Concert Review: Animals As Leaders, December 7, The Phoenix

Toronto – Animals As Leaders are one of those bands whose name I had seen, but I had never really paid them any mind.  That changed this past March when I happened to randomly stumble upon a show by bandleader Tosin Abasi’s other band T.R.A.M. at SXSW.  They played an intriguing mix of metal and jazz fusion that even featured a flute on one tune.  I enjoyed their set, but didn’t write about it at the time, mostly because I wasn’t really sure what to make of it.  After that show, I was curious to see what Abasi’s main band was all about.  And they were also pretty impressive – Abasi can shred, that’s for sure.   

Bands on the heavier end of the spectrum generally tend to inspire two kinds of fans – those that go totally crazy with the moshing, stagediving, and other such behaviour and those who stand there with their arms folded watching the band intently and perhaps noding approvingly.  With Abasi’s virtuosity and status as something of a guitar hero (sample t-shirt at the merch table: a Shepard Fairey-esque pic of Abasi with the caption “Tobama”), I’d expected more of the latter, but was surprised to see that this crowd was the former, and very much so.  There was lots of cheering, moshing, stagediving, and even impromptu bursts of handclapping.  The band seemed pretty surprised at this too.  Totally stoked, but surprised.  I get the feeling they don’t always see crowds quite that enthusiastic and they were totally digging it.  Keep in mind the fact that these guys were one of the opening acts on the bill too.  You don’t generally see that level of energy for the openers.  As the band ended their set, the drummer sprung up from behind his kit and launched himself into the crowd.  When the crowd actually inspires the band to crowdsurf, you know it’s a good show.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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