Vast and Into The Presence
Show date: May 8th, 2009
Venue: Highline Ballroom
Bands: V.A.S.T., Into The Presence
Photography by: Frenchie
VAST was a band I randomly found about a few years ago from a friend who randomly found out about it from a friend. This is how Jon Crosby would have wanted it. The band, consisting basically of Job Crosby, but which has finally established a consistent support in the form of Michael Cry, Ben Fenton, Tabber Millard and Ernesto J. Ponce has had a tumultuous relationship with record labels and has gotten some radio play and big media exposure in its formative years. Of late, VAST has been the underground band Crosby has always wanted it to be, with the direction and vision of the music entirely in his capable hands.
The sound is ethereal, electronic when it isn’t acoustic guitar, with clear beautiful vocals and releases are to be found in mp3 format more often than not. The lyrics often remind me of country music, especially the later acoustic guitar focused work. You may have an inflexible understanding of country music based on stereotypes of guys in big boots and big hats wailing about the wife stealing the trailer, and if you read anything I ever wrote about music, you might be surprised that I can be a fan. I’m not knowledgeable, but the narration of pain and misfortune is what sticks out the most in country music for me and some of my favorite VAST songs are stories rather than ideas strung together by an ambiguous title.
The opening band, Into The Presence, consists of Tim Alexander, drummer and Luis Maldonado, frontman/guitarist. For this tour they are joined by cellist, Ana Lenchantin and Paz Lenchantin on bass. To be honest I was not impressed with the band until Lenchantin strutted out on stage, sat down, and suddenly gave the music a new dimension. Until her amp broke down anyway. The lively chatter and self-deprecating remarks by Maldonado during the tense minutes of amp fiasco endeared the band to the audience. ITP played tracks from their self-titled debut. Maldonado and Alexander’s rock sound is accessible and versatile, although strange to my ears. They fit well with VAST.
VAST played the more tame selection of songs from the 11-year span of musical experimentation. My favorite, “Dirty Hole,” from their 1998 debut album, Visual Audio Sensory Theater, will probably never be heard live, but Crosby played other favorites, such as “Tattoo of Your Name.” They played many songs off their latest release Me and You. I am currently more excited about Bang Band SiXXX, an EP that supposedly returns to Crosby’s darker, more electronic roots.