The doors opened twenty minutes late last Friday as an eager line-up formed outside the Biltmore Cabaret. Russian Circles fans clearly made up the majority of those in attendance, but an impressive number of giddy and devoted And So I Watch You From Afar fans made their presence known. We happily filed in around 8:30 p.m., chilled from the rain, and scrambled to secure a prime spot in one of the famed venue’s beautiful booths.
Comprised of Rory Friers (guitar), Johnny Adger (bass) and Chris Wee (drums), Belfast’s ASIWYFA hit the stage at 10:15 p.m. and quickly electrified the room with their exuberant, frantic rock. Sweat and smiles quickly spread throughout the crowd as the three-piece jumped back and forth between trippy ambient bits and hard-driving, balls-out riffs, all of which exude an undeniably infectious positivity. While focusing largely on tunes from 2011’s Gangs (such as the thumping “Think:Breathe:Destroy” and the spacey, 10-minute epic “Homes – … Samara to Belfast”), the set still provided a comprehensive sweep of their back catalogue, including pieces from 2010’s Letters EP (“S Is For Salamander”) and their eponymous 2009 effort (the huge “Set Guitars to Kill”, “The Voiceless”).
ASIWYFA set the bar very high with a powerful, engaging performance that featured a lot of genuine crowd interaction and appreciation, and prompted some spirited yelping, howling, and not to mention surfing from the crowd.
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