Words and Photos by: Nicole L. Browner

From Monument to Masses means so much to a lot of people, and this is something easy to forget when a band goes on a prolonged hiatus. I still listen to The Impossible Leap once or twice a week, dwelling in the memories of their shows, which always left me feeling reborn.

Last night Bottom of the Hill sold out by the time doors opened, and frequent audience shouts for the headliners during first two bands made it clear that excitement was in the air.

Built for the Sea‘s warmth seems to radiate from the stage, their performances are so heartfelt. Maybe it’s the explosive energy coming from Eric Kuhn on drums (The Aimless Never Miss, Silian Rail) or every serene sound that the wide-eyed Lia Rose makes.

Next up comes another local act, Crime in Choir, who undeniable subscribes to the school of jam bands. The songs are led by saxophone and long-winded facemelters, then without notice an ambient tangent becomes four, five minutes and I’m brought back to earth when I hear the song’s end applause.

By the end of Crime’s set, the place is so packed one can’t lift an arm and people start to scream when they see Sergio take the stage to set up. The anticipation is building, but everyone knows FMTM is a band with members not slaved to one but many different musical responsibilities, so set up is thorough.

From Monument to Masses have not forgotten their old tricks – they-ve dusted off their samples of political commentary and current events for the occasion, seaming together the epicness of the performance. They’ve not forgotten how to shred, either – both Matthew Solberg and Sergio trace up and down fret boards, Matthew including all our favorite guitar melodies from “Comrades and Friends,” and throwing in clean harmonics plucking so sweet to the ear.

Appreciative heads are bopping to both new songs and old; people are dancing more so than at the Independent last night for the French Kicks (shocking, but true). After hearing obnoxious requests to play “Sharpshooter,” FMTM politely declined; Francis flew in too late the previous night for the band to prepare. But it’s fair to say the long awaited return of relentlessly political, emotionally meaningful music has woken from its slumber.

The new record On Little Known Frequencies, lighter in spirit, has been electronically released but will be available in stores on March 10. The band announced they’ll be heading out across the country with Dredg and Torche this spring. More information can be found on their website.