Photos and words by Siena Biales and Dylan Leonard
On Thursday, March 24 fans gathered at the Webster Underground in Hartford, Connecticut to hear a fantastic array of progressive metal bands. Chief among them was Intervals, a solo project by Aaron Marshall, who has one of the greatest touring band around right now. Consisting of Plini Roessler-Holgate, Simon Grove, and Nathan Bulla on rhythm guitar, bass, and drums respectively, they band came out to play music from Marshall’s new instrumental progressive metal album, The Shape of Colour. Plini and Grove are fixtures in the prog metal community in their own right; Plini the founder of his own eponymous one-man-band and Grove is the bassist of Canadian prog metal outfit the Helix Nebula.
The evening started out with impressively strong performances by local bands Self Portraits and Destination Dimension. Save Us From The Archon followed with an extremely energetic act, and later, Angel Vivaldi wowed the audience with his wild stage antics and guitar chops, playing one handed while shaking some fans’ hands and downing an entire water bottle while unleashing a complex solo.
When Plini took the stage the crowd really came alive. The twenty-three-year-old Australian guitar prodigy stepped to the microphone amidst enthusiastic cheers from the audience, and while every bit as virtuosic as opener Angel Vivaldi or headliner Aaron Marshall, played with a style all his own. Where other guitarists might rely solely on complex tapping and lightning-fast playing, Plini excelled at using both these techniques as one part of a soaring arrangement that also employed intricate bass and atmospheric synth parts. All in all, Plini’s greatest strength was his ability to carry a compelling groove throughout a song. This was evidenced in the track “Away”, from his EP Sweet Nothings, which the crowd reacted explosively to. Aaron Marshall wasn’t the only artist to secure himself a phenomenal touring band; Plini surrounded himself with YouTube sensation and drummer Troy Wright, and bassist Simon Grove and guitarist Jake Howsam Lowe of the Helix Nebula. The crowd went wild between each song of the set, shouting out their love for Plini and his music. When Plini played his newest song, “Every Piece Matters”, he encouraged his fans to join in.
The crowd was disappointed when Plini’s performance came to a close, but those feelings were quickly overcome by their excitement for the show’s headliner, Aaron Marshall. When Marshall joined Plini and Grove on the stage, the audience was quickly captivated by the ensuing performance. Plini and Marshall complemented each other’s’ playing beautifully, though the set was unfortunately cut short by a curfew, much to the crowd’s dismay. However, Marshall handled the setback well, and although the attendees didn’t get to hear quite as much of Intervals as we had hoped, it was still a terrific show.