Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Animals As Leaders

Car Bomb


6:30 pm doors, 8 pm show

$29.50 advance, $35 day of show, $39.50 21+ Reserved Balconyu

All ages welcome

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Animals As Leaders

Animals As Leaders

"As satisfying in their visceral kick as they are in dazzling displays of dexterity." - Rolling Stone

It might sound strange to associate "storytelling" with instrumental music. But ANIMALS AS LEADERS jettisoned the rules, limitations, and boundaries of conventional rock music from the start.

Armed with palette-expanding eight-string guitars, rich synths, and pummeling percussive grooves, the trio is beloved by metalheads, aspiring virtuosos, jazz fanatics, and casual listeners alike. As Pitchfork observed, "Animals As Leaders have walked the tightrope between sheer technical virtuosity and actual emotional resonance." Even without vocals, this is intimate, mythmaking music.

The band's diverse catalog plays like multiple seasons of a superb television series, the shows with consistent themes and characters throughout their runs which evolve without sacrificing their most essential elements. Animals As Leaders began as a solo outlet for guitarist Tosin Abasi, whose creative partnership with classically trained guitarist / audio engineer Javier Reyes and Berklee-educated drummer Matt Garstka is built on a shared love of everything from fusion to technical death metal.

The Chicago Tribune called Abasi "the closest thing prog-metal has to an Eddie Van Halen." MetalSucks is similarly enthusiastic. "Tosin Abasi is probably, on some ‘objective' level, one of the top ten guitarists of all time," they wrote. "His musical ideas are so creative, so colorful, and so unique relative to everything else going on in their general sphere of guitar-based music, that he just puts everyone to shame." In one of his many appearances on their cover, Guitar World named him among the Guitarists of the Decade. Rolling Stone featured him in their "Young Guns" series. Modern Drummer put Garstka on the cover, a year before he sat in with NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Steve Vai described the first album as "the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing." The Aquarian wrote, "Abasi's music has as much in common with Vai as it does Meshuggah, Victor Wooten or Allan Holdsworth." Tosin enlisted Reyes to support the album live, and the pair's creative guitar partnership persists. The music they make appeals equally to fans of Tool, Dream Theater, and Charlie Hunter, audiences as diverse as they are dedicated. Quickly ascending beyond the traditional confines of instrumental rock, the trio boast a unique blend of precision and organic feel.

Nowhere is that as evident as on Parrhesia, the band's ambitious fifth album, arriving in a post-pandemic world after the longest stretch between Animals As Leaders albums since 2009's self-titled debut. Of course, the prog-metal onslaught of the band's early output was never without nuance, gradually expanding over the years with increasingly wondrous shades of melody and immersive ambiance.

"Parrhesia isn't necessarily a reinvention, but it's a sharpening of the knife," Abasi explains. "It's a heavy album with an aim to make each song a clear musical statement. Where previous albums had acoustic guitars and electronic bits, this one skews back to the more aggressive end of the spectrum for us."

A decade on from its release, Kerrang! included sophomore album Weightless among its Best Albums of 2011, alongside milestone platters from Mastodon, Foo Fighters, Panic! At The Disco, and Janes Addiction. The Joy of Motion entered the Billboard 200 at No. 24 in 2014. The Madness of Many cracked the Top 20 two years later, propelled by increasing acclaim. Metal Hammer declared "the virtuosity and sounds" conjured by the "wizards" of AAL "jaw-dropping to behold." Spotify users streamed "Physical Education" close to 13 million times, putting The Joy of Motion single in the hallowed pantheon of fan-favorites like "Cafo," "The Brain Dance," and "Ectogenesis."

Parrhesia is the third album in the Animals As Leaders catalog produced by Misha Mansoor, a friend and contemporary best known as the founding member of Periphery. "We did The Madness of Many completely internally. I wanted to work with Misha again, as he was part of many of our quintessential songs, and I really like our collaboration," Abasi explains. "He produced five songs on this album and was also part of arrangement and songwriting sessions. In a way, he's like a silent fourth member."

All three esteemed musicians remain connected to their fiercely engaged audience via captivating shows, repeatedly studied albums and side projects. Abasi is the youngest member of Generation Axe, a touring supergroup featuring legendary guitar heroes Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Nuno Bettencourt. He performed all of the "air shred" moments in 2020's Bill & Ted Face the Music, following in the footsteps of Bettencourt (1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) and Steve Vai (1991's Bogus Journey). The G4 Experience includes Tosin alongside Joe Satriani and Guthrie Govan.

