Floor's Oblation Album Release Show
Churchill's Pub, Miami
Wednesday, April 20, 2014
Reunions are so often stuck in the mire of underlying tension and unresolved drama, clouded by financial motivations, or just plain incapable of living up to the band's own myth that they tend to do disservice to an otherwise worthy legacy.
Then there's Florida sludge legends Floor, a group that has essentially spent its second chapter writing the how-to manual for successfully reuniting.
The doom-pop trio has been back on the active list since 2013, spending most of its time beating audiences into submission with sets cultivated from a now-classic catalog. However, last night, Miami finally celebrated the release of new Floor material with a gathering -- perhaps for the last time in current spirits -- at Churchill's Pub.
Picking up where the band left off in the early aughts, Oblation, in its deluxe-edition finery, is a 17-track goliath of slack-stringed dominance that delivers everything a Floor fan could ever hope for, with copious bomb-note salvos, led by frontman Steve Brooks' signature soaring melodicism.
The show was a tight knit meeting and hometown celebration for a band finally tasting the recognition it deserves. And when Floor hit the Churchill's stage, promptly at midnight, the band kicked off its set with the opening three tracks of Oblation in sequence.
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These latest songs absolutely bristled with the muscular guitar riffage that we've come to expect from Brooks and co-guitarist Anthony Vialon, rounded out with a more refined sense of negative aural space and sonic atmosphere. When the band kicked off "Trick Scene," drummer Henry Wilson peeked over his massive rack tom and flashed a telling smile that coincided with the group finding its stride amid the song's mid-tempo churn. The rest of the set was an absolute onslaught of gargantuan sounds, old and new, delivered by a band once again at the pinnacle of its abilities.
Woven into the set were plenty of the classics that melded seamlessly with the newer cuts. The instantly recognizable pump of "Scimitar" and the bludgeoning opening riff of "Iron Girl" were bright moments for crowd response, as were a pair of new tracks that featured a bit of uncharacteristically punk rock-style drumming, which even incited a stage-dive or two.
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Up on the Churchill's stage, Steve Brooks touched on the uncertainty that has loomed over the beloved Little Haiti landmark since the announcement of new ownership, mentioning that "Churchill's was the first place we played, and that it might be the last time we play here as we know it. Thank you for the opportunity."
The somber observation did little to dampen the mood, though. In fact, the rest of the set felt like an attempt to end things in some kind of sludge-rock seppuku. While Vialon and Brooks' full stacks spat out bombing note after beefy riff, Wilson attacked his drums with less mercy than ever, grinning maniacally as he thrashed away behind the kit. And as the venue's foundation shook, it felt all right, that if the pub was to be reduced to rubble in spirit, at least Floor could be the band to physically demolish it, with the respect and love of a family member.
If Churchill's could speak, we're sure it would want it that way.