Animals As Leaders, KEYAN @ Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 18/4/2023

Who said you can’t rock out on a Tuesday night? Adelaide really turned it on it selling out Lion Arts Factory with one of the most exciting and boundary pushing acts in the world of heavy music, Washington D.C’s Animals As Leaders supported by Adelaide locals and a band on the rise in KEYAN. The heavens might have opened up pouring on punters in the queue waiting to get in but it didn’t take long to dry off inside a packed Lion Arts Factory. The venue was well packed before KEYAN took the stage and there was a real buzz with what was about to unfold. Arguably they probably could have played a bigger venue and still sold that out. The line up for merch was massive with fans wanting to score one of the awesome t-shirts on sale as a reminder of how great this show was.

KEYAN in short were impressive and really did step up their game making the most of the opportunity playing to a big crowd who were there early. The band came out all guns blazing and left nothing on the table. It was loud, the walls were vibrating and the crowd were really in to it going hard early. Highlight from their set was Pulse and I have no doubt we will be hearing a lot more from these guys in the future.

Animals As Leaders have a fiercely loyal and die hard supporter base and Adelaide was no different. It was a masterclass in in prog metal and to label them as a band that just plays music with no vocals is disingenuous and shows a real lack of understanding of the genre. There was an energy and intensity that you don’t always experience at a live show but Animals As Leaders were able to tap in to that playing an absolute blinder highlighting why they are at the forefront of prog metal and heavy music. The geniuses behind the music are Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes and Matt Garstka and for the next two hours we got to marvel in their mastery.

Wow! What an opener with their classic Animals As Leaders song Tooth and Claw which set the tone for the rest of the show. Front man Tosin Abasi was all smiles as he could feel the energy in the room knowing that this show was going to be something quite remarkable. Arithmophobia and Ectogenesis followed and it is one thing to hear these songs played on CD and vinyl but hearing them brought to life is incredible. Tosin said a quick hello and someone yelled out ‘I love you’ to which he replied ‘I love you to’ introducing the next song as the first off recent album Parrhesia with Conflict Cartography.

Thoughts and Prayers was described by Tosin as a chill out song then asking the crowd later how many were had been with them since their 2009 debut album playing The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing / Behaving Badly. He made an interesting observation about toilets flushing in the opposite direction in Australia asking whether circle pits did the same thing here also, adding that the next song Gestaltzerfall wasn’t really a circle pit song if that’s what fans were thinking. Highlights for me included the likes of Micro-Aggressions, Wave of Babies and The Woven Web. After the band finished their set on Monomyth the crowd chanted for one more which they got with crowd favourite CAFO wrapping up an awesome night of music.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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