Animals as Leaders (AAL) @ Warehouse Live 5/11/12 by Joseph A.

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After 14 years, Thrice announced their farewell tour and had their last show for probably awhile on Friday night at Warehouse Live. This wasn’t the reason I stopped by Friday, as I honestly have no interest in them. The real reason I showed up was to see Tosin Abasi and his band Animal as Leaders (AAL). I picked up on Tosin from last year who ranked him as #2 of their 25 top modern metal guitarists from the past 5 years. I watched the video for CAFO and was surprised how great of a guitar player he really is. I don’t know how to properly describe but a quick search says they play “instrumental progressive metal” with jazz fusion. This is something I really don’t see opening for Thrice. I showed up to the show on that gloomy night about 5 minutes before AAL hit the stage. Warehouse was pretty packed by this time already. The crowd wasn’t’ the normal band shirt/jeans type of crowd with the normal few weirdos mixed in.  There were plenty of polos, button ups, and flat caps. Most of the girls I saw were semi dressed up as well. Kind of a hipster-ish crowd with a some post-hardcore/punk fans. AAL’s stage set up was pretty simple with a screen on each side and the drum set up in the middle. Both guitarists used 8 string guitars, something you don’t see all the time. When the show started it wasn’t exactly what I expected to hear, but I really didn’t know their sound too well anyway. A lot of the guitars were off beat and some just didn’t sound like they flowed together, but it didn’t make it bad. There really wasn’t a big crowd reaction for them, except when Tosin would play a solo, which will get a crowd reaction at mostly any show. The problem was he constantly played solos, so the crowd reactions kind of died down. I’m not exactly how much the crowd enjoyed AAL but I’m sure most people enjoyed the visuals on the screens. They went together perfectly with their music. AAL played roughly 40 minutes, and closed out their set with CAFO which got a decent reaction from the crowd and even a small pit. I really don’t get why there was a pit for them. They do have some good heavy riffs mixed in but each to their own.  Along with hearing CAFO the other highlight of the night was getting complimented on my shirt, a Judas Priest 2004 tour shirt, as being the best one at the show. I didn’t waste much time leaving as soon as they were done, but got stuck with the very hard rain that night. Luckily for me it ended early enough for me to get out before Thrice came on. I’m not hating on them, but Tosin Abasi is just under appreciated and I’m sure most people didn’t pay too much attention to em that night.

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