Caspian @ Royale 12.7.12

by Nick Hugon (International Affairs), published January 22nd 2013

IMG_1141Photograph by Nick Hugon’s crappy iPhone camera.

Triple Crown Records’ year-end show relocated to Boston’s theater district nightclub, Royale, on short notice due to the continually delayed opening of Cambridge’s new venue, the Sinclair. The cross-river move didn’t upset attendance at all, as Royale’s dance floor easily filled in anticipation of Moving Mountains, O’Brother and instrumental post-rock headliners, Caspian. The Triple Crown show marked the closest stop to home for Beverly, MA-based Caspian near the end of its four-month North American and European tour supporting its terrific new record, Waking Season.

The most immediately striking thing about Caspian is its size, in nearly every incarnation of that word. While composed of a totally-normal sum of five members, the band’s individual components are simply massive human beings. Lead guitarist, Philip Jamieson, is a towering muscle-thing that teeters and bends like a tall tree in a storm as he stomps from one foot to the other in time with the swelling of Caspian’s noisy attack. And they boast a sound as gigantic as their features that belies their small-town origins. You can’t help but get the feeling that Caspian is the biggest, loudest, and likely most terrifying thing to come out of Beverly since its tear-jerkingly terrible 2010 high school varsity ice hockey team (personal experience).

Yet for all of Caspian’s fearsomeness, it attracted an audience that proved the strength of the band’s local ties. A couple of attendees looked conspicuously like proud mothers, and I noticed a high school-aged boy nodding along next to his father, who was dressed as if he’d come straight to the show from his office. Jamieson took time towards the end of the show to thank his friends and family in attendance, and recalled one of the band’s earliest shows, knowing that its attendees were likely present tonight.

Caspian’s setlist and encore included five tracks from Waking Season, four from 2009′s Tertia, and a sole reference to 2007′s The Four Trees. While “The Raven,” from Tertia, was notably absent, Caspian’s equal treatment of new and older material suited their hometown crowd that, as Jamieson presumed, had likely followed the band since its mid-2000s inception. Caspian will tour again starting in February, but are currently only scheduled to come as close to Boston as Burlington, VT. But next time Caspian plays in Boston, expect a special show due to the band’s local following.

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