SOTD – Halls of Summer by Caspian

On the final stop of my journey through unexpectedly amazing bands I heard while at Boston Calling, we touch upon the most unexpected of all, Caspian. a few days into that first Boston Calling back in May of 2013, I was standing in the crowd with my friend when man next to me looking to shoot the breeze asked how the other days of the festival had been. He stated that this was his first day and that his daughter and her friends had come to see Marina and the Diamonds (barf…sorry to her advocates, but I am not a fan). After a few minutes of talking to this guy I realized that he was a lot like my father if he took my sister to see a pop concert with her friends: excited for their excitement, yet not excited at all about what they were excited for (yeah, you might have to read that again).

When he asked if I had heard about this first Caspian, I told him the truth, that they were some American post-rock band with a bunch of albums and no singer, but that I hadn’t really put in much time listening to them. We both nodded and returned to our separate groups,waiting for Caspian to start their performance. They came to the stage and started off saying “We’re Caspian and we’re from Beverly, Massachusetts.” I was taken back for a moment, thinking to myself, “Wait, that’s where my Dad’s from…there’s no way a band from that little town can be that good…” But then they started playing. It isn’t often that you hear a band play live music and think “Wow, it’s a good thing they don’t have a singer, because that would ruin this perfect sound,” but that’s exactly what I thought through Caspian’s set. I clearly remember when they finished their first song, I looked over at the father that I had been talking to, who subsequently looked back at me as we simultaneously laughed in awe and he mouthed the words “wow.”

Needless to say the crowd was beyond mesmerized for the duration of the set. They concluded with “Halls of Summer” and I’ll never forget the performance they put on for this specific song. Although it’s normally about 5 minutes in length, they extended it out to about 10 minutes, adding spacey entrancing rifts that made audience members forget they were standing as part of a crowd. As the song came close to ending, the drummer took a large drum out to the middle of the stage and began playing it with the drum pattern heard towards the beginning of the song at about 0:52. Slowly and individually, every band member put their instrument on the ground one by one over the course of about 3 minutes, picked up a pair of drumsticks, and came over to the large middle drum to hit it in that same drum pattern so as to make it louder and more powerful. By the end, every member had put down their instrument and was playing this large drum, quite literally shaking downtown Boston. When the song concluded, I turned to my friend I had come to the festival with and he looked at me in disbelief, saying “that might have been the best set we’ve seen all weekend…and I’ve never heard of them before.” I ran over and grabbed a concert tee as quickly as I could and gave it to my dad as a hometown keepsake, doubting I’d ever be more pleasantly surprised by a band’s performance for the rest of my life.

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