, attached to 2021-08-27

Review by InsectEffect

InsectEffect 1st set highlights: Torn and Frayed; a time-warping, get-your-money’s-worth Melt; a tight Tube with Super Bad jam (no mere tease here); and a stand-out Mull proving that this cool new Mike tune has serious jam potential, as Trey clearly discovers with some sick riffing.

The entire 2nd set is unique and exceptional. Whatever you think of Sigma Oasis (the jury’s still out for me), the song’s “you’re already there” refrain nicely sets the stage before the band descends into an astonishing What’s the Use? Heavy and cathartic, stirring and serene, this WTU offers a profound release into and return from the void, one that welcomes the very spaciousness and silence of the landscape into the music. You can hear it in the recording, a hushed audience standing awed out there in a little oasis in the wild. What to do after such a deep plunge? We gather ourselves back together and blaze on… Blaze On rips and roils, with Trey recalling his Mull riffing around the 8-minute mark. The song then slows for a silky segue into Lifeboy, which offers another deep, reflective descent into our collective heart center.

If this set’s Blaze On is an affirmation, Camel Walk is a celebration. This jammed-out Camel is just fantastic. The song itself is Super Bad-inflected for extra funk, with a clear tease at 5:05, and the jam includes a string of WTU callbacks beginning at 10:50, elevating the set’s deeper themes. A funk-strut Chalk Dust carries the celebratory torch further, with syrupy phrasing and a no-fireworks approach that’s all patient workmanship and clockwork groove. The music then takes a delicate turn before a long smooth segue into Slave. This song has closed a lot of sets, and can sometimes feel perfunctory, but not here. Fresh and vivid, with understated phrasing, this Slave brings the set’s reflective WTU-Lifeboy thread to a powerful resolution.

The GOTF songs are a little too on the nose for me, but this Drift encore is well-earned and worked fine live. Overall, just wow. This set functions as a remarkable compositional whole, an extended meditation on the ebb-and-flow, light-and-dark nature of existence. It’s a trip in the very best sense, into the abyss and back again. It’s also (Camel Walk) a lot of fun. Attendance bias? Oh for sure. This show, at The Gorge? Boy, man. God, shit…


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