Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Conspirator 2011.10.08 Culture Room Fort Lauderdale, FL

Reposted from Brotherly Love Production's website. See the original story here.

Words and Photos by Adam E. Smith
Videos by Adam at Cheesehead Productions.

The rain was relentless in East Fort Lauderdale as the midnight hour approached. A line of lively youth wrapped around under a small overhang at the entrance of the Culture Room. Mostly an attempt to stay dry, but more importantly a last minute move of haste to get inside before the band came on stage. Hours previous the same venue played host to a metal show, and the double billing made for a level of uncertainty for when fans could find shelter from the storm inside the cozy two tiered room.
Conspirator | Culture Room
Now Conspirator, a super-group comprised of Mark Brownstien (bass) and Aaron Magner (keys/synths) of The Disco Biscuits, Chris Michetti (guitar) of Raq and Mike Greenfield (drums) of Lotus, would take over and pump out an extended late night set of live electronica and l guitar-infused dub movements. As I patiently waited for a resolution to a press credential debacle, all four members walked by me. They were  met with comments from the impatient que of fans and all smiled before hustling inside. The nontraditional approach of using the front door, and walking among the crowd, set the tone for a very intimate and relaxed vibe between the musicians and the audience of night owls.
Conspirator | Culture Room
The venue was comfortably full and there was no indication that it was nearly 1 AM when the first notes of “So Much More” greased the wheels for what would be a nonstop two hour dance party. The Disco Biscuits electronic influence is noticeably present in the sound of the band, but without any of the traditional jam band improvisational techniques. The beats are from a more electronic purist realm, and the breaks come harder and faster. Classic song structures are nearly non-existent and a more sporadic sequencing of up-tempo, highly sampled, synthesizer lead instrumentals are the name of the game.
Conspirator | Culture Room
The set list weaves in and out of tracks that typically built up to a plateau for either Michetti to launch into a face melting guitar solo. If that didn’t happen then Magner would take over and construct a high-note synthesizer effect into breaking peak before the rhythm section bottomed out and blasted back into the original progression. The concept is nothing new, of course, but the execution and minor details such as Greenfield’s drum fills and Magner’s vocal samples are on point and very polished.
Conspirator | Culture Room
Fans of each of the three bands can still differentiate the sounds of the contributing members, but in a freshly amplified collective that aims to keep the energy through out the room and the dance party pulsing. To this effect, the war was won and both goals were achieved.Also noteworthy was how attentive the crowd was to what was happening on stage. Reactions to teases of familiar tracks, and jumps from deep grooves into something as silly as the infrastructure of a Backstreet Boys song, were all manifested by flailing arms and shouts for more.
Conspirator | Culture Room

Shedding all stereotypes and predisposed characteristics, I could not help but be inspired by the thought that the negative attributes – usually associated with the primary bands of certain members of Conspirator, were completely lost on this crowd. Maintaining some of their self-professed law abiding citizen demeanor, the band broke away from the stage at the 2:30 AM curfew. The attempt at hoodwinking didn’t last long.
They came back and Brownstien thanked Greenfield for sitting for sitting in with the band the same way he had done eight years ago. With that they launched into one last extended monster jam with “Retrograde” before calling it quits for real. No where near ready for the night to end just yet,  post-show parking lot shenanigans and early morning after parties kept the night rolling until the sun was coming up. Special thanks should be given to Matt and Destiny, the entire Brotherly Love Productions Krewe that came out in large numbers, and those that were generous enough to host both before and after the show.

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