After Nations’ outlying after dark blaze

The Advocate (CU Denver - Denver, CO)

The garage has been the fundamental abode of many a band; Seventh Circle Music Collective’s garage was where Kansas City instrumental prog-rockers, After Nations, pulled into on Oct. 15, showcasing its wildly diverse set of instrumentally voluptuous tunes. Keep in mind, this was no ordinary garage. What would normally have been an unimposing home, Seventh Circle iswedged in between two desolate buildings near Federal and 7th.

A creaky metal door provided a portal into the backdrop of the night. The walls were so plastered with band stickers it was hard to even tell how it originallyexisted, a sign of the history that the lone garage had contained. Used drumsticks littered the ceiling like a bed of needles, and the stage was a small and intimate affair. While the venue, thankfully, takes in an enjoyable variety of genres, it is indeed the epitome of the dilapidated punk paradise.

There was a meditative tranquility about the setting. The faint hum and whir of the heater buzzed above a beat up couch perched off to the side, host to a comfortably curled up lone couple. They were in for a treat, as the experimental and therapeutic drone musician Of Earth And Sun, and fellow progressive instrumentalists Solterra warmed up the stage, and the crowd. While the audience was sparse and scattered about, it provided a very comfortable hangout to take in the ambiance of the harmonious noise.

The garage door at the back of the venue provided the only, yet uniquely efficient way for the bands to load in their piles of equipment. As quickly as the last set ended, After Nations’ set had begun full force. “Latrocinium Cabal” was the song of choice to introduce the unknowing audience to the band’s fresh and instrumentally chaotic sound.

Immediately, they stood apart as a formidably unique addition to the ever-expanding instrumental prog-rock genre. Despite the band’s high-energy performance, the audience was disappointingly passive. This hardly fazed the band,as the band’s drummer, Trent Utley, was all smiles and flailing limbs throughout the whole set. Guitarist Andrew Elliott did not hold back as he furiously picked at his guitar strings, while shuffling all about. Bassist Tyler Mehaffey swayed to and fro, providing a controlled restraint that pulled the performance together.

“The Agodox Crown” was an all new track from the band’s upcoming EP, for which they are currently seeking funding through Kickstarter. Jazzy-groovy in feel, it provided a sultry-sexy interlude into the frenzying finishing track “Gilgamesh II.” Or so they thought, until an audience member shouted, “One more!” And so they played one more, as a trio of moshers somehow mustered up the strength to release their pent up energy.

After Nations proved that enthusiasm for innovation is still fully present in the musical industry, and the Seventh Circle was the perfect underground match for their passionately spellbounding performance. The band is to be heard, and the venue is to be experienced. Both are still fairly unknown, but their alternative appeal will assure this won’t be for long.

~ Vy Pham