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Ceremony At The Center for the Arts, Thursday, March 8th, 2012



Ceremony at the Center for the Arts, where do I start? It was an intense sweat bath, a pile of bodies forming the biggest melee I have ever seen.

As soon as Ceremony opened with the tribal beats and violent riffs of their first song ‘Hysteria’, people were leaning on the stage, pushing like a herd of hungry animals, climbing on each other, beating imaginary drums, making one huge human wall that some others were restlessly climbing,… err did you say hysteria?

I immediately thought, there was no way I could stay in the front, if I had tried I would have certainly been crushed by this human tsunami right away, although I saw some brave (or totally insane?) petite girls braving the wave of testosterone and staying front row during the whole show… But I went on the side of the stage and I should thank the organizers who allowed me to stay there (I think it was FYF fest founder Sean Carlson who told me I was fine there!), giving me the best place to observe this human twister.

Frontman and singer Ross Farrar, shouting his repetitive lines with a raging conviction, was taking a real pleasure in his constant assaults toward the crowd, which was responding with more body-contact that in a

He got involved in the mosh pit more than once, but at this point, people were crushing themselves so much against the Center for the Arts very low stage, that they had invaded it, before diving back into the mayhem.

It was impressive and scary as hell at time, as the tall amp on my left was shaking and moving, barely maintained in place by men who were applying all their body mass on it to be sure it would not fall. People were simply nuts, all possessed by the rawness of the sound, and Farrar was anxiously walking on stage like an enraged drunken guy, yelling and venting his furious vocals sometimes barely audible above viscous and irritated guitars, and stomping drums.

Ceremony’s violent riffs, going from fast pure punk rage to unsafe loud hardcore, were extremely powerful and were deeply moving people physically and emotionally. It was as if these young guys were unleashing all their anger at once, and magically the produced chaos was making a truly beautiful ensemble, all arms raised toward the same goal at the same time. The proof? I was totally shooting pictures carelessly, as much as I could, and many of them turned out unexpectedly quite good.

I recognized many songs of Ceremony’s new album ‘Zoo’, as they sounded a little different and more upbeat than their older material, although most of the time they were embodying the same violence, simply decorated with more hooks. There were ‘World Blue’ and its fake stop-starts, the slower and more monotonous ones like ‘Repeating the circle’, during which the crowd was almost taking a sort of break, and the aggressiveness of power-chord-numbers like ‘Citizen’ and ‘Adult’. They also kept coming back to some songs off their 2010 album ‘Rohnert Park’ and their 2006 ‘Violence Violence’.

Ceremony, which does even have a Facebook page, had easily sold out the show organized by the FYF Fest. If they claim to get its broad influences from bands like Joy Division, Pink Floyd, Negative Approach, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and Tom Wait, after this show, I am certainly convinced that their full-body-grabbing abrasive tunes, even with the new direction the band is taking now, move people to an extreme level, rarely seen elsewhere. When they stopped (and I don’t think they played all their songs written on their setlist, may be for security reasons?) it was like getting out of the hole you were hiding in during an earthquake, you know what I mean, some brain-shaking event that has transformed you.


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