TVD Live: Kasabian at the 9:30 Club, 9/28

I don’t know exactly what sonic, ear-killing effect Serge Pizzorno uses on his guitar rig, but I can definitely tell you that when Kasabian played the 9:30 Club back in 2012, that show in particular did more to effect my hearing, or lack thereof, then any other show to date. For last Sunday’s appearance, history repeated itself as the English electro rockers took the stage once more for an unbelievably loud, yet scaled down, setup.

I’ve seen some really loud shows in my days and I have stood in front of Marshall Amps for years as a player. I’ve heard sounds that could potentially tear down buildings and peel paint right off the walls. A short list of the loudest bands I’ve experienced would have to include Swervedriver, Sonic Youth, and of course Dinosaur Jr. Going way back, even DC’s own Kerosene 454 played Mesa Boogie amps that were always cranked all the way up at every show. Those guys were great players and loud as hell!

Kasabian was in fact the band that did it—I’m convinced that they put the occasional ringing in my ears. It’s something about their low to high frequencies, the swells in the mid range, and the repetitive low signals through the mix. That show in 2012 scared me, and here I was going back for more.

When Kasabian took the stage they were greeted by a packed and eager crowd. The charged audience literally got loose and seemingly couldn’t quench their dancing fix as crowds flailed and jumped up-and-down in unison well into the night. At the show’s end, some attendees were clearly exhausted from the constant celebrations and some were even more enthusiastic as they were exiting the club. Whichever the case, everyone left the venue still wanting more from one of England’s most beloved current acts.

It’s been two years since Kasabian’s last performance and other than the band playing some of the same classic songs, the two performances couldn’t have  contrasted more. Touring to promote their newest release 48:13, it seems the band has scaled-back on their road setup for this tour and is getting back to their smaller, more humble roots for their current US tour dates.

While the 2012 tour had a backline that made for a little fuller stage setup, the band threw enough stage light around that even a spandex clad 1984 version of David Lee Roth would have been proud. In a nutshell, their appearance on Sunday was heavily scaled down with no-frills, little-to- low stage lighting at the front of the show, and a series of smaller combo amps that sat plainly on the stage. The only noticeable accessory, and the focal point of the night was the banner that hung behind them  which displayed “48:13.”

Another noticeable difference was that this time around Kasabian seemed a little more reserved with noticeably less crowd interaction from the band, particularly from Sergio Pizzorno, who played his guitar parts and mostly stayed on his side of the stage in front of his amp. Lead vocalist Tom Meighan did his part however to play up to the crowd and get the audience involved. Tom was very humble, thanking the crowd repeatedly as he peered through his Willy Wonka style, dark sunglasses sporting his classic smile.

While the guys may have been a little more laid back in appearance, Kasabian still sounded amazing and really killed it. Playing a mix of classic tunes and new material, the DC crowd indulged and sang along to some of their catchy favorites…da naah da nah naah nah naah. They even threw in the Fatboy Slim cover, “Praise You” into their encore.

At times the whole club seemed to explode in raised hands and screams of song requests from the crowd. In fact, it wasn’t until the encore that I noticed just how crazy the scene in front of the stage had been. During their performance of “Get Loose,” the walls of the place seemed to sway with the rocking audience. Kasabian gave DC another truly fun night.

The surprise of the night was Japan’s Bo Ningen, who had the honor of being the only opening act. Not sitting still for even a second with their crazy hand motions and constant body convultions, Bo Ningen powered through their metal inspired set giving new meaning to the term loud, fast—and repeat.

 BO NINGEN

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