Now more than a decade into their career, a quick look at the bands they've toured with demonstrates the consistently diverse appeal of Animals As Leaders. It's a list that includes Korn, Deftones, Dance Gavin Dance, Thrice, Meshuggah, Underoath, The Dillinger Escape Plan, TesseracT, and Circa Survive as well as major festivals with the likes of Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, and Slipknot.

Album five is evidence that Animals As Leaders continue to operate at peak efficiency. "We've hit a certain stride," Abasi observes. "Matt brought a lot of complex ideas, there's a lot of thumping for me, and I've explored the use of harmony even more. Our sound is always evolving in a way that has a deliberate direction. We aim to give people different emotions than other types of music will offer."

Animals As Leaders offer more than clinic-ready musicianship and proficiency. A focus on mood, texture, and emotive power elevates the material past any preconceived notions, resulting in a fascinatingly unique phenomenon, with an unlikely and profound appeal across multiple subgenres.

"We all know how talented the guys in Animals As Leaders are. Absurdly talented," declared one review, in MetalSucks. "[T]hey are one of the finest, most interesting units in modern music."




The Crystal Ballroom

1332 W. Burnside
Portland OR 97209

(503) 225-0047
Contact us

Where On Any Night, Anything Can Happen!!

In these walls...

The historic Crystal Ballroom -- now over a century old -- is one of those rare concert halls that can point to a proud, diverse history while also laying claim to an ongoing musical legacy. Every time you enter this majestic ballroom, let your imagination sense the tremors resonating from a century's worth of gatherings, and realize that you are joining a thriving, generations-long procession of show-goers. Welcome!


Tech Specs

Floor and stage plan
PDF download

Lighting diagram 
PDF download

Sound manifest
PDF download
Lola's Room: 
PDF download

Technical and logistical packet
For Crystal Ballroom & Lola's Room
PDF download

Ballroom height and beam-to-beam dimensions
16' 11" from beam to floor
19' 11" from floor to ceiling
14' 6" in between beams

Promoter Info

Rental Expenses To Outside Promoters

$365  PRODUCTION MANAGER ($54.75/hr OT)
$255  STAGE MANAGER ($38.32/hr OT)
$255  FOH TECHNICIAN ($38.32/hr OT)
$255  MONITOR ENGINEER ($38.32/hr OT)
$255  LIGHTING DIRECTOR ($38.32/hr OT)
$150  HOSPITALITY ($20/hr OT) [mileage is 33 cents per mile]
$1,000*  SECURITY ($100/hr OT)
$100  BOX OFFICE STAFF ($20/hr OT)
$ ----  CHAIR RENTAL ($2 per chair)
$ ----  BOX OFFICE CREDIT CARD FEE (3% of Box Credit Card Sales)

* Security cost is an estimate. Additional security may be required depending on the nature of the event. 

Overtime: All expenses incurred by the Crystal Ballroom for Catering, Advertising, requested stagehands, overtime (anything over 10 hours), backline, barricade, risers, etc. will be added to total rental rate.

Deposits: A non-refundable 50% room deposit and a $2,500 'untenured promoter fee' (UPF) is due immediately in order to secure the room. If ticket sales exceed 500 the 'UPF' will be refunded; if ticket sales are below 500 the room keeps the entire $2,500 to make up for less than 1/3 capacity and corresponding lack of sales. The 'UPF' will not be refunded if the event cancels within 60 days of the event.

Settlement: Venue will pay renter with a company check at the immediate conclusion of door sales. Venue will not provide any cash at settlement.

Late Night Fee: There is a $1,000/hour additional fee for any events after 3 a.m. We may also require additional security for events of that nature.

Merchandise: Merch rate is 20% they sell. We can provide a seller with advance notice and will keep 30% of sales. The outside promoter will receive no revenue from the merchandise as that is the prerogative of the house. House keeps a percentage of all transactions.

Tickets: All tickets must be placed through the venue onto the Cascade Tickets system. All comps, label buys, and holds must be approved by the venue. There is a $2/ticket venue fee at the Box Office.

Refunds: All refunds will be directed to the outside promoter. In the absence of an outside promoter representative, the venue shall use its own discretion regarding refunds and all refunds shall be deducted from settlement.

