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Music Review

’90s rockers Quicksand opt for intensity over nostalgia

Quicksand performed at the Paradise.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Quicksand performed at the Paradise.

Quicksand’s influential debut album, “Slip” — a potent fusion of punk fury, metallic heft, and artful nuance — turns 20 this year, and the band itself is on its first national tour in 15 years. But Quicksand isn’t engaging in a contrived celebration of “Slip,” so rather than play the whole album Monday at the Paradise where the tour began, Quicksand simply bashed out a vital and vibrant set.

While all of the songs performed dated back to the band’s brief mid-’90s run, Quicksand made the material feel renewed. Guitarist and singer Walter Schreifels delivered old hymns to angst, anxiety, and disgust with a lighter touch that revealed a cleaner edge to the work. And instead of sounding like nostalgia, the songs came across as feeling like musical DNA; maybe the members of Quicksand are not as angry today, but they still play with urgency and concern.

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The audience too connected with the set in a dynamic way, singing along to every song and turning the floor of the Paradise into roiling mosh pit. At one point a cry of “You’re better than Helmet” shot from the pack.

“Better” is always debatable, but it was easy to see how Quicksand’s band dynamic makes it different from other guitar-heavy post-punk bands. Schreifels and fellow guitarist Tom Capone, bassist Sergio Vega, and drummer Alan Cage equally contributed to the rich, textured sound.

Quicksand charged out with “Omission,” yet never lost control of the barreling momentum it sustained for a little over an hour. “Fazer” opened up to a bit of spacey guitar
skronk, and “Thorn in My Side” was a beguiling blend of sprawl and brutality. A cover of the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” proved that going heavy can suit a thoughtful lyric.

Schreifels kept his comments brief, noting before “Dine Alone” that he mistakenly thought “Slip” was 10 years old; upon realizing it was 20 he noted, “Damn, we look good.”

But when it came to the actual playing, there was no kidding around.

Single Mothers opened with a set that put a garage-pop spin on post-punk dynamics, reflecting the Quicksand influence without copying it.

Scott McLennan can be reached at smclennan1010@gmail.com.

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