Aqueous Goes Big in Rochester

It was an unremarkable day on the calendar and a fairly unremarkable day outside, but inside the doors of Anthology in Rochester big things were happening. Buffalo’s Aqueous, who’ve called Rochester their second home since near their inception, were moving on from their frequent and beloved haunt Flour City Station. Like a hermit crab, they shed that shell and crawled the short distance down East Ave and nestled into the much larger Anthology. Remarkably, the band sold the venue out on their first visit.

Everything about the move was big, The crowd, the stage, the lights, the sound. The crab had long outgrown its shell and was just yearning for this expansion. In other words, Aqueous wasn’t overwhelmed by the shift. On the contrary, it allowed for a huge release long in the making. To celebrate the occasion, the band planned to even make the show bigger, by adding a third set. And not just any set, plopped right in the middle of two regular-sized Aqueous sets was a fully improvised second set.

It was a risky endeavor, but at worst a ho-hum jam set had the safety of being surrounded by two strong Aqueous sets. Ho-hum it wasn’t. The band found theme upon theme upon groove in five to ten minute segments pieced together seamlessly for a full 65 minutes. During that hour all in attendance were equals. No matter if this was someone’s first show or someone’s 100th, no one knew what was to come, band included.

The set had no lulls and little to no meandering. It was defined and refined jamming. It felt familiar, until it didn’t, until it did again, mixing and matching genres along the way. It was EDM, then, “Oh damn!” It got Dead-y, then deadly, Phishy then fizzy, went from metal to meta, Ska to “Gah!” PeAQ Aqueous. When the band revisits the recording of the set they could easily mine a few new songs from it.

The middle set was the highlight of the night, but of course there was plenty to love about sets one and three. “The Median” opener blasted the evening open with a soaring fiery jam. “Origami” got disco funky before a slow building theme peaked and exploded. “Good Enough” contained one of the more beautiful segments of the night, with a progression reminiscent of Jerry Garcia Band’s version of “Dear Prudence.” And “All In” and Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” were a fun big rock combo to close out the third set in the wee hours of the morning.

Anthology still has that new venue smell and is ripe for the taking. Friday night, Aqueous put a stake in the ground. All that’s left to do is raise the flag. Their new Rochester home is well underway to being claimed.

Setlist:
I: The Median, Kitty Chaser (Explosions) > Undone – The Sweater Song (Weezer) > Kitty Chaser (Explosions), Origami > Good Enough > Complex I, Warren in the Window
II: Improv
III: 20/20 > Aldehyde, Underlyer > Marty, All In > Run Like Hell (Pink Floyd) > All In
E: Jam > Triangle