--plus rare cover
The Hype: After acquiring a new record label and a few new band mates, the Appleseed Cast went on tour last year to promote their seventh album, Sagarmatha. Now the band is touring again, but this time they're playing both volumes of Low Level Owl, their landmark 2001 album. How exactly the Appleseed Cast would recreate their double record--heavily engineered with ambient sound, enveloping synthesizers, and multilayered guitar--remained to be seen. Whether or not recent addition John Momberg could measure up to previous drummer Josh Baruth, whose playing shined on the studio recordings of Low Level Owl, would be crucial.
The Show: Though normally a quartet, the Appleseed Cast were joined by a keyboard player when they started their set at the Glass House. On "The Waking of Pertelotte," the keyboardist created a layer of ambient music while frontman Christopher Crisci and guitarist Aaron Pillar chimed in with soft guitar plucking. When the instrumental segued into "On Reflection," Crisci opted not to start singing until toward the end of the song. "That outstretched hand you had to shake," he intoned, almost shouting, "will sell you out." The singer's voice, alternating between furious shouts and gentle whispers, has always been a key component of the Appleseed Cast's sound, forceful yet often subdued by the music.
On "Doors Lead to Questions," drummer Momberg had the opportunity to showcase his playing, which clearly matched the impressive, intricate drum work on the original recordings. Playing off of Momberg, bassist Nate Whitman also proved himself a worthy successor to Marc Young, who played bass on
Appleseed Cast front man Christopher Crisci
The band often transitioned seamlessly from one song to the next, though the audience applauded at the end of each song, aware of when one song ended and another began. Toward the end of the instrumental epic "View of a Burning City," Appleseed Cast took a short break before returning to finish the song, which joins Volume 1 of Low Level Owl and Volume 2.
When the band finished "Confession," it was unclear if there would be an encore. After all, the band had been performing for almost two hours, playing every song on both volumes of Low Level Owl. Soon after they left the stage, Pillar returned and informed the audience that their last song would be a cover, a rare thing for the Appleseed Cast. Crisci and the others returned and the band finished their set with a rendition of "The Speeding Train," a song by 90s indie rock band the Van Pelt.
Fullerton band Set to Sea and Dreamend opened.
The Crowd: The Glass House wasn't filled to capacity during the show, but the audience was large enough for the Appleseed Cast to feel visibly welcomed. Fans of the band were a mellow group compared to the crowds at some Glass House shows. In terms of age, attendees ranged from middle-aged adults to kids who weren't even in middle school when Low Level Owl came out.
Overheard: "Go pee!" shouted a fan at Aaron Pillar, when the guitarist announced that the Appleseed Cast would be taking a quick bathroom break after playing Low Level Owl Volume 1.
Appleseed Cast Setlist:
1. The Waking of Pertelotte
2. On Reflection
3. Blind Man's Arrow
4. Flowers Falling from Dying Hands
6. Doors Lead to Questions
7. Steps And Numbers
9. Bird of Paradise
10. Mile Marker
12. A Tree for Trials
14. View of a Burning City
16. A Place in Line
17. Shaking Hands
18. Rooms and Gardens
19. Ring Out the Warning Bell
20. Sunset Drama King
21. The Last in a Line
23. The Argument
26. The Speeding Train (Cover)