USS: Full of introspection and energy
Attending a USS live performance is like entering an alternate and energetic universe where the only goal is to have as much fun as humanly possible. On Thursday Feb. 27, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, commonly referred to as USS, graced The Wax in Kitchener with their enthusiastic presence to promote their latest album Advanced Basics, their latest release since USS Approved in 2011.
The creation of this album varied from their prior work due to their campaign with PledgeMusic, a Kickstarter-esqe website, called #Letsgetweird. There were various exclusive incentives such as an acoustic Skype concert or a USS bowling party. The band reached 201 per cent of their chosen goal.
“The money that we raised with the pre-order has allowed us to have a little bit more of a stress-free time writing, recording and producing but it’s also ultimately what has led to us being able to comfortably financially be able to go out on the road for the last month and a half to play these shows,” said turntablist Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons to The Cord. “Touring is unrelenting and it’s financial hemorrhaging at times … [the fans] trusted us enough that we were going to deliver a product that they would be drawn to and fall in love with says something,”
This is not the band’s first time playing in Kitchener, however it was under different circumstances.
“The first time I played here in Kitchener, there was no one at the show [except the bartender, the sound guy and the three guys in the other band] and now there’s going to be 600 people here,” said Ashley Buchholz, vocalist and guitar player. “We’re going to create a vortex and enthusiasm and anyone who has asked the universe politely to bring them exactly what they want. The secret ingredient is enthusiasm … everyone’s going to walk away from here ten steps closer to the person they truly want to be.”
Self-actualization is a common theme surrounding Advanced Basics—Buchholz describes this album as his “I’ve had enough” moment.
“This album was the ‘I’ve had enough’ of being disappointed in who I am and it’s a grand illusion that we look up to these musicians and actors like they’re the happiest people alive, they’re the f**king saddest people on earth … That’s the incredible irony of the whole thing, everyone is looking up to these people and wish that they were them, meanwhile, myself included [in the hero worship] … I have low self-everything and I’ve had enough,” reflected Buchholz.
Though Buchholz admits to “low self-everything,” on stage he comes off as confident. Parsons and Buchholz feed off of each other’s energy and the energy of the audience. As per every USS show, it was a wild and unpredictable time. One of the most memorable aspects of the night was when Buchholz and Parsons noticed that young children were dancing along directly in front of the stage. They decided to bring them up onto the stage, exclaiming shock that such young kids were at their concert on a school night.
USS played songs from their recent albums, which may have alienated fans who are more familiar with their older work. Despite this, the set was excellent. There were no major sound issues and all voices and instruments were perfectly in tune.The intense energy on-stage translates to intense energy into everything that Buchholz and Parsons are involved with—including the band and in their personal lives.
“Essentially, where we’re at in our lives, as individuals, and what is coming out in what produced itself in our album is that we are silly people but the music is dead serious. There’s a certain time where you have to face some stuff that you’ve been running away from or you haven’t been able to look in the eye. That’s the stuff you think about before you go to bed,” said Buchholz.