The Contortionist - Clairvoyant North America

The Contortionist - Clairvoyant North America

Silent Planet, Skyharbor, Strawberry Girls

Sat, March 10, 2018

7:00 pm

$18 Advance // $22 Day of Show

This event is all ages

The Contortionist
The Contortionist
Some bands follow established mores. Others may embrace disparate elements, but ultimately fail to break the confines of a particular subgenre context. And then there are bands that strip mine their initial reference points and methodically, organically and bravely create a multiverse of their own, a space where they are the only players.

The Contortionist is such a collective, achieving a coveted level of self-realization, creative execution and sophistication with their adventuresome, cosmos evoking progressive rock.

Sure, there are plenty of credible reasons The Contortionist is often associated with top-tier, critically embraced progressive death metal and mathcore groups like Between The Buried And Me, Animals As Leaders and their upcoming touring partners, Periphery.

It doesn't take a metal detector to discover the elements owing, to some degree, to iconic prog-metal masters like Rush, Cynic, Meshuggah and Dream Theater, either. But on the steady climb from Exoplanet (2010) to Intrinsic (2012) that has crystalized with Language (2014), The Contortionist lay claim to a genre within a genre all their own.

The album serves as the recorded introduction of ex-Last Chance To Reason vocalist Michael Lessard to The Contortionist fold, 'though he's taken the stage live with his new bandmates for well over a year already. Lessard lends his voice to the signature songcraft developed by the original core of the band, guitarist Cameron Maynard and the brotherly duo of Robby and Joey Baca, on guitar and drums, respectively. They're joined by new additions Jordan Eberhardt (bass) and Eric Guenther (keyboards).

"I can say that Mike is the most talented vocalist we've had in the band," Robby declares unequivocally. "We've progressed, which has been a real, organic process. It will be cool for people to hear the kind of songwriting and music we are creating with The Contortionist enhanced by a vocalist who is totally up to par."

Lessard enjoyed the challenge inherent in coming into an established band and discovering their work habits while integrating his own unique style at the same time.

"I came from a progressive metal band. We share odd time signatures and a lot of harmonic modulation. But other than that it's two different animals. We all have the same goals: put out the best music we can make, play lots of shows, have a good time, and challenge ourselves. Our goals were the same, so everything has meshed perfectly."

The Contortionist has attracted a legion of dedicated diehards who obsessively study each tone, each time signature, each transition, each note. The band's fans also include listeners who have no interest in playing or theory at all, but rather, are exhilarated to put on headphones and embark on the journey of the albums.

The Contortionist has taken their patented blend of trippy atmosphere, dense conceptual storytelling and jaw-dropping technical proficiency on the road, joining forces with Deftones, Protest The Hero, Hatebreed, All Shall Perish, The Faceless and more.

"I feel like we successfully combined quality musicianship and interesting music with good songwriting and memorable vocal hooks," Robby says. "The record is pretty catchy overall."

A different producer was drafted each time The Contortionist has made an album. Language was created together at North Carolina's The Basement Recording with producer Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, The Human Abstract, He Is Legend).

As tastemaker blog MetalSucks noted in a post with the headline, "Drop What You're Doing and Listen to the New Contortionist Single Right Now!," Language embraces the spacey adventurous flourishes of Intrinsic, with concise and streamlined certainty.

The album's first single, "Language I," was also the first song the group crafted for the album. The product of much time and deliberation, every moment transitions seamlessly to the next. "Primordial Sound" boasts an emphasis on chord progressions with key signature modulations, and yet it has an accessible rock n' roll vibe and swing.

"Thrive" is a wicked blend of the atmospheric heft of Deftones and The Contortionist's own well established progressive attack.

Ever the thoughtful organizers and creators, The Contortionist mapped out the record from a philosophical standpoint with a compelling theme. The core conceptual vision of Language revolves around balance. Balance between classic songwriting and exhibitionist musicianship; intuitive expression and something more calculated.

"Playing with that idea, throughout all the songs, there is also a story woven in that plays on a few different ideas," Lessard explains. "Even beyond the actual lyrics and what they are literally saying, some of the vocal sounds themselves play a part."

