Russian Circles is visually and sonically unparallelled. Mike Sullivan, Dave Turncrantz and Brian Cook walked onto a dark stage and began playing. They occasionally sipped local Alabama IPA, but never spoke. When they played the last note of “Deficit,” they simply waved and exited. The trio needed nothing more than their respective instruments to be breathtaking; their lack of vocals was entirely unnoticeable as Sullivan’s riffs, Turncrantz’ pummeling drums and Cook’s heart-palpitating bass playing wove an emotional rising and falling tale. Every Russian Circles song is massive, dramatic and captivating–this was multiplied tenfold in the band’s presence. There are few experiences comparable to that of standing eyes-closed in front of the Chicago trio and allowing the influence of sound to take over every movement.
Sonically, Russian Circles, Eagles of Death Metal and Mastodon share little with one another. But Monday night at the Fillmore Auditorium, the three bands found common ground with a crowd of earnest, hungry music fans who greeted all three acts with enthusiasm
Chicago’s Russian Circles, the least well-known of the performers, opened with the strongest set. While compared to other instrumental acts like Red Sparowes and Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles set themselves apart by composing abstract, dense and challenging pieces. As a three-piece, the burden of re-creating the group’s recorded sound live relies heavily on guitarist Mike Sullivan, who loops riffs through amps and pedals, creating texture, dynamics and volume generally reserved for bands with double Russian Circles’ members. Playing songs largely from 2016’s Guidance, Russian Circles played a tight and cohesive set, thanks in large part to the rhythm section – drummer Dave Turncrantz and bassist Brian Cook. Turncrantz, who always hits hard and accurately, sealed his reputation as one of the most talented and unique drummers playing heavy music.
Russian Circles“Live at Dunk!Fest 2016″ is out today digitally. Vinyl pre-orders have sold out in record time. There are a few remaining copies here, and the last LPs will be sold by the band on their US tour with Mastodon and Eagles of Death Metal. Show info and tickets available HERE.
With their sixth album ‘Guidance’, Russian Circles carry on in their quest to conjure multi-dimensional dramatic instrumental narratives and to scout out new textures from their respective instruments. Songs aren’t constructed out of highbrow concepts; they’re forged out of gut instinct and base emotional response. Every Russian Circles album has had its share of new sonic vistas, and ‘Guidance’ finds the band still searching out new sounds while continuing to play to the collective strengths of guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook… We talk to Brian Cook about sounding human, working within parameters and Brooklyn’s happy hour…