Portland-based Emancipator kicked off the Emancipator Ensemble Winter Tour at Republic in New Orleans on January 14th, hosted by Winter Circle Productions. This is the four piece live band’s first tour together and the show marked one of their first live appearances ever. The Ensemble played their debut shows in Colorado last November– peep the beautiful recap video of those shows here:
The four, who collectively look a bit like that awkward crew of D&D-playing dudes you went to high school with, kill it. The drummer seemed to be clutching a beer in one hand throughout the entire show while enthusiastically bringing those driving and addictive drum beats Emancipator’s known for. The bass player was steady in supporting violinist’s Ilya Goldberg‘s piercing melodies as Emancipator (Doug Appling) himself held down the guitar. The four worked together with a level of ease that was a pleasure to watch and certainly manifested in the music they produced. Adding to the magic was a “brand new large scale custom video show” involving evolving abstract brush strokes of color that matched the symphonic layers of sound.
For me, Ilya Goldberg’s violin solos were the most striking and memorable element of the show. Goldberg has been touring with Emancipator since before the Ensemble got together and the two have obviously had plenty of practice time, on and off the stage. The haunting quality Goldberg’s violin invokes was exemplified by his work on Anthem, a tune off Emancipator‘s first album Soon it Will be Cold Enough (it gets really gorgeous at 3:00 on the original track if you’re following along at home).
In short, the Emancipator Ensemble delivered. I left the show feeling like I always do after a good Emancipator sesh– nostalgic but at peace– and inspired by depth and quality of the live instruments. Make sure to catch the tour, which will be accompanied by a variety of artists including Odesza and Blockhead and has announced dates running through April.