Between the Buried and Me’s Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium Makes the Impossible Seem Possible
I am no stranger to the awesome might of Between the Buried and Me. Back when I first started writing for MetalNuhUh, as the scant old school among you may remember, I endured a not-so-sexy injury bike accident which resulted in a broken shoulder, and it was shortly after said injury that I first got to witness the glory of a BTBAM show, on Halloween no less. This was back in the Colors days (probably still my favorite offering from the band), and I’ll be damned if the music — and a handful of whiskeys, as well as the cute flirty smile of the bartender — didn’t make me wanna throw caution to the wind and fight my way through the pit with a broken shoulder.
Thankfully I restrained myself – hard to find the motivation when some poor bastard was carried out of said pit with a protruding ankle bone sticking out of his leg – but the real lesson to take away here is that this is a band with the ability to conjure up such a wicked level of excitement with a stupendous live performance…
Several years and a couple noodley records later, my perception of BTBAM’s current music had become slightly underwhelmed, but catching the band earlier this year on tour with Intronaut and Deafheaven reminded me just how sickly tight the playing is. And this is a similar feeling I get when watching new Blu-ray DVD release Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium; to see these dudes crank it out live reminds me every time where the magic lies.
Sure, it’s easy to dismiss some of the tunes as a bit too proggy, ostentatious, melodramatic even — there are several decidedly clowny video game/carnival/musical theater-inspired moments (which actually makes quite a bit of sense since the group recently alluded that it will be embarking on a journey to create a rock opera), but these guys are such gifted individual musicians that truly elevate to a whole other level together that no matter how you may feel about any of their material, the impression they leave will drop your jaw every time.
In watching Live at the Fidelitorium, as seeing the band live, it’s almost impossible not to fawn over BTBAM’s tightness. There are several moments that sound pretty impossible, but wait a second—I just saw five humans make that happen… Drummer Blake Richardson is a beast who straddles the magnificent line between heavy hitting and ripping jazzy groove chops, the guitarists and bassist display jaw-dropping dexterity for days, and Tommy Rogers once again astonishes with his pearly singing timbre that somehow escalates into one of the most br00tal growls I’ve ever seen from a little dude.
And this particular performance also features some additional players, special guests including bassist Dan Briggs’ saxomophone cohort from fusion outfit Trioscapes, a tuba player, a string quartet, and a glockenspiel/marimba player. For some reason, these guest performances are presented in such a matter-of-fact way (cutting into their footage all of a sudden when their parts drop in) that it’s hard to get a sense of where these additional players are situated geographically. One assumes that they are somewhere in the same studio as Tommy and the boyz, but from a directorial/editing perspective it’s difficult to tell where they are are situated.
Overall it’s a real pleasure to watch such a simple, barebones performance from such a crazy band — aside from the extras (some additional pretty pointless “behind-the-scenes” footage documenting the studio setup and some interesting interviews explaining the impetus for the DVD), Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium is a mostly no-frills studio recording, meant to show the band in a subdued, intimate setting without the distractions of a crowd or the chaos of a live show. And it’s definitely a treat to see the guys do their thing. Any BTBAM fanboy (or fangirl, but c’mon—let’s get real here) will be psyched to lay eyes on this DVD, but I’d be pretty surprised if anyone new to the band was extremely bowled over by this largely ho-hum studio “concert” setting. At this point in such a killer band’s impressive career that probably doesn’t matter much though; it’s just nice to sit back and watch BTBAM do its thing.