Insurance and Licenses: Renter must provide liability insurance not less than $1,000,000 for any single occurrence naming McMenamins Inc. d.b.a. Crystal Ballroom as additionally insured. Tickets will not be placed on sale until binder is received. Promoter is responsible for all ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC fees.

Production Advance: Performers or their representative must contact venue's production manager 5 days prior to the event in order to advance production needs, otherwise runner will arrive at 6 p.m. and all rider items/requests will be greatly limited if provided at all.

Layout: The Crystal Ballroom is located on the 3rd floor. The first floor is Ringlers Restaurant and the 2nd floor is Lola's Room, both of which may have a public or private event simultaneously with the Crystal.

Cancellation/Postponement: The contract covers the specified event for the specified date. No substitution will be accepted for a cancellation. If the event is postponed the room deposit will be transferred to the date of the new event but the $2,500 'UPF' will be applied toward the date of the originally scheduled show and an additional $2,500 will be required in order to reschedule.

Capacity: The venue's capacity is 1500*. All artist and promoter guests and comps will be deducted from sellable. Comp and guest space must be reserved in advance. House is entitled to 20 guests. House guests will not effect sellable. Promoter must have guest list to house no later than 2 hours prior to doors. VIP cap is 25.

* Seated capacity is 850. Seated shows must be 21 and over. There is a $2/chair rental fee.

Venue and corporate sponsor banners may be present during event.

Marketing your event at the Crystal Ballroom

Please contact Mike Walker for information about marketing your event through McMenamins resources.

Box Office

Please note! Both the Crystal Ballroom and Lola's Room specialize in open-floor shows with a very limited amount of seats. The rare seated events will be clearly denoted as such, within the event description on our schedule page.

Box Office Information

Tickets for all McMenamins shows are ticketed by Cascade Tickets, and may be purchased at the Crystal box office (located under the Crystal's awning) and McMenamins Edgefield, by phone at 1-855-CAS-TIXX, or by clicking the "Buy Tickets" link located at the event listing on our schedules.

Tickets bought directly at the Crystal box office or any of our four ticket outlets will only incur a $1 facility charge. (Please note! Tickets to Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn will incur additional service fees.)

Crystal Ballroom Box Office Hours 
Daily, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The box office is open later on nights when there is a performance.

The box office accepts cash, VISA, MasterCard, American Express and DiscoverCard.

Will Call

Will call is located at the box office.


All ticket purchases are non-refundable.


There are three pay lots nearby, and street parking is available.


Those with disabilities may call (503 225 0047) or email in advance to arrange early admittance.

There is an elevator located in the lobby.

Hold your Private Event at Crystal Ballroom

Weddings  Meetings  Social Events

The Crystal Ballroom is a truly awe-inspiring venue with its vaulted ceilings, grand chandeliers, giant wallscapes and famous "floating" dance floor. Accommodating groups from 100 to 1000 people, this 7,500-square-foot space includes access to the Ballroom's classic corner stage, floor-to-ceiling windows, swooping balcony, and full bar service.

Tucked in the Crystal’s second story is Lola’s Room accommodating events of up to 200 guests.  Lola’s comes with a handsome fully stocked bar, original artwork, and a floating dance floor all it’s own.

For overnight accommodations, our Crystal Hotel is just a block away!

Contact our sales team to inquire or book your event.
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Artwork plays an important role in the character of McMenamins locations throughout Oregon and Washington. We believe art makes life richer and more enjoyable. So, you'll often find paintings covering our walls, ceilings doors, overhead pipes, and equipment -- works as diverse and entertaining as our places for family and friends. Many artists have contributed to this vast variety of delightful eye candy. Jump in and enjoy some now!




Explore the Crystal Blocks

Our Crystal Hotel and legendary Crystal Ballroom are just across the street from each other, each offering their own unique spaces for live music, Northwest style fare and McMenamins hand crafted beverages.  Explore these properties and all they have to offer. 

*Get 15% off room rates at Crystal Hotel, Sunday through Thursday with a ticket purchase. (Must mention at time of booking, must verify ticket at check in for discount) *restrictions apply. 

Crystal Ballroom Property

Crystal Ballroom  Lola's Room  Ringlers Pub  Crystal Brewery

Crystal Hotel Property

Crystal Hotel  Al's Den  Ringlers Annex  Zeus Cafe

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