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Cave In, Coalesce in Atlanta — Exclusive Photos

Cave In“Five minutes,” A man yells from stage to the crowd filling the bar and halls of Atlanta’s Masquerade on Oct. 7. Earlier in the year, this same venue hosted the Scion Rock Fest, which boasted one of those sludgiest and numbingly unforgiving metal festivals to ever happen in the U.S., with bands like Mastodon and Neurosis topping the lineup. And once again, on Scion’s dime, Cave In and Coalesce take to the same venue, like someone had set the way-back machine for 1998.

Relaxed, smiling and house lights scorching, Cave In take to the stage for the second time since ending their hiatus — launching into the space riff ‘Luminance’. Unlike the Cave In of old, the band has nothing to set out and prove. They’ve carried the label of influential hardcore band, and they’ve done the major label dance; this Cave In is about enjoyment, comfort and playing when time allows — when day jobs give vacations. Some of these guys have kids; they can’t live in a van again. This is the new way bands are getting back together.

By end of the spastic new song, ‘Retina Sees Rewind’ from the ‘Planets of Old’ EP, three different conversations peeked up louder than the applause and the Orca-mating effects flowing from stage. All the conversations boasted of who saw Cave In earlier, and what songs they played-the old heavy songs of course. With that, Cave In barreled into ‘Moral Eclipse,’ the opening track from the shattering ‘Until Your Heart Stops.’ On first scream, Stephen Brodsky releases a huge laugh and smile. The harsh throat treatment used to be a regular activity, but the now-singer/songwriter only visits this attitude and form with Cave In.

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Cave In, Coalesce in Atlanta — Exclusive Photos
Cave In, Coalesce perform live in Atlanta
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Brian Manley for NoiseCreep.com

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Almost in some kind of trance, the crowd sways like flowers in a violent storm. But when the swirling violence of the riff of ‘Juggernaut’ fills the room, faces light up in reflex. But by the song’s end, a fan begins to yell from the bar down to the crowd on the main floor, taunting and losing his voice as he picks a fight with the crowd as a wrestler does. “You have something to say?” Bassist Caleb Scofield asks the fan, as the band joins with the crowd staring upward.

The zealot stumbles on words. “I’m an old bastard, and these kids were just eight when you wrote that song,” he says as he points at the audience. “I’m just trying to say thank you for playing ‘Juggernaut.’”

This fan would later go on to describe himself as a “36-year-old bastard,” and yell at the crowd, saying, “You’re dancing all wrong,” along with tirades that went on all night.

The band ended their set by playing a song for the die-hard fans. Almost like the spotting of an endangered animal, Cave In display their majesty by playing ‘Inflatable Dream,’ which most fans consider to be one of their most perfect songs.

With that, Coalesce takes to the stage, which alone the idea of a stage and Coalesce brings an awkward feeling as something that should not be. But the room shakes with no hesitation as the band pummels into ‘The Comedian in Question,’ from their critically applauded comeback full-length, ‘OX.’

“This barrier is like a show condom, and it’s freaking me out,” Ingram announces to the crowd, looking disconnected from his normal between song breather of being padded and caressed by fans in between songs.

As is the case with all Coalesce shows, the one to watch fade in and out of the reality of the moment is guitarist Jess Steineger, whose hands float high above his head, dancing, while his hips thrust throwing the guitar into a motion creating the noise, the chaos; the riff that destroys. At show’s end, Steineger and Ingram ended on the floor, spent with nothing more to give. Steineger’s hands were mangled and strange from running and scratching them over his guitar for the last song.

“Thanks for staying for us,” Ingram says to the crowd. A few fans yell for older songs left out, but the moment was gone. It’s not 1998 anymore, and some things will be left behind. Rather than a crowd taking notes for their next zine as the house lights go up, a sea of Twitter updates begin.

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