IEHAC – The Amaranthine Voyage
Amaranthine (adj.): unfading; everlasting.
IEHAC is a local band whose 5 members are no newcomers to the music scene. I shall not go about introducing them since you can read all about them here: ‘This band is schizo’ (Today, 20th June 2011) Instead, I’m just going to rave a little about the gig itself. Just be warned. ‘A little’ might be an understatement.
Right. Where do I begin? Quirky pirate-themed stage set up/matching shirts/origami pirate ships on every single seat/amazing visuals projected on the screen aside, the music was amazing. I would describe it as apocalyptical prog/post-rock. If Russian Circles (whom IEHAC opened for last September) and Dream Theater had a bastard child, it would be named In Each Hand A Cutlass. Mad guitar shredding+harmonies by Roland and Daniel, hard-hitting drumming (Jordan, your snare sound is really THE SEX), the bass played in all ways possible by Nelson, plenty of spine-tingling bells and strings from Amanda (who really deserves the title of ‘Dark Mistress’), and don’t forget the programmed instrumental introductions done single-handedly by Roland, who also produced the album. Wait, where was I?
Stage left to right: Amanda Ling, Daniel Sassoon, Jordan Cheng, Nelson Tan, Roland Lim.
Cut my iPhone some slack and view the pre-gig shots by Leonard Soosay.
So anyway. Back to the gig proper. Amaranthine was a very apt description for it. I’m not just referring to how the sold out crowd stayed in their seats shouting ‘encore’ after the band had done their curtain call and left the stage, and Daniel very sheepishly running back out to say that they really had no more songs to play. Rather, during the whole one hour performance, song after song, the audience was captivated by the sound coming from the amps and speakers (it was quite unfortunate that I was sitting slightly to the left and didn’t get a balanced sound, but it was still pretty damn awesome). I spotted two uncles sitting in the front row, their head-banging getting more intense as the show progressed. My own feet were constanting tapping along to the music, and I hope to death that my own head-banging didn’t annoy the people sitting behind me.
There’s something to be said about IEHAC’s music when you don’t ever get sick of it and instead, don’t want it to end. When they performed at the Esplanade Waterfront stage last year on 26-28th November, Q and I only intended to go for the 27th Nov set but we ended up heading back on 28th November too cos we wanted to hear everything again. Truth be told, they were much tighter in their playing then. Their breaks and endings this time round were a little messy, but their intensity and virtuosity made up for it, I guess. I think my only real gripe about the show is that the venue was too. damn. small. These guys need a huge stage for their huge sound, kthx.
Anyway, if you missed out on tickets for the show or you didn’t intend to go (shame on you!), you should go grab a copy of their album, A Universe Made Of Strings, from the Esplanade Shop or BooksActually. You won’t regret it. Just remember to set playback to ‘repeat’.
[edit: album review will be up when i get my CD back from my brother to take photos of. you gotta see the packaging, plus it’s autographed and i bet it’ll be super valuable in time to come ;) ]