Consider the Source, Sullivan Hall, New York, NY, 1/17/09

Matt Franciscovich on January 20, 2009

Instrumental Sci-Fi prog-rockers Consider the Source (CTS) dished out an intense night of tunes to a packed Sullivan Hall in downtown Manhattan on Saturday night, welcomed by family and friends for the three-piece’s first show in their hometown since September of last year.

The trio (Gabriel Marin on fretless guitar and fretless chaturangui, John Ferrara on bass and Justin Ahiyon on drums, percussion and samples) brought their A-game and delivered a 90-minute set stuffed with established favorites, new developments and a taste of things to come.

Wasting no time, CTS started the night off with two fast and funky numbers that have become staples of the band’s kinetic live performances: “Taihai For the Straight Guy,” a math-rock riff session that left ample room for Marin to explore his array of unworldly effects and “Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong,” which grabbed guts and mashed brains with Ferrara’s visceral bass bumping that shook the building.

“No Touching,” a softer new song from the band’s soon-to-be-recorded album, turned down the distortion while Marin incorporated a flute effect on his double-neck during a Radiohead-ish jam.

The trio’s foreign influences came out during the next tune, beginning with a sitar drone accompanied by Middle-Eastern twangs that eventually swelled into an airy guitar solo played with an ebow (electronic bow) to create a rising and fading essence.

Deemed the band’s “ode to Zoolander,” a tune called “Blue Steel” involved seamless transitions from chaotic freak-outs to head-banging riffage without warning and demanded the attention of all in the room – which it received.

The respectful crowd listened closely as what could be called the band’s only ballad (it’s a stretch) of the night swept through the air with a bluesy finger-picked progression that recalled Eric Clapton’s beautifully clean guitar wails on “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” if only for a few seconds. Proving to be the most mellow song of the night, this stray gem was gently tucked into a powerful set of tunes and lightened up the atmosphere before CTS buckled down their rocking helmets once more.

With a return to the heaviness of songs from earlier in the set, the band flawlessly grooved their way through three more intense jams, showcasing their diversity and pushing their instruments to the proverbial limit.

Before the last song, Ahiyon thanked the audience for its support and dedicated the show “in memory of [his] dad who recently passed.”

Then, Ferrara eased his way into accelerated slap-pop mayhem during an extended bass solo while Marin sat down on the stage and along with everyone else in attendance, watched in amazement as the bassist’s strumming hand turned into a flesh-colored blur. Eventually, Ahiyon kicked in and, after listeners’ ears had been cleansed from chaos momentarily, Marin got up and carved his way back into the arrangement culminating in a fleshy free form explosion of sound to end the set.

With no label backing, Consider the Source is preparing to hit the studio during the first week of February to record its second full-length album, Are You Watching Closely? to be followed by a national tour.