Closure in Moscow, Secrets in Scale, Paper and the Plane @ The Zoo (11/06/2010)

Closure in Moscow arguably divided a lot of punters after being infamously dropped from the Soundwave 2010 line-up. The organisers claimed they were acting like self-righteous wannabe rock stars, whereas the band claimed they were the ones who were hard done by. Regardless of the negative publicity generated by the incident, Closure in Moscow have done their upmost best to rectify their credibility with two headlining tours this year. The two Brisbane shows at The Fort and The Zoo will be the last two shows the band plays in Australia before they head back over to the states for the Vans Warped Tour.

Opening proceedings at The Zoo are Brisbane’s Paper and the Plane. They creep out into the darkness and begin to churn out sparse, emotionally-charged slabs of indie infused prog-rock. Minimalist guitar often climaxes to thunderous layered chords, creating stark dynamic contrasts. New Luke Dalton’s feminine sounding vocal delivery is easily on par with ex front-man Dan Van Zuthpen, but sadly he lacks the enigmatic charisma of his predecessor. It is disappointing that their set ends rather abruptly because it is highly engaging and intriguing.

David McGuire from Secrets in Scale wanders onto the stage, only he isn’t joined by the rest of the band, he’s joined by Chris DeCinque from Closure in Moscow and Young Heretics/ex Getaway Plan front-man Matthew Wright. They begin to deliver a magnificent tri-layered vocal piece over a backing track as band members from all bands storm the stage and begin impersonating monkeys. This brief moment of hilarity is the only light hearted moment in a set that has a slight lack in musical tension. Wright is filling in on bass for the set. Although his performance is faultless (especially vocally) he doesn’t look like he’s fully competent with his current position. The band’s compositions often abruptly stop or build up to no resolution. By the time McGuire’s Matt Bellamy-esque vocals really begins to take hold the songs have practically ended.

Flickering lights and a dimly lit stage welcome Closure in Moscow. There is no grandiose sci-fi theme or mysterious backing track. They simply pick up their instruments and play. It’s quite a start contrast from the seemingly misguided comments about the band’s arrogant attitude over the Soundwave fiasco. Front-man Chris DeCinque is dressed in black tights, a shiny silver poncho, makeup and a Boba Fett helmet. Thunderous floor toms signal the entrance to their track Deluge.

Closure in Moscow have a sound reminiscent of The Mars Volta, albeit highly diluted. There have been some rather disparaging comments made in regards to the band’s authenticity. It may be true that they borrow some stylistic elements such as spasmodic time changes, high range vocals harmonised by guitars and the uses of Latin-style percussion and piano. But it’s a step too far to consider it plagiarism, or for that matter, unimaginative. Having said that, Closure in Moscow is somewhat lacking that flair that The Mars Volta possesses on stage, with the band members devoid of that raucous energy present in their music. the exception to this being Beau McKee who executes some breakneck drum fills during Arecibo Message

Chris DeCinque’s somewhat androgynous appearance and mannerisms are at times slightly obnoxious and overbearing. He rants on about having a small penis, being some sort of alien or robot to incoherent garbage. His vocal delivery tonight tends to buckle at the higher more sustained notes. He rarely moves from his position at the front of the stage except for the occasional bizarre spasm. It is nonetheless entertaining.

Despite the size of the amps the band uses, the guitars have a full sounding modern crunch. Unfortunately at times this overshadows the crazed and intricate guitar-work by Michael Barrett and Mansur Zennelli. Tracks like We Want Guarantees not Hunger Plans, Had to Put it in the Soil, Reindeer Age and Kissing Cousins don’t really showcase the perplexing layers of sound that are heard on their debut album First Temple. It is also disappointing that the percussive elements on tracks like Sweet#Heart lack authenticity, with samples being used as opposed to real instruments.

When the set reaches an end the band disappears. Secrets in Scale Drummer John McGuire orders the crowd to usher them back on stage with cries of “oop”. They encore with Breathing Underwater and Matt Wright joins the performance once again. Darkness shrouds the stage and they slip quietly away. It’s not necessarily a lackluster performance, but Closure in Moscow may need to pull out all stops if they are to stand out on the Warped Tour this year.