Rivers of Nihil finished off their fall tour with an unusual show in Indianapolis.
Rivers of Nihil finished their Fall tour with The Contortionist last Saturday at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a concept tour in a way. Not only did The Contortionist play two of their albums in their entirety, but Rivers of Nihil also played an album straight through. That is something I had never seen before.
The Old National Centre was known to me for most of my life as the Murat Theatre, the oldest (extant) stage house in Indianapolis. It is a beautiful place with many performance areas including the main theater, The Egyptian Room, and a number of other halls and lobbies. The Rivers of Nihil show was in one of the lower levels in a small hall at the back. It is nicer than I am making it sound – imagine a decent-sized room where a wedding reception might be held with a stage on one side.
The evening got off to a peculiar start when Rivers of Nihil took the stage. The bassist, Adam Biggs, announced that the lead singer, Jake Dieffenbach, would not be performing due to “personal issues.” However, if it was OK with the crowd, the rest of the band would play anyway. The crowd agreed (what else could they do?) and the show went on with Biggs handling the vocal duties. At one point someone did jump on stage to sing for part of a song and I am pretty sure it was Dieffenbach, but in the darkness it was hard to tell.
Rivers of Nihil played their most recent album, The Work (Metal Blade Records 2021) straight through. This album has received a lot of good press (including from me) for its depth of expression. In many ways, Rivers of Nihil have a strong Pink Floyd component going with these songs, particularly in their exploratory nature. There is an extended lyrical presence in the work, and the generous use of saxophones during the live performance greatly enhanced the experience. The lighting was particularly dim and deeply colored, with the liberal use of strobe effects to drive the etherealness home. Even without their usual lead singer, the show they put on ran for an hour and was fantastic.
That’s it for the Fall tour, but Rivers of Nihil are back out on the road in Europe starting in November on the Faces of Death Tour. They will be in the northeast in December for three shows with Killswitch Engage as well, so there are a lot of opportunities remaining to see them this year. Get out there and do it.
Photos by Wayne Edwards.
This post is condensed / rewritten from the Ghost Cult Magazine article which is linked below.
Ghost Cult Magazine article on the show, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/concert-review-the-contortionist-rivers-of-nihil-live-at-old-national-centre-indianapolis/
Rivers Of Nihil, https://www.riversofnihil.com/
Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/rivers-of-nihil/
The Contortionist, https://www.thecontortionist.net/
© Wayne Edwards