Before I delve into a glowing review about one of the best live bands I have seen this year, let me begin with a reminder about concert etiquette. If you are not there to see the particular band currently on stage, and have no interest in experiencing a new artist that you might dig, please wander to the back of the venue or to the bar. If you feel like having a drunken discussion with your fellow meatheads about who you banged last night, please take it back to the bar. If for some reason you feel the need to wear an early-nineties ska hat to the show, please be mindful of those standing behind you.
On to Innaway, who recently released their self-titled album on Some Records. When I typically see a five-piece band take the stage, I usually expect to hear a band that really only needs four members. Do you really need that third guitarist? In the case of Innaway, every member of the ensemble is vital to the performance. During songs such as “Threathawk”, Jim Schwartz, Barry Fader and Gabe Palmer’s guitar work all mesh together to create a mesmerizing patchwork of psychedelic prog-rock. The five members of this band work together to make melodic sonic textures that can turn from soothing to aggressive in no time flat.
Innaway showed off this bipolar musical style during their performance of “The Strings Of North Egg”. The song started off simple enough, with floating guitars, keys, and melodic vocals setting the stage for a tune fans of Air could chill out to. Innaway then pulls a complete 180 and cranks out some dark Zeppelin riffs to end the song. It may sound drastic, but their use of such extreme stylistic dynamics kept me entertained throughout their entire set.
The finest music moments happened during “Rise”, which again showed off the power and control this talented five-piece band has. Huge prog guitars launch the song off, but then pull back for a nearly acoustic passage, showcasing delicate vocals over gentle guitars and keys. By this point you think you have the song figured out, but you will be wrong. “Rise” then explodes in a cataclysmic shift of a three-guitar assault that nearly made the doors of Mercury Lounge fly off their hinges.
Innaway is hitting the road with the Brian Jonestown Massacre starting on August 1 in NYC. If you have an inkling of love for Pink Floyd, Tortoise, Air and Radiohead, do not miss out on an opportunity to catch Innaway live.
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