delivered one of the most energetic and impressive performances I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.

The most peculiar thing about Maserati’s performance was how their songs, particularly their newer material off of ‘VII‘ translates live. While on the albums drums aren’t the focal point of any particular song, Maserati’s live show thrives off the energy of drummer Mike Albanese. Mike overpowers the kit at the time and completely steals the show with relentless speed and aggressive fills. Meanwhile guitarists Coley Dennis and Matt Cherry stand opposite of one another one each side of the stage, impressively trading riffs throughout the band’s songs. While I’m sure its anything but the case, I felt a certain aura of one upsmanship in the air as each flawlessly nailed their leading segments in sort of an “anything you can do I can do better” way. It’s really impressive stuff the way these guys are able to replicate their technical songs to near perfection.

While The Fruiting Bodies and Joy Wants Eternity both performed well and got the crowd into their sets, Maserati really wooed the crowd and you could just tell people’s ears had really perked up as they took notice. Just a couple of songs into the set people in the front were dancing and moving the way you might expect to see people dance in a club scene of a mid 1980’s film. I walked away from this concert with a new found respect for Maserati. Their energy and enthusiasm towards the music they produce only further drives my love and respect for this genre of music that much deeper. – IamHop