PHOTOS: Caspian at Old South Church

On October 22 in the Back Bay, Caspian led a post-rock church service. Halfway through their 90-minute set, somewhere between the 17th and 20th monumental guitar climax, I experienced a music blackout and the sonic equivalent of a rebirth. I’m no church-going man, but this was — appropriate given the surroundings — something of a religious experience.

After eight months away from Boston and some 160 worldwide shows in between, Beverly’s Caspian had returned to cement the ties between their brand of instrumental post-rock and transcendence by performing in the cavernous sanctuary of Old South Church in Copley Square. A minimal lighting set-up of flashbang strobes and sequenced floodlights established the band as another fixture of the Gothic architecture; the vaulted ceilings and strategic sound design created an immaculate sonic presence.

“It’s instrumental music — it’s introspective and allows an opportunity to reflect on what’s happening,” guitarist Phil Jamieson said before the show. “We’re in a space that allows that. We want to transport people as much as we can.”

The show benefitted Amirah, a Boston safe house for women escaping human trafficking. Which made the locale all the more appropriate: Old South’s historic congregation included prominent American revolutionaries, and its former location (Old South Meeting House) was a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty in the 1770s. More than a thousand men enlisted at Old South to fight in the Civil War. In a way, this show was a rallying cry to history.

At the end of their set, Caspian’s three guitarists set their parts to loop at the height of a crescendo and one by one picked up drumsticks to accompany the drummer’s already manic beat. The bassist put his instrument down, circled the pulpit, and turned off his bandmates’ instruments one by one, until the only sound was the tribal thrashings of the drums. If the intention was to break the reverie created early on, it succeeded.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Copley Square,  More more >
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