LIVE REVIEW: Building the State, Dark Room 

Sun. Oct. 5
The Village Tavern

A small crowd took in a huge-sounding show at the Tavern on Sunday evening. Unlisted on the bill, opening act Dark Room — a well-equipped quartet from Winona Lake, Ind. — was already on stage by 10 p.m. Their instrumentation was shifted from the rock setup to something a bit more orchestral, with lead singer/guitarist Corey Drake on Rhodes piano, bassist Luke Humberd on xylophone, guitarist Kyle Steury on trumpet. Headphones-wearing drummer Lucas Huffman twiddled with his digital sample board between and during songs while the band soared through an impressive set of syncopated, pulsating, U2-ish swirl-rock. Drake's breathy and high-toned delivery reminded me of other Drake vocalists.

Touring in support of a new EP called Faces in the Architecture, Gainesville, Fla.-based band Building the State wasted little time setting up and kicking off a guitar effects-laden set of mostly-instrumental tunes — many of which meandered from one "movement" to another, switching time signatures with each step. With "proggy" or "mathy" indie-rock bands like BTS, the real clincher during live performances is seamless motion; how effectively they transition from a rhythmic pattern or dynamic to another. These guys did it well. Working from a stack of delay, chorus, and echo pedals, singer/guitarist Justin Tzuanos and guitarist Peter Wadsworth (the one member actually based in Brooklyn) managed to channel The Edge, David Gilmour, Robert Fripp, and Stanley Jordan (although, Wadsworth claimed he'd never heard of the fret-tapping jazz guitarist after the show).

Drummer Roger Cohen's tight snare/kick work propelled the set. Somehow, he managed to play in perfect time with the oscillating delay and guitar effects as well — not an easy feat on stage. Their atmospheric wall-of-guitar chimed over the shifting rhythms. I almost ran out of fingers trying to count the patterns of one song (from 9/4 to 5/8 to 7/8 and back). Math-rock, indeed. (, —T. Ballard Lesemann



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