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Conspirator, The NorVa, Norfolk, VA – 5/12

With the final show of their tour landing in Norfolk, VA, I needed to experience what Conspirator had to offer these days. They’ve been evolving for a while now, and tonight’s show proved that the evolution will continue. Working around the Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner along with steady guitarist Chris Michetti (RAQ) the drum position tend to be a rotation of the jam scene’s finest offerings. On this night Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic) was behind the kit. Conspirator followers in the audience, who had caught more of the tour than I was able to, commented that the newly-acquired Salken seemed to find his rhythm tonight, a goal that he had understandably been striving for on previous dates.

The opening bands of Dharma Initiative and Galaxy Dynamite were a good showing of the talent available in eastern Virginia. The three piece (two vocalists on keys and a drummer) of Dharma Initiative was a treat of finger flurries wrapped around the vocal harmonies of the soon-to-be-married keyboard duo, and three piece (guitar, bass, drums) Galaxy Dynamite’s song-absent jams were tight explorations of rhythm and melody. Many people stay home through the opening act(s), but for those who came early to catch these local groups, their time was well spent for having heard them.

Conspirator’s single set was a delightful shock to the senses. Conspirator lined up (four musicians side by side), and the auditory onslaught was constant. Held down by the familiar team of Brownstein and Magner, it’d be tough to go wrong. I have to say, Brownstein is one of my favorite bassists to watch/hear, so I’m always happy at a Biscuits or a cousin-of-the-Biscuits show.

Conspirator’s single set was packed with music that drove the audience to dance without relent. Some of the night’s music included “So Much More,” “Gypsy Lane,” “Fire,” and “Feed the Wolf.” A highlight of the night was born through a tribute to the recently deceased Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys). Brownstein stated that he would not be where he was in life, without Yauch’s musical influence. After speaking to Yauch’s importance, Conspirator had fun while leading a crowd rap-along of The Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.”

Conspirator ended this leg of its tour schedule without a hitch. Both nodding to the past and working towards the future, Conspirator remains a band to watch. You may catch them with this drummer, or that drummer, but Magner and Brownstein are sure to be at the helm. I guarantee that wherever they steer you, you’re going to want to jump in when they drop anchor.

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