Gig Review: Caligula’s Horse w/ I Built The Sky & Kripke’s Illusion

Headliner: Caligula's Horse

Supports: I Built The Sky + Kripke's Illusion

Venue: Jack Rabbit Slim's, Perth WA.

Date: 28th September 2017

Review + Photos: Andre Avila (Redwood Visions)

The progressive metal powerhouse Caligula’s Horse began their ‘In Contact’ Australian Tour at Perth’s Jack Rabbit Slims to celebrate their fourth album In Contact, which was released in September. To fulfill a night of progressive wonder – Caligula’s Horse was backed up by the progressive technical machines from Melbourne: I Built The Sky, and the very surreal, progressive rock outfit from Perth: Kripke’s Illusion.

The extravagant tapestry of surreal, progressive rock outfit Kripke’s Illusion, set the night off. This 4-piece unit are a relatively small band from Perth, with only a handful of tracks listed on their Bandcamp – so expectations were vague. The band set off with a mystifying atmospheric intro to a track titled “Flight Mechanics”. What was immediately apparent was how dynamic this band was. Their mix accommodated for a surprisingly wide range of sounds and instrumental shifts which were invigorating to experience live. Kripke’s Illusion have lengthy tracks – most were at least seven minutes plus – and surprisingly, nothing seemed to drag on. Their sounds are laced with layers of abstract synths, keys, enhanced with layers of progressive guitar tones and beautiful harmonies from guitarist/vocalist: Jesse James, and keyboardist: Sean Bernard. Additionally, the bass player: Dario Lo Monaco, was phenomenal. The band would leave room for him to fill in these technical bass licks that added great changes of pace – showing off his incredible ability. The band ended their set with a track titled: Fortitude, another lengthy track – bursting with dynamic tone changes and instrumental movements: the song opened with a peaceful intro, and smoothly transitioned into a progressive sound with heavy emphasis on guitar, yet layered with grooving melodies and atmospheres. Furthermore, it shifted into a jazzy highlight, laced with an 80s-style synthesizer, then transitioned back to its progressive rock sound. A perfect warm-up for the night that had heads turning across the venue, Kripke’s Illusion have serious potential with a refreshingly unique sound.

Up next, instrumental progressive one-man outfit I Built The Sky, took the stage, and stormed straight into “Stratiformis”, the first track off their latest LP The Sky Is Not The Limit. Front-man Ro Han absolutely owns the stage, backed up by his friends on bass and drums, the spotlight is heavily focused on his phenomenal technical proficiency. Ro shreds so effortlessly with incredible style and stage presence, making it mesmerising to watch. I Built The Sky also played early tracks such as “Mammatus” from his 2012 self-titled LP, and “Perlucidus” from his 2014 EP: Inortus. Each were played to near-perfection, as he tapped, chugged and swept his bright blue axe through the night. Bass player Sam Tan is also an absolute pleasure to watch live, with an amazing showcase of complexity in his playing, his stage presence and movement makes for an invigorating performance. The band started to fill the floor at this point, it was near-impossible not be absorbed by the masterful craftsmanship and catchy riffs – tracks like “Radiatus” where Ro effortlessly shreds an insane solo, hardly missing a single note, his guitar tones cut through the mix very cleanly. There was also great feature of his 2016 single “Merry Christmas” which had heads moving across the venue, which only multiplied when they chugged into the pure progressive-metal riffage of “Humilis” which had a full floor of heads banging. Ro even fist-bumped the front row audience-members as he chugged through the “Humilis” breakdown. To end the set, he dropped his tuning down to prepare for the catchy mayhem of “Aviaticus”, an abundance of tapping and polyrhythmic chugging that was truly hypnotic to watch. I Built The Sky put on a stellar set, continuing the theme of epic performances.

Finally, to conclude the night was the progressive powerhouse: Caligula’s Horse. The stage-lights cut, leaving only the graphic display, flickering the band’s logo to an atmospheric soundscape as the members took the stage one at a time. The floor was completely packed with happy faces keen to experience the eclectic power of the band’s opening track: “Dream The Dead” off their latest LP In Contact. The band’s dynamic overstated sound flooded the venue. The mixing was on point, the guitar tones were crisp – with intricate solos from Adrian Goleby and Sam Vallen that pierced through cleanly. The drums sounded incredible, with both excellent mixing, and an ultra-tight performance from Josh Griffin. Matched with layers of atmospheres sounded almost symphonic at times, and the powerful vocal harmonies from lead vocalist Jim Grey and bassist Dave Couper. Jim’s voice was outstanding, to a near-perfect level, hardly any errors in pitch, and was remarkably consistent. His dynamic ability was also showcased on “The City Has No Empathy” from the band’s 2011 LP Moments From Ephemeral City, effortlessly going from delicate falsettos to powerful harmonies. Jim’s comedic stage presence was also a highlight of the night, with continual banter with the audience that made for very entertaining moments between songs. Caligula’s Horse also featured tracks like “Firelight” from their 2015 album Bloom, “Dragonfly” – which was a great addition to the band’s live set. The band then moved to “Dark Hair Down” from their 2013 album: The Tide, the Thief & River’s End, where Jim hilariously commented this is the last song before they leave for their “bullshit fake encore thing”. The band briefly left the stage, and returned for a monumental rendition of “Bloom” and the award-winning “Marigold”, performed with driving energy and power. Caligula’s Horse kept immense energy from beginning to end, and every track was played with vigorous care and precision. The ‘In Contact’ tour is not one you want to miss, get your tickets now!

Check out the full gallery of photos from the show below:

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