I’ve been a long time Chariot fan but have never managed to see them live. Their new album One Wing is one of my favorite new albums and in my opinion the best complete album The Chariot have put out. While I like songs such as Daggers and Teach perhaps better than any particular song off of One Wing, as a complete album it stands above the rest. It has the groove and cohesiveness of their album The Fiancée with the chaos and experimentation like found on their album Long Live.
I was really excited to see The Chariot live having read about their epic stage presence and manic performances. I was however immediately disappointed when as they sound-checked it became obvious they would play without a bassist. This does not come as a giant surprise given as The Chariot’s long time bassist Jon Kindler left the band earlier this year.
This happens a lot, a bass player or guitarist will leave a band prior or mid tour and instead of replacing them, the band just plays without. The band He Is Legend did this when they lost their second guitarist and the two times I have seen them since then, they have played live with only one guitar. HiL does this despite there being two distinct guitar parts in the songs.
Additionally, the challenge with no bass, is that the bass typically carries and keeps the songs together live. This is especially true when guitarist are going crazy and the singer is putting the mike in the crowd and missing half the vocals.
The result for The Chariot…mush, pretty much the whole set-list sounded like mush. The one exception was Josh Scogin, whose vocals sounded as crisp and intense as they do on the albums. In fact I would say the vocals were even more intense combined with Scogin’s stage presence. Now don’t get me wrong guitarists Brandon Henderson and Stephen Harrison were going insane and even drummer David Kennedy was all over the place. It is really hard to accurately play your guitar part when you are moving that much, I know from experience. I give the guys major respect for the show but regardless the sound was still mush.
Here is why it doesn’t matter though. The Chariot show was something a little more intense than what I have seen previously. First of all, The Chariot goes off more than any other band. I would say the only other bands I could compare them with would be Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Bled. So witnessing that level of mayhem was great by itself. There was however another form of intensity present that I really can’t quite put my finger on. It was almost as if the band and the stage itself were exuding energy. The stage dives and pit aside, there also seemed to be a level of intensity in the air. For the lack of a better word the whole vibe was simply intense.
Despite no bassist and rough sound, I was totally blown away and thrilled with the show. Very glad I finally was able to see The Chariot live and will without a doubt catch them again when I can. I just hope next time the venue sells alcohol. Thanks to my buddy Shane Finerty who caught the gig with me. Although The Chariot is not necessarily his cup of tea, he too was thoroughly blown away by the chaos and intensity that is The Chariot live.