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Published: 2005/07/26
by Brian Gearing

Brothers Past, Station 2, Norfolk, VA- 7/7

Touring heavily off the success of This Feeling’s Called Goodbye, their best record to date, Brothers Past brought their electro-dub urban rock to the Victorian living room splendor of Norfolk, VA's Station 2. As their stellar light show illuminated the room's ornate ambiance, Philly's songier heirs to the trancefusion throne filled the cavernous space with the heavy drum n' bass and trance of their older material and the electro-pop sounds from their newest opus.

The opening romper room video dub of "Big Blue Apples" soon faded into rat-race power trance as broken stilettos prowled darkened streets, eventually sprinting into a teeth-gritting escape before catching its breath on the riff-rock digigroove of "Bottlecap." The lazy reggae of "Astphadel" eased the hippie-mosh tension, and "Everything Must Go" got the crowd humming along as radio static crackled in the air before drifting off into pirate frequencies and a slow, yawning dream. Nightmare monsters weren't far behind, though, and just as their teeth began nipping at the heels, the band dove back through the front door of "Big Blue Apples" and slammed it shut.

The power funk of "Shut Up" seemed out of place among the digitized dreamscapes, but just as drummer Rick Lowenberg began tripping over his precision beats, the quartet shifted seamlessly into the half-step, big chord rock of "What's On Your Mind," soaring into stratospheric, melodic jamming that drifted further into the void. Guitarist Tom Hamilton did his best David Gilmour impression before crashing back to "Shut Up" and leaving the crowd to absorb the lingering vibrations during a short set break.

"State Police" opened the second set with This Feeling’s electric radio groove and stomped around an aboriginal calypso fire, tripping over its noise-rock flame and falling into the red, white and blue heat of Radiohead's "National Anthem." "Squeeze" found a comfortable space to kick back and enjoy the bright sparks flashing in the darkness, easing into a lazy gray meditation before waking up to rock its way back into "Anthem."

The breezy pop of "Leave the Light On" blew through the synthetic fog as a self-indulgent disco jam morphed into true improvisation, eventually finding its way to the deep, acoustic breaths of "Exhale," before closing the book on "Astphadel" with a quick-tripping flight over a wide, green horizon.

Brothers Past encored the slow, submissive second set with the digitized pop-punk of "Prom Dress" before stretching out on the finale of "Squeeze," leaving their bright, sparkling pulses to reverberate off Station 2's marble floors and columned walls. As the crowd filtered out, the last remnants of Brothers Past's night sounds drifted down the empty sidewalks of Granby Street, leaving their signature on Norfolk's downtown streets and marking their X for an imminent return.

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