Review: The End Of The Ocean Hypnotizes The Crowd In Boston

The personal and cathartic set left us floating.

By Jeremy Ames - Feb 11, 2019
Columbus-based band The End of the Ocean plays an electric instrumental set at Great Scott in Boston, Massachusetts. The personal and cathartic set left us floating.

It was a freezing winter night in Boston, and The End of the Ocean were less than a minute into their first song of the night, "endure". The audience was swaying to the subtle keyboard work of Tara Mayer when it happened—drummer Wes Jackson's launched into a potent roll, and the rest of the Columbus-based 5-piece rocked into gear. Flanked by the speakers blasting everything right down to Tara's trill, we were bathed in sound. At that moment it was clear that while most music is better when turned up, The End of the Ocean absolutely must be on full blast.

Tides of Man from Tampa, Florida, had opened the night with a set filled with dynamic riffs, potent drum solos, and a sound that was at times reminiscent of Snow Patrol. The collection of songs off their 2018 album Every Nothing set the stage perfectly for the headliner.

Photo by Jeremy Ames

Having recently signed with Equal Vision Records, TEOTO carried us through a set comprised mainly of instrumentals from their newly released album, -aire. Tara later described the album as being laced with themes that "grapple with humanity." Throughout the writing process, she explained, the band “had collectively dealt with sick family members, band members with mental health issues, and a host of other challenges." She finished, saying, "In the end, we all process things differently."

Those challenges seemed contrary to the boisterous second track of their performance, "bravado", which forced one to speculate that whether it was music itself that carried the band through those tough times. That particular song also represented how they "don't write intentionally." Along with the two aforementioned artists, Kevin Shannon (guitar), Trish Chisholm (guitar), and Jason Han (bass) all contribute to TEOTO's unique writing process, which entails jamming together until “ultimately a song emerges.” In the corner of the room, with the dramatic end to "bravado" raining down, a dormant collection of cymbals was brought to life by the vibration.

Photo by Jeremy Ames

"Find redemption for yourselves," implored Tara as the band began the heroic "redemption". When asked later how she had assumed the role of in-show spokesperson, she simply claimed that "she feels comfortable on the mic." Their performance of "forsaken" began slowly and then ripped across the crowd. Despite the lack of vocals on any of their songs, listening closely one might hear the lyrics "I am forsaken" repeat in their head.

It's easy to listen to TEOTO, particularly live, and imagine them performing the soundtrack of thriller or saga. In the back, the TV at the Great Scott bar silently played Point Break, the '90s thriller featuring Keanu Reeves and a lot of surfing. While patrons opted to be engrossed in the music, somehow, it fit the scene.

The night wrapped with inspirational track, "desire". "The album was cathartic," she said, and as the final, turned up note washed over the audience. Those who had braved the frigid Boston night would certainly agree.

Photo by Jeremy Ames
The End of the Ocean
Jeremy Ames

Jeremy is CEO of Hive Tech HR and founder of Ear4Talent. He's also a contributing writer for TechTarget and other professional mediums on the future of work. He's author of The ETA Exchange, a frequent guest on podcasts and quoted in publications like The Washington Post. Jeremy's music journalism pairs a lifelong passion for music and ear for talent with his writing. His goal with Bandsintown is to form interesting angles and enlighten readers to music a few stanzas outside the mainstream.

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