Saturday night’s Artifex Pereo show was at Mahall’s, a vintage-y bowling alley in Lakewood, OH. Henry and I have never been to this particular venue before, so we utilized our typical “walk in and stop abruptly, looking confused and lost” method of entering a building. So goddamn awkward. Merch was set up right by the door, so we at least felt confident that we were in the right place. Then we figured out where Will Call was set up, used the bathroom, and then proceeded to pick up right where we left off: standing in the way and looking like yokels.
I was so stoked on the bathroom that I had to take a picture for my friend Alyson, who LOVES LOOS. In fact, when were checking out places to have my baby shower back in 2006, I sent her a picture of the bathroom at the place we chose, because I knew she would down with it. And she was!
After lurking like creeps, we made our way into the room where the show was going to happen. It was small, with limited seating, and all of the bands’ gear was strewn about along the back walls. No matter where we stood, I felt totally in the way, but then Henry put a can of cider in my hand and I quickly quit caring.
Henry with his second mason jar beverage of the day. Look at his dumb mouth. Hyuk, hyuk.
There were two local bands that opened: A Work of Fiction and Slow To Speak. I liked them both, but I totally fell in love with Slow To Speak and found myself openly weeping several times. They moved me. And I promise you it wasn’t the cider talking. (Or weeping.) They played honest, beautiful music that I kept getting lost in. For real, one second I was standing in the back of Mahall’s, the next, I was floating somewhere far away from Henry and his stupid mason jar. I love when a band doesn’t need gimmicks and can rely solely on their gorgeous song-writing. Simple, uncluttered and raw. I implore you to check them out. Don’t be a bitch:
And hey, if you liked that—PASS IT ON! Like them on Facebook! Go see them if they come to your town! These guys deserve the recognition.
Henry didn’t mind them (that’s considered a “good” review in the Henry Music Magazine) and the only opinion he really contributed was that their drummer resembled our friend Lisa’s husband Matt. At least I know he was vaguely paying attention.
The next band was Icarus the Owl. I was stoked that they were on this tour because they’re my kind of band: that perfect combination of frenetic, poppy and melodic pandemonium. There are times when the singer reminds of me of another band that I used to FUCKING LOVE: Armsbendback (RIP, great band). And, like Armsbendback (shout out to Twin Peaks!), it was their name that originally made me want to check them out awhile back. Icarus the Owl is a great interest-sparking band name.
I’m surprised I didn’t beat myself black and blue with all the hard thigh-slapping they were subconsciously making me do.
Meanwhile, the room was filling up with more and more people in Envoi shirts, and that’s when it occurred to me that, in spite of the band order on the tour poster, Envoi was going to headline that night’s show since it was a homecoming for them. And judging by the amount of older people in attendance, it was pretty clear that there were a lot of family members, which I thought was kind of adorable, and of course this made me start daydreaming of Chooch being in a band someday. Sigh. My luck, it’ll be a Kenny Chesney cover band.
You have no idea how bad I want him to be in a band. But, you know, a good one.
It was finally time for Artifex Pereo and Henry made fun of me for not knowing that basically the whole band was standing next to me throughout the night (one of them was right behind me, and I only found out after I checked Instagram real quick between sets and saw that the Artifex Pereo account posted a picture of the stage from the back of the room and the back of my dumb head was RIGHT THERE). I’m sorry, but I don’t always know what bands look like! I’m not that type of groupie, I mean, person.
I made Henry move up closer to the stage right before they started and one thing you should know about Henry is that he HATES being close to stages, but he silently obliged because he knows to pick his battles wisely. (I would have just moved up without him, but you know how I like to be his puppeteer.)
And then they started. You guys, I was stunned. I don’t know why I was surprised, because their album is aural perfection to me, but seeing them up there on that stage and hearing the beautiful music they were making together, it honestly took my breath away. I’m going to just go ahead and say that from my perspective, they were utterly flawless. Every syllable that fluttered out of Lucas’s throat was pitch perfect and grabbed me by the proverbial balls. I could not take my eyes off that stage. I didn’t take any pictures or video because I absolutely felt frozen in place.
When they played “Hands of Penance?” Don’t even get me started. I think it was the first time that tranquil crowd showed any signs of life all night. It was like everyone was ignited and recognizing that they were witnessing a Really Great Band before them. Lucas’s vocal gymnastics is like a perfectly blended compound butter melting atop a rich, instrumental Wagyu steak. (I watch a lot of Master Chef, Ok?) Their sound translates flawlessly from album to stage.
It felt like the shortest goddamn set ever, and I wanted a pitch fork to raise up to the ceiling while chanting “BRING ME MORE MUSIC, SON!”
I need to see them again, immediately. Please, please, please: GO SEE THIS BAND. And do it soon, while they’re still playing intimate venues, because I’m pretty sure they’re going to explode.
Usually Henry says noncommittal things like “They weren’t bad” or “Eh” when I ask him if he liked a show, but after Artifex Pereo, he said, “They were good. I liked them.”
They earned the Henry Seal of Approval! Usually it takes a band 8 years for that accomplishment. (See: The Used, Dance Gavin Dance, Chiodos, Circa Survive.)
I’ve already posted Artifex Pereo songs on this blog before so now it’s time for everyone to just go out and buy their album.
My family and I used to go to Wildwood, NJ every summer and there was this one dark ride-type attraction that had a recording of a ringmaster yelling enticing things to get people to come over, and then he would command, “Run, don’t walk!” My dad would mock that recording endlessly, and then for weeks after vacation he would bust out with a theatrical “Run! Don’t walk!” for every last mundane thing. Like, dinner time: “Run! Don’t walk!” And that’s what I want you guys to do to buy this album: “RUN! DON’T WALK!” But considering you’re probably going to buy it online and are already in front of a computer, then pretend your fingers are your legs. Run those fingers across the keyboard to iTunes, Amazon, Tooth & Nail, wherever you buy your music.
The headliner of the tour was The Orphan, The Poet, whom we have seen a year ago when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance and I drunkenly shadow-danced with the singer on the way to the bathroom and then obviously imprinted with him. Anyway, I like their music but for some reason they don’t hold my attention. Henry doesn’t like them at all, but please see the part where I imprinted with the singer.
And as I mentioned earlier, Envoi got to close out the night with their set, which I guess is because they’re from Cleveland and a pretty big deal there. Since it was already 11pm and we had a two hour drive ahead of us, Henry and I decided to leave before they started and I was pretty bummed about it because even though I’ve seen them before, they have a new singer now (a girl, and she’s actually good!) and are essentially an entirely different band from when I saw them open for Craig Owens in 2011 (also in Cleveland). I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Envoi though, so I’m sure I’ll get to see them again soon.
I bought an Artifex Pereo shirt and wristband on the way out and even while Henry was swearing loudly because he took the wrong road out of Cleveland (happens EVERY time), I was in such a happy place. It might sound dumb, but I felt really incredibly lucky to have had the chance to see such a memorable show in that perfect little room. I hope it never stops feeling like that.