by Andrew Agena
The first time I listened to Duster, I felt immediately teleported through the gritty nostalgia of the 90s and the spacy rock feel of a trip gone right. This unique distorted warbling was influential to many musicians but had faded into obscurity until a recent resurgence of fans found a new interest in the band. Ultimately resulting in a rerelease box set of their first two albums titled Capsule Losing Contact as well as their first new album in almost 20 years, Duster.
When I arrived at the Catalyst I was surprised to find a mixed group of millennials, skaters, metal heads, and some dads. Duster came onto the stage and it was the only time where I saw the musicians as just dudes. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just when they first took the stage I thought they were the roadies until they picked up their guitars and started strumming. The Atrium had a nice, intimate atmosphere, so much so that I felt like I couldn’t even take a picture since it felt so invasive. There were two guitarists, a drummer and a bassist. The bassist was a model for all bassists; he was tall, he had long hair, he didn’t smile, he didn’t move much, but he played his bass with the precision and patience of a master fisherman. The drummer had the equally difficult task of keeping that slow tempo that gives Duster their unique spacey feel, nevertheless he played the sticks perfectly for being visibly frustrated at the guitars for making his ears bleed.
However, the real show lies within the two guitars, one wore all black with long black hair, a loose man-bun and a greying beard while the other looked like a Dad with salt-and-pepper hat hair and the remnants of old rock tattoos. The magic was in the duality of the two warring guitars, while one was playing long, beautifully drawn out chords, the other went on riffs. They balanced pure head banging joy with controlled chaos, and their warring distortion gave their guitars a raw uncut form of rock we’ve been missing for so long, the real sound of escapism. The setlist was great, they had a great mix of moshable songs and downer 90s prom. There were even some moments in the music when I could close my eyes and feel like I was spinning without gravity.
The best thing was to see the chemistry of the band together, they really just looked like a group of friends who decided to get the ol’ band back together. Their tour ends in March, and I get the feeling it may be a while before we can see Duster live again. All in all, the concert was a great experience, and I greatly encourage those who haven’t heard Duster’s music to give them a listen.