I'm going to go out on a limb (a sturdy one) and say this is the only Saki Session that served as a band's second show, and it is doubtful that it will happen again. If anybody was going to do it though, Opposites were a solid choice. They nailed down their line-up this past winter, and recorded their debut EP, Hi-Lo, around the same time. This performance, which took place at bvChicago and saki's Record Store Day 2012 celebration, also served as Opposites' EP release. They gave out cassettes of Hi-Lo for free, and interestingly enough, only included one of the EP's songs in their set - the surreal "Arm on the Lawn."
I've been acquainted with the band's drummer, Kirk Harrison, since middle school, and bassist Nate Amos and guitarist Ryan Murphy for about a year. I helped them build their web presence for a class during Spring 2012, though funnily enough, Epitonic did not step into the Record Store Day event until after Opposites were booked. I was able to become intimately close with their music, but am not directly involved with it anymore, so this is my first chance to share my thoughts publicly.
Murphy and keyboardist Jenna Blair (on a Rhodes piano) kicked off "Cardio" with nervous excitement, but quickly fell into their comfort zone as this uncharacteristically cheery Opposites song flowed on. The odd meter of "Howabout Timetown" was barely noticeable with it's smooth flow, and showcases how tightly this band works together, particularly the bass and drums. "Plastic Force" is a glimpse of their tense side, which fully manifested itself later in "Parallel." "Futured" was a nice lull in the set, with its shimmering Rhodes lines, and "Smellosatan" served as its dark counterpart later on.
The opening chord of "Parallel" hit the crowd like a steamroller, ceasing all idle chatter in the store as heads snapped, bug-eyed, toward the stage. Harrison wailed on his ride cymbal with a felt mallet, and his drum rhythms pushed the song's feeling of anxiety into your chest, which Murphy's alien guitar bending grabbed and twisted around. Amos' voice worked the song toward resolution, which left us all only half as frazzled as the first instance it started in. Amos' intentional voice cracks in "Parallel" have become a stronger part of this song since this performance, and can be heard on their artist page, along side other recordings of "Howabout Timetown" and "Arm On The Lawn."
"Mind Don't Mind" has a similarly tense quality to "Futured" and "Parallel," but it hid behind its sing-song repetition. "Mind Don't Mind" really took off at the end, as did "Drip," but neither as raucously as the show closer, "Caabhon Air," which is an older song that didn't make it onto Hi-Lo.
Since this show, they have played out in Chicago a few times and released rehearsal recordings, or "Poorly Captured Practices," on their Bandcamp. There is also a live recording from Madison, Wisconsin where the crowd hollered extensively between songs. Blair recently left the band, and guitarist Cam Hecht will be providing counterpoint to Murphy's guitar playing from now on.
Catch Opposites in Chicago this Friday (10/5) at Underground Lounge, opening for Backs, The Fishing Journal, and The Ross Originals.