04/06/14 – The Royale

The Royale was oddly quiet considering it was crowded to the brink of capacity. There was a slow swell of applause as six musicians took their places on stage. Ages and Ages topped off the room with their immediate presence, submerging the entire audience with allure as each member gradually approached their own microphone. Seemingly out of nowhere, they spontaneously broke out into a six-part melodic harmony, effectively electrocuting every submerged, spellbound soul within. The audience was immediately hooked. From that moment on, the band laid down a consistent flow of catchy pop songs.

But don’t be fooled. Though their songs are Beatles-esque in their proper arrangement, nuanced melodic precision, and overall positive musical feeling, their lyrics are in nature. In the song “Navy Parade (Escape From the Black River Bluffs),” off of their debut album, Alright You Restless, Tim Perry, the songwriter, writes in earnest about his grandfather, better known as Bob, who was a young man who joined the navy at eighteen years old, in order to see the world.

After falling asleep on watch-duty, his commanding officer tells him to stop pretending to be someone he is not, and to move on from the obvious mistake he made of joining the navy. However, the officer does not blame him for the decision: 

“…you’re better off taking any step that leads you further from the way you’ll never be. Beyond this mess, there’s something left, and it’s still within your reach.”

With this, he urges Bob to change his life and become the person he was meant to become. The true, very personal meaning behind the songwriter Tim Perry’s lyrics are likely the source of his live energy. At the Royale, he fervently sang into the mic with the clean precision of a well-practiced musician, and introspective emotion comparable to that of Conor Oberst or Elliott Smith. 

Tim was not the only one. Each and every member of Ages and Ages performed with passion. The members did not move much on stage, however their facial expressions alone showed how much energy they were pouring into almost every note. The bassist, keyboardist, drummer, percussionist, and both the electric and acoustic guitarist sang in unison at many points during each song.  Their full, polished instrumentation in addition to the six-part vocals created a satisfyingly full sound that many bands dream of achieving. The audience was mesmerized by the layered voices, and hardly took their eyes offstage. Seeing Ages and Ages perform live reminded me of Jukebox the Ghost, a band with whom I would love to see them share the stage.

Ages and Ages’ latest album, Divisionary, showcases their contradicting atmosphere of lyrics and music. The band went through a number of somber experiences before the album was written. This never stopped them from pressing forward- reflecting, but not lingering. 

I’ll paraphrase Tim Perry as saying this: It is impossible to be sad unless you have experienced love. If things aren’t lining up right, you can either shut up and disengage, or process through; observe; respect. These actions do not make you “negative.”  They are simply qualities of being mindful.

The Allure of Ages and Ages
  • Display of impeccable vocal ability as a group
  • Strong songwriting
  • Passionate performance
  • It was hard to concentrate on the lyrics
8.6Overall Score

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