I don't go to many shows anymore. It's not that I don't enjoy seeing live bands, it's just that my priorities have changed as I've aged. Whereas back in my college years I would happily pile into a car with friends and attend just about any show happening within fifty miles, nowadays I'd rather spend my Friday nights sitting in front of the television watching Battlestar Galactica DVDs with a mug of Stash Moroccan Mint Green Tea in my hand. Not exactly the most exciting way to spend a Friday night, I know, but for me it's entirely satisfying. Last Thursday, however, I was motivated to leave the comforts of my home to do something I never thought I'd be able to do--see Cynic live.
I'm a HUGE Cynic fan, ask any of the Metal Inquisition Staffers. I've been listening to Focus and the '91 demo religiously for years. I'm not ashamed to say that when I heard that Cynic was re-forming I shrieked with joy like a teenage girl that's just been offered a deflowering by Robert Pattison. I was a little apprehensive when I heard that they were recording a new album and more than ready to throw myself on a sword if said album sucked and ended up ruining their legacy. Shockingly enough, Traced in Air turned out to be quite possibly the greatest reunion album in the history of music. Against all the odds, Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone (What the fuck does Jason Gobel have going on that he's too good to re-join the band?) managed to make an album that sounds exactly like what I imagine Cynic would sound like in 2009 if they had never broken up. They've dialed down the death metal and turned up the prog and fusion influences, but it still sounds like Cynic. There's still sweet riffs, soaring guitar solos, amazing drumming, and vocoder. So when I heard that they'd be playing Irving Plaza, which is a mere twenty minute train ride from my apartment, I immediately purchased a ticket.
I managed to time my departure perfectly as I arrived just as Cynic was preparing to play so I didn't have to sit through the shitty opening band, The Faceless, who I've never seen nor heard, but I'm sure sucks. I quickly ascended to the balcony and staked out a spot along the railing to the left of the stage. The place was PACKED. The show was completely sold out. As I looked around I couldn't help but notice the motley crowd. Lots of virgins, some legit bangers, meatheads, Hot Topic shoppers, and quite a few norms. The dude standing behind me was wearing a leather motorcycle jacket with a denim vest over it proudly displaying a Metallica patch on his front breast pocket and he kept making fun of Cynic. Motherfucker. Anyway, from the second Cynic hit the stage they killed it. They looked and sounded great. They played behind a huge banner with the band logo and these standees with the Traced in Air cover art. It was totally surreal. I lost my shit when they started playing "Veil of Maya." Watching Sean Reinert play is any drum nerd's wet dream and Paul Masvidal wailed his ass off. The scab bass player was kinda hard to watch and the scab guitarist was relegated to playing in the shadows. They played a bunch of new songs, which all sounded awesome, and Paul gave a little speech about how the band had come full circle by playing this show because the last show Cynic played before breaking up in '94 was in New York. They also played "Celestial Voyage" and "I'm But A Wave To." I'm still bummed they didn't play "Uroboric Forms" and the dude in front of me kept shouting "Pleading for Preservation," which I knew wasn't going to happen, but at least they did play "How Could I." The last solo in that song is probably my all time favorite and it never fails to move me (no homo). They only played for about a half hour, but I'm not about to complain because any live Cynic is better than no live Cynic.
To my surprise quite a few people cleared out once Cynic's set was over. I, on the other hand and against my better judgement, decided to stay and watch some of Meshuggah's set. I really liked Meshuggah in high school, but once I grew out of liking shitty music I stopped listening to them. I really just wanted to hear "Future Breed Machine" which is the only Meshuggah song I know and admit to liking. Let me tell you, people REALLY like Meshuggah. The second they started playing the entire place went fucking nuts. I haven't seen that many retards moshing since E-Town Concrete's "farewell" show. Needless to say, I couldn't take much of those chodes so I decided to bounce after a couple songs. I should also mention that during Meshuggah's set I constantly kept looking over at this really hot girl standing across from me that looked like Amy Winehouse. She was rave dancing throughout their entire set. Before leaving I took a piss and there was a can of Budweiser and a turd floating in the toilet. I'm pretty sure I saw Lord Ezec AKA Danny Diablo enter the restroom as I was leaving.