Riverside and Contrive at Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill, Dallas, TX 5/22/2019

So, a number of years ago, when the punk rock wife and I first started dating, we would engage in a version of 20 questions in an attempt to get to know each other a little better.  One of the questions she asked me on one of our early dates was:  what band have you not seen perform live that you really want to see?  My answer was twofold:  Pain of Salvation and Riverside.  Neither band has ever done a ton of touring in the U.S. and neither of them had made their way through Texas as of 2011.  Well, lo and behold, I have now knocked both of these bands off of my “to do” list after seeing Pain of Salvation in Houston early in 2018 and now getting to see Riverside play at the really nice intimate outdoor stage of Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill in Dallas.

Sometimes when you wait a really long time to experience something in person the expectations are so large that the actual event can’t help but not live up to those lofty expectations.  This was not the case on Wednesday night.  Riverside simply obliterated my expectations by giving one of the more memorable live shows I have witnessed in some time.  There live performance really solidified Riverside in my mind as one of the true powerhouses of prog metal of the 2000s.  They have found that sweet spot in prog where the blending of technical prowess and songwriting go hand in hand to create something sweeping.  Take the best aspects of Porcupine Tree, Rush and Pink Floyd and it will give you a sense of what Riverside is up to.  This was just a fantastic show and this is definitely a bandwagon that you should jump on if you haven’t already.

In addition to Riverside, a duo of twin brothers named Contrive opened up the show with an impressive display.  I had no ideas of who these guys were before I showed up and I’m always kind of skeptical about non-traditional lineups such as this one (one brother on drums, one brother on guitar/vocals), but these guys pounded out some really solid songs and didn’t see to miss the omission of a bass player in their ranks.  There is always a new band and always new music to be found.

Oh, and the new bands taking it’s place at the top of the list of bands I still haven’t seen:  Cult of Luna and Meshuggah.

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