It's a crude summary of an ambitious project - one that has dense layers of sophistication listeners can delve into on their own, while others may be just as happy to nod their head along to the expansive rhythms and accessible song motifs.

The men of The Contortionist remain in awe of prog-titans like Yes, King Crimson and Rush. At the same time, the music they are creating will not only build bridges between different genres and different scenes; it can even send younger fans to dig through their parents' LP collections look for albums by old legends. Language is more than capable of launching The Contortionist to the top of the progressive realm and into the creative stratosphere.
Silent Planet
Silent Planet
Humanity has always had a therapeutic relationship with music. Its ability to shatter man-made walls, create a platform for expression, and illuminate perspectives, has helped ground some and liberate others. We build national anthems out of songs, we immortalize first dances with songs, we cry because of songs. Music—when breathed into with intention, intellect, and purpose—can restore and unify. If you need an example, listen to Silent Planet's newest album, Everything Was Sound.

Silent Planet—comprised of Alex Camarena, Thomas Freckleton, Garrett Russell and Mitchell Stark—writes with purpose. The LA-based band's first album, The Night God Slept, gave voice to characters victimized by systemic oppression. The album used historical settings and the characters within it to magnify their marginalized perspectives, resulting in a musical accomplishment outfitted with quality instrumentals, rich storytelling, and a mouthpiece for the silenced. Their second full-length project bears consistent fruit with their first.

Everything Was Sound, the sophomore release on Solid State Records, is unrelenting in its endeavor to marry its sophisticated metalcore sound with the quiet voice of the alienated. The band's vocalist, Garret Russell, walks us out of their first album's story and straight into this one: a metaphorical prison housing society's misunderstood. The panopticon (both a psychological concept and a physical space) is a many roomed, doorless prison equipped with one, concealed guard. Without the ability to see where the guard is looking, the construct effectively controls each inmates behavior. Russell uses this theory (designed by philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham) to represent the societal imprisonment culture places on the mentally wounded. He walks us through nine rooms, with nine varying prisoners, and tells their stories.

"So many people feel completely alone. This album was inspired by the people I've interacted with who feel like nobody can or wants to understand them. It's very evil to leave people isolated like that," explains Russell. "Our goal is to make people's stories visible, to give words and to give music to things that aren't often talked about." Take the track "Panic Room" for example. "God gave me a vision, in a very mystical way, of my friend who suffers with PTSD. I wanted to tell his story in a way that honored him." Lyrics like, "this is war: A child stumbles from the wreckage holding his salvation - the trigger to cessation - to end us all. I took a life that takes mine, every quiet moment we collapse," paint a panicked and painful perspective, but one that gave healing to the friend who inspired it. From the song "Understanding Love Is Lost," about the wreckage of suicide, to "Nervosa," about the destruction of eating disorders, Silent Planet intentionally introduces us to the struggling souls surrounding us.

And that isn't all they're intentional about. The instrumentals, the lyrics, and the artwork are unanimously designed to, in Russell's words, "challenge intentions, stir the subconscious, and offend assumptions." Whether it be the enneagram of personality that marks the cover art, the inkblots within the liner notes tethered to each archetype, or the cited sources laced within each song, you'll feel what Russell says is a "dance between wholeness and oblivion." The theme weaves itself—through color, word, sound, and design—into all aspects of the project.

