Brothers Past 1/11/2005: Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT

After having heard a lot of positive hype surrounding Brothers Past, it surprises me that it took this long to finally see what it was all about. Let me start by saying, that the Philadelphia band lives up to and, at times, completely exceeds the hype. The future holds a place for this band and I will be pleased to see them graciously accept it one day.

The show at the Higher Ground came at a very important time for the band. With a new full length album, This Feeling’s Called Goodbye, being released in less than two weeks and their most extensive, far-reaching touring schedule lying just over the odometer, these guys are brimming with great excitement. Aside from the genuine jubilation on the faces of the band as they looked out at the packed Higher Ground crowd, the music was just plain inspiring.

The night started off with a nice segue fest that gave a good feel for what this band is all about. You could hear the influence of contemporary bands like Radiohead combined with the electronica-flavored eighties pings and blips of groups like The Talking Heads and Depeche Mode. The second song of the night, “A Wonderful Day” struck me as a seriously well written song that, at the completion of the composed section, just took off to soaring heights. The rest of the first set was hot while remaining slightly subdued, like they were building the groundwork for some secret mission to the far reaches of the universe. A big highlight came a few songs after “A Wonderful Day” when they brought everyone in the room together in a mushy blissful remembrance of years past with their take on Tears For Fears, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” It even included a fiery jam that lead into the end of “Boy,” to end the first set.

Something must have been in the late night air during the set break because when they returned to the stage with “Simple Gift of Man” the night slipped into high gear. I was fine, in a very big way, with the first set and was won over. I had found a new band that I very much enjoyed and was ready for a second set of the same good stuff that made up the first. That was not to be. The first set, in hindsight, seemed more like the ground floors of an elaborate high-rise, than the building itself. The jam that emerged from “Simple Gift of Man” was enormous and covered much ground. By the end of the song I was ready for another set break. That’s when the second monster segue fest began. During this go around it became ever so apparent that it was no stroke of luck that they were able to weave effortlessly through a maze of diverse songs without missing a beat or change.

Somewhere in all of that craziness Joe Russo, of the Benevento/Russo Duo, hopped up on stage for a couple songs. Joe joined Brothers Past for a couple of their originals, “The Mirror” and the end of “Catharsis.

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