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Bob Moses at Ace of Spades

It was the first time Bob Moses performed in Sacramento, CA and I have a feeling they will be back!

Glistening gold accents frame the stage at Ace of Spades — with the intricate interior resembling a temple, the statues encourage the audience to give their offerings to the artists at the altar. And on Saturday night, the audience did just that, offering their undivided attention and enthusiasm to Bob Moses and Mansionair.

For its Oakland visit of the “Battle Lines” tour, Canadian electronic band Bob Moses performed as the headliner after Australian alternative rock trio Mansionair. Mansionair is known for its atmospheric sound and minimalist aesthetic. The impeccable control of Alex Nicholls and Lachlan Bostock over their instruments — drums and keyboard, respectively — compliment the smooth vocals of lead singer Jack Froggatt exceptionally.

The anticipation for Bob Moses, the chief entertainer of the night, was unbelievable. As the band came onstage, a big wave of fans rushed to the front of the stage in a matter of seconds. The entire floor was full, hands thrust high in the air. When Bob Moses began playing “Heaven Only Knows,” the crowd went wild.

Contrary to Mansionair’s more interactive and paced performance, Bob Moses delivered relentless, unyielding exhilaration. Playing song after song, the band members did not stop to rest. Their repertoire mostly consisted of the tracks from their new album Battle Lines, including the title track, “Eye for an Eye,” “Selling Me Sympathy” and “Nothing But You.”

The visual effects for these songs were exquisite. During one, the light panels placed behind the band reflected the guitar chords that were being played. This creative use of lighting was a particularly efficient way to seize the audience’s attention.

The vocals of Bob Moses were extremely consistent and powerful throughout the show. The synched energy of the band members for many of the tracks was also impressive. For instance, the consistent piano chords mixed with the vulnerability in singer Tom Howie’s voice in “Enough to Believe” created an exceedingly solemn vibe. In “Listen to Me” and “Back Down,” the combination of a bass pulse and synth emphasized a message of defiance.

A general pattern in the songs performed was a fluctuation between a complex sound consisting of various instrumentals and vocals, and vocals in isolation — a dying-down into a singular form of sound and a crescendo into a synthesis of sounds kept the songs dynamic and intriguing.

It was a great performance by Bob Moses and we hope Sacramento can host them again.

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Arik Ruiz

September 24th, 2018

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