Concert Review: The Burning of Rome
The Burning of Rome
Casbah stage, Adams Avenue
September 27th, 2014
Wafting through the aromas of fried food and cigarette smoke and withstanding the entreaties of every conceivable merchant stand, a small stage at the end of one of the many alleyways extending from Adams Avenue catches your eye. Entering this alleyway you find that the surrounding buildings provide insulation from outside sound as well as amplification of sound emanating from the end of the alleyway; thus providing the perfect acoustics for a rock concert (go figure). This may not necessarily be your first observation but you definitely notice this when “God of Small Things” echoes back and forth between the walls essentially drowning you in a harmonic bath tub.
Your real first observation would be that the venue is in extremely close proximity to multiple hotdog, gyro, hamburger, and ice cream stands that will hurt your wallet as severely as it will your digestion. Such convenience prevents too long a recess from the band whenever hunger or whimsical taste come knocking. If you were to do so, you would notice that this alleyway not only insulates the venue from sound, but light as well; easily noticeable when you make the transition from the blinding fair lights to the intimate lighting of a single street lamp that makes the environment surrounding the stage palpably urban. The ecosystem that The Burning of Rome created on their stage contrasted powerfully with this atmosphere.
On lead singer Adam Traub’s right (stage left) postured the ferocious Joe Aguilar, appropriately in red and barefoot as always. On Traub’s left (stage right), the much more mellow Keveen Baudouin remained calm and collected and to Baudouin’s left, stood the beautiful siren Aimee Jacobs. Red light faintly cascaded on Aguilar accentuating his red spandex and confirmed to the audience the explosive fire he brings to the band (in case his passionate dancing hadn’t made that clear). Cascaded in blue light, Jacob’s blue highlights created a remarkable color dynamic of two spheres of fire and ice battling. Resting in the middle was Adam Traub on a keyboard studded with lights that likened him to a mad scientist maintaining balance in his insane laboratory. Behind this intimidating foursome sat the drummer, Danny King, providing earth rumbling beats that would equate him to the generator in our rock factory.
Such a violently delicate ecosystem would seem inaccessible, or even remote but, as the audience replicated, like a bacteria in culture, from a couple of slightly intrigued bystanders to a furious wave of passionate disciples, interactions between these two seemingly secular worlds became incredibly intimate. Aguilar explored every inch of the stage while he was possessed by the spirit of rock and, when that was no longer enough, he stood on the border of the two realms tempting the audience to cross it. When audience members began to raise their arms in prayer to Aguilar’s blessed possession, a mutual agreement was made through eye contact and vague hand gestures between Aguilar and another member of the audience. Needless to say, shortly thereafter Aguilar was ripping on his axe while on the shoulders of another audience member. After making a short lap in the circle of astonished bystanders (as is customary), the audience member, turned steed, returned Aguilar to his own realm.
As if lighting a powder keg, this radically energized the entire audience. Once placid observers turned into raging lunatics. Running into each other, jumping up and down and side to side; manifesting a convulsive pit of hazardous mosh. Aguilar obviously couldn’t resist as he continually dove into and climbed out of this pit throughout the performance. When the band began to play their final set, and with the audience foaming at the mouth, Traub and Baudouin joined Aguilar and blazed through the audience leaving a trail marked by their aux cables and stage hands carrying said cables to prevent technical difficulties. Masterfully these stage hands crossed over each other to prevent the cords from tangling while three fifths of the band navigated the labyrinth of audience members. Watching the stage hands do this, as graceful as dancers, was fascinating alone.
For those that survived, this show will not be forgotten.