Haken + Thank You Scientist @ Club Soda - September 2, 2016

"Affinitour 2.0"

The night started off a little slow waiting in line since I arrived there around 5:00, and no one was really there as of yet since the doors only opened at 7:00. Luckily I had a spot secured in line so I could be at the front. I met a couple of people who we're really friendly and were excited to see Haken and Thank You Scientist. There were also a few people from the Facebook group Prog Snob that recognized me, which I find was pretty cool.

We then entered in the venue, making my way to the stage and realized there were seats. Yes, seats! This was very unusual for a prog show, and I was fascinated by it. The fact that we can manage to sit down during the show and enjoy the performance. By all means, it was quite intimate. My friends and I were patiently waiting as soon as we sat down, I managed to check out some of the merch stuff and have my spot secured for the rest of the show. Prices were reasonable with shirts being 25 to 30$, and CDs and LPs from 25$ to 45$. I did regret not buying Affinity because I really wanted it. Maybe I'll ask for it as a birthday present or at Christmas.

Starting off with Thank You Scientist, this band had a unique sound of blending jazz elements with metal twist, in a way that I never thought possible. They also had a sax and trumpet player that reminded me a lot of Streetlight Manifesto. I do think that maybe it might have been one of their influences because I hear it in their music. Everyone was full of energy on stage, especially the lead singer. I noticed he was barefoot the whole show until the last portion of the set. They played the majority of songs off the newer record, Stranger Heads Prevail, and Maps of Non-Existent Places. They also played a cover of The Beatles song, "I Am the Walrus", which was really fun and made their own rendition of it in their style. I was really intrigued by their set, they delivered a tight performance.

It was time for Haken to take the stage. We were waiting for them to go on, when all of a sudden people were going to the front and I was like, what the heck is going on? I got up and managed to snag a spot near the monitor before anyone would take it. A few minutes had passed and security told us to sit down. A lot of people were frustrated that we couldn't stand, and people were about to take our spots. Luckily, my French was great and I told the people that those were our seats and my friends were sitting there with me. I don't know what caused them to get upset at me because we were originally there before we sat down again, they also were about to take our seats and move them. Like, what the hell? You shouldn't take someone's spot if they were there originally, first come first serve.

After that dilemma, the curtains closed and the intro from Affinity, appropriately titled "Affinity.exe", kicked in and it was a loud booming bass sound that pounded my whole body and I was so excited. They opened up with "Initiate", and it sounded spot on, exactly like on the record. Despite a few sound hiccups here and there, they managed to get everything sorted out and transitioned into "Falling Back to Earth", which surprised me, kicking into a 10-minute song right afterwards is crazy. The song was a lot better live than on record, and Ross' vocal performance was insane. He hit those high notes like an angel and down like an ox.

They then kicked into "1985", one of my favourite songs off Affinity, and Ross came out with glasses that looked something like out of an '80s movie (yes, I know haha). I also noticed the whole band was into the song. I was analyzing Diego's keyboard performance and he was super into it, changing sounds with his huge sound library. There were hints of old school retro sounds like 8-bit noises that you would hear on a Nintendo Entertainment System, and sweet sounds from his keyboard.

The highlight of the night was "The Architect", which I was personally excited to hear live. The fact that they can manage to pull this off is crazy. The song is 15 minutes and 45 seconds. Like I said before, it sounded exactly like on record and they played it perfectly. I was impressed and stood up and clapped at the end of the song.

Nearing the end of the set, Ross was encouraging everyone to come closer to the stage during "The Endless Knot". This was a song that I looked forward to hearing live because of its unique elements and blending dubstep. Yes, you heard me: dubstep into progressive metal! Everyone was all over and going crazy for this song, which was a highlight of the evening. "Celestial Elixir" was the last song and an epic performance, spanning at almost 17 minutes. Everyone was so into it, and was singing along. Moments like these always make me happy and give me chills.

Overall, Haken put on an amazing performance that I will never forget, and Thank You Scientist was a great opening band that I will check out now.


--Philliam hosts Turn On The Darkness every Tuesday at 2PM, only on CJLO 1690AM.