Silent Planet's pursuit is perhaps best stated by the two instrumental tracks within the album—"Tout comprendre" and "C'est tout pardoner"—whose combined titles mean "to understand all is the forgive all." In the final song, the prisoners escape bondage and unite, planting a new tree of life in the center of the panopticon. "People have been inhabiting inside of their wounds," explains Russell, "and I believe they can come together to be healed. Step out, see each other, and find freedom in being seen."
Skyharbor
Skyharbor
Progressive Metal band from India, started 2008 as a solo project by guitarist Keshav Dhar under the name 'Hydrodjent'. Renamed to 'Skyharbor' in February 2011 to avoid confusion with the 'djent' music genre.
In 2011 two additional musicians joined: Nikhil Rufus Raj on bass (until 2013) and Anup Sastry on drums (until 2015). Daniel Tompkins from 'TesseracT' and Sunneith Revankar from 'Bhayanak Maut' were featured both as vocalists on the 2012 double disc release 'Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos' on each disc respectively.
Goddess Gagged bassist Krishna Jhaveri replaced Nikhil Rufus Raj in 2013 and in 2015 both singer Daniel Tompkins and drummer Anup Sastry left the band and were replaced by the US-American singer and producer Eric Emery and drummer Aditya Ashok.
Strawberry Girls
Strawberry Girls
In early 2010, Zachary Garren parted ways with his previous band, Dance Gavin Dance. While pursuing his solo project, Good Health, he crossed paths with drummer, Ben Rosett, who was playing with a local band called The Trees at the time, and had played with past hardcore bands such as Brutally Honest and Sarah Larsen. Ben, interested in starting up a new project, randomly asked Zac if he wanted to jam one day, just to see if anything cool would happen... Fortunately for us, everything went perfectly and "Strawberry Girls" was formed in April of 2011. We can't even remember how many times we've been asked "where'd the band name come from?" so we might as well get that out of the way. Go look up the hit song "Christine" by Siouxie and the Banshees. There you go.
Anyway, we jammed every single day for a week and wrote like 5 whole songs. Then we quickly recorded said songs because we were so stoked on them. There's a Live Demo 2011 on bandcamp, go find it.
After seeing the first live performance of Strawberry Girls as a duo with just Ben and Zac... Ben's previous bandmate, Ian Jennings, from local band The Trees (featuring Justin Stie), excitedly wanted to be a part of the new project. Ben and Zac, wanting to take the project to the next level, brought Ian onboard to play bass for Strawberry Girls.
After that, we sat down to try to record a good batch of songs, which ended up turning into Italian Ghosts. We printed 100 original copies in Digipacks. Needing more to sell, we printed another 100 copies, but before we printed more, we remixed and remastered the songs, inverted the album artwork, and added more text on the backside. If you have a physical copy of either of those versions of our original EP...consider yourself lucky. List them for $100 on Ebay and you'll see what i mean.
We played a ton of shows, good and bad. Started writing new songs. "Do Peace."...the last song on French Ghetto, but the first song that was written for the album. It's a good closer. We wrote and recorded French Ghetto at the now Spirit Vision Studios. Previous records were recorded in Ben Rosett's parents' house, in the garage.

During the writing process for their first album, a few demo tracks were released on Bandcamp titled, "Demo 2011", containing 5 live studio tracks. Months later, Ben, Zac, and Ian brought these tracks to life, producing the album at Ben's home studio. "Italian Ghosts" was released in August 2011 as their first official EP.

Soon after that, another demo was released titled, "Do Peace (EP)", comprised of two tracks "Do Peace" and "Fight Club". Those two tracks were recorded live in Ben's home studio as well, and were intended to hold fans over until their upcoming full-length album French Ghetto.

The long awaited full-length album, French Ghetto, was released on April 20th, 2013. The album was self-recorded and produced by Ben Rosett, who, along with being a drummer and multi-instrumentalist, has been a recording engineer/producer for about 10 years. Having recently moved into a professional recording facility, Ben Rosett finally moved away from the "home studio" thing. With drummer Ben Rosett and bassist Ian Jennings, both of Strawberry Girls, becoming the owners of Spirit Vision Studios, this allowed for the new Strawberry Girls album to be recorded way better than it would have if it were recorded in a home studio.

With the release of French Ghetto, Strawberry Girls was able to attract the attention of Tommy LaCombe, owner of Tragic Hero Records (A Skylit Drive, Alesana, He Is Legend). After a month of dealing with contracts and promotion content, we have officially signed with Tragic Hero Records. We are very happy to be a part of the Tragic Hero family and we all feel it is the perfect home for us.

Then we recorded American Graffiti at Spirit Vision Studios.
Then in 2016 we re-recorded the songs from our original EP Italian Ghosts.
Venue Information:
Summit Music Hall
1902 Blake St.
Denver, CO, 80208
http://thesummitmusichall.com/