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Animals as Leaders Tear the Roof Off South Florida

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The Legendary Modern Instrumental Metal Band Make a Special One-Off Appearance at the Most Intimate Venue in South Florida – Photos and Review of the Animals as Leaders Concert at the Culture Room in Ft Lauderdale, FL

When I found out the incredible Animals as Leaders were making their return to the Culture Room as a side-quest on the way to their gig at the S.S. Neverender cruise, I could hardly contain my excitement. The last time they were here almost 8 years ago, they sold out the venue with ease weeks before the show even began, and it seems they have accomplished this impressive feat once again. Fans of the band’s progressive metal and instrumental virtuosity were already lined up around the block when I arrived, ready to witness Tosin Abasi and the rest of the crew put on an extraordinary musical event like none other.

Although the night’s spotlight was firmly on Animals as Leaders, the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra was also scheduled to appear, but unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute. However, this helped set the night apart from the typical concert experience and allowed Animals as Leaders the freedom to delve into their extensive discography and dig out some older jams for a more intimate and personal performance. As the venue filled full of dedicated fans ready to see their guitar hero deliver his unique brand of eight-string expertise, the lights finally dimmed and the Animals logo appeared on the LED screens flanking the stage.

As smoke filled the room and the lighting began to flash, mastermind Tosin Abasi took center stage alongside fellow guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Matt Garstka as the crowd roared with approval. Kicking off their set with “Tooth and Claw“, the trio created an otherworldly soundscape that seemed to defy the limitations of their instruments. The absence of vocals didn’t hinder the band’s ability to communicate deep emotions through their music as their intricate compositions and virtuosic playing spoke volumes, resonating with the crowd.

Throughout the evening, Animals as Leaders took the audience on a journey through their diverse discography, but focused mostly on their brand new album “Parrhesia“. Of course, they also had to bust out some fan-favorite jams like “Wave of Babies” and “Ectogenesis“. The venue lacked the band’s normal visual accouterments and psychedelic visuals, but the stripped down production allowed for more freedom in the setlist for improvisation and seamless fusion of complex rhythms and melodic interplay showcased the band’s evolution over the years. After some more mellow songs from their latest release, the band finished up their time on stage with their guitar-wizardry filled hits “Physical Education” and “The Woven Web“, along with the song that originally put the band on the map, “CAFO“, which had fans headbanging and swaying in unison.

For fans of progressive metal and instrumental music, the Animals as Leaders concert was a night to remember. The lack of opening acts allowed the band to shine on their own terms, providing an intimate and immersive experience for their fans. The virtuosity and innovation displayed by Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes and Matt Garstka left the audience in awe. Animals as Leaders proved once again that their unique brand of instrumental genius has the ability to create an unforgettable night of music, where the absence of words is more than compensated for by the language of their instruments.

Gleb Barabanov is South Florida Insider's Vice President, Graphic Designer and Webmaster, as well as a Photographer and Writer covering events all over the world. Originally born in Odessa, Ukraine, Gleb now calls the sunny Florida area home, where he attended Full Sail University and received a Bachelors of Arts in Film Production. Gleb is obsessed with music, cameras, guitars, and his Shiba Inu, Yoshi

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