August 21, 2009
BY JASON SONGE
With new stickers and t-shirts in hand and the band's first full length, "I'd Rather be a Lightning Rod Than a Seismograph," about to arrive on their doorstep, I Octopus rolled into The Circle Bar Friday night for a 65 minute set.
The last concert review I wrote about the local instrumental rock trio was for a Twiropa show back in 2005, when former Rotary Downser and current A Living Soundtracker Matt Aguiliz was on drums. They've improved a great deal since then and even since the last time I saw them proper, about six months ago.
For that show I remember them leaving room for improvisation, which led to noise tirades that sometimes didn't flesh out. That's not to say it wasn't a great concert back then. It was, as they showed off the same sense of adventure and melody they possess today. But, now, their songs seem to be more streamlined, more purposeful, more direct. When the noise jams hit, they're within a structure, within a pre-set field of dynamics.
The group's songwriting has improved, and as a result, their nuance has deepened. There might be three or four mood changes in one song. They rock out, take the volume down, rock out, then take the volume down for half as long, unexpectedly kicking ass(who's writing this, my long lost trucker twin?). In other words, their diversions are smart and welcomed.
Instrumental music isn't the easiest thing to sell, but with their songcraft at such a level, I'm excited to see what kind of friends I, Octopus can make on their upcoming first tour.