Ceremony has evolved more over the last ten years than any band I can think of. Their first album was 2006’s classic Violence Violence. It’s 13 songs in around 13 minutes of a off shoot of hardcore called Powerviolence. Seeing them in this era touring on that album and it’s follow up 2008’s Still Nothing Moves You is still one of wildest and best things I’ve ever seen. In 2008 seeing them at the Muse in Nashville in the actual moment I distinctly remember thinking to myself “Holy shit, this is something most people will never ever experience.” You can go look up any hardcore show on youtube and see people stage diving and doing pile ons for the mic but this was an entirely different level, human bodies just flying from every direction, pile ons on stage to get to back up mics, the very real possibility of injury, it was one of the best performances I have ever seen of any genre.
That band plays 80s inspired danceable music now . . . and it’s still really good.
This week they came to the Mothlight in Asheville. When I arrived the upcoming “band” was Glitterer. This was literally a guy singing karaoke to (presumably) his own songs. Just a guy on stage singing. I understand it’s incredibly difficult to be a touring musician and more band members equals more money spent on food, etc but this performance was terrible. I just don’t want to see a lone person on stage singing to a cd even if the music was great, which was not the case. However this same person later played bass for Ceremony, so they contributed to my enjoyment that night later on.
The second band I saw was Choir Boy. They weren’t my thing either, although maybe I was just in a bad mood after enduring that previous act.
Finally Ceremony played. They started with a new song but then went into Pressure’s On from Violence Violence. That certainly shook things up, and I was quickly near the stage noticing people in shirts for bands like Terror, Full of Hell, Foundation, etc that I hadn’t noticed earlier. For a band who’s sound has changed so much the set surprisingly was pretty evenly spread across time periods. It worked well too, they even covered Gary Numan’s Cars, which fit right in with the new material and would have been very surprising to 2006 me. I remember when their 2010 album Rohnert Park came out I wasn’t sure about the new softer material, which is funny because that stuff is so much more heavy that what they do now and I probably enjoyed those songs the most this time around. The lone song the played from 2012’s Zoo, Hysteria sounded great and fit in with the old stuff and I really really thought their sound had changed at that point.
Another favorite show memory of mine is seeing them open for Titus Andronicus promoting Zoo. There were definitely Titus Andronicus fans that had no idea what was going to happen. Everyone just kind of bobbed their heads for four or five Zoo songs before Ceremony broke out an old song and the place exploded. I literally heard someone say “OH MY GOOOODDDDD” in a fearful voice over the music. Half the crowd left after Ceremony and then Titus Andronicus played one the most lackluster sets I’ve ever seen, they got absolutely wiped off the stage. Maybe the common theme is if you’re brave enough to play on a show with Ceremony your going to end up looking bad by comparison.
Except for this. You should really invent a time machine to go this shit because it ruled.