Empires banged out a consistent stream of arena-ready rock that completely absorbed the room. Their guitar style pulled equally from '80s pop metal acts and melodic, rhythmic-down-stroking indie rock. Lead vocalist Sean Van Vleet exhibited an impressive amount of onstage energy while breaking the mold of modern rock bands by solely performing without any other instrument other than his own clean, shaking voice. Producing smoky guitar riffs and sporting big, curly hair akin to their '80s metal influence, guitarists rocked the small stage.
After news of the Cardinal's World Series first game victory over the Texas Rangers spilled out from the bar outside the venue door, Colour Revolt gathered onstage to commemorate the night with precise, southern indie rock. Drawing from the momentum of the excited St. Louisans, the band returned the lively, enthused vibe directly back out into the dark room.
Blowing the set opening notes of "Blood in Your Mouth" on harmonica, vocalist/guitarist Jesse Coppenbarger lead the band through the aggressive first track off their 2005 self-titled debut EP. The second song "Naked & Red" from 2008's "Plunder, Beg, and Curse" resulted in an even more spacey dynamic live version. Referencing Led Zeppelin-esque riffs and evocatively chanting "Eden is a hell of a place," the song exploded upon reaching the trembling short-delay guitar outro.
Songs three and four, "Heartbeat" and "Moses of the South," purveyed the essence of their '90s alternative rock influence. The tunes were breathier and heavier live, recalling the content heavy but temperamentally dryer approach of Smashing Pumpkins. Colour Revolt not only played harder live, but they created even softer and chiller parts than their recorded material.
"The Cradle" rattled over Coppenbarger and guitarist/vocalist Sean Kirkpatrick's throaty and gruff crooning before lurching into a neck-heavy guitar breakdown, melodically dripped on by keyboardist Brooks Tipton. "Each Works" swayed through its beautifully repetitive lead riff and slow ambient synthesizer tones.
Declaring "I wanna ride out of this body" on "Reno," the band lifted the crowd from the room with three jangling Fender guitars. "Innocent and All" and "8 Years" caused some literal glasses to hit the floor without stopping the audience from jolting around to the ethereal tunes. Fan favorite "A New Family" drifted into a wispy group vocal melody which expanded out to all sides. Making the room feel true to the lyrics "We've got friends here," the crowd sang along in unison. Closer "Mattresses Underwater," another song from their first EP, was grazed with soft, dirge-like guitars before emerging as if from a deep sleep into a hazy tremolo picked outro.
Like "Flatland," the mathematical novel about personified dimensions from which the band takes its name, Colour Revolt presented an angular, multi-dimensional live set. While playing a surprising amount of older tunes from its EP and equally representing its past two full lengths, the band's sonic differentiation far surpassed its recorded material.