Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ceremony at the Bowery Ballroom

Ross Farrar
Ceremony originated as a punk rock band Violent World in 2005 in Rohnert Park, California. As the music became faster and faster, the band renamed itself Ceremony after a Joy Division song. Ironically, while the first album was a hardcore punk album, each subsequent album has been slower and more brooding, sounding closer to Joy Division each time. Ceremony's fifth album, The L-Shaped Man, was released on May 19, 2015. The band is comprised of vocalist Ross Farrar, guitarists Anthony Anzaldo and Andy Nelson, bassist Justin Davis, and drummer Jake Casarotti.

While Ceremony's five albums gradually moved from hardcore punk to increasingly ominous and discordant post-punk, the band interspersed all of those timelines at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. While the audience seemed to embrace it all, the older songs received the greatest response, demonstrated by pit-moshers, crowd-surfers and stage-divers. Yet, it seemed that once angry, the core of the band's has retreated to a simmering despair, a sadness that resounded Joy Division, the Smiths, Wire and Echo & the Bunnymen. The band performed this well, but by evolving from one retro epoch to another, the band did not break new ground. Nevertheless, a genuine sense of honesty prevailed, and perhaps it was this earnestness that helped the die-hard fans appreciate Ceremony's softer change of direction.

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