In a dimly lit planetarium, subtle undertones of purple cast out over the audience. The spectators wait under the starry dome with anticipation. Upon the first sound from the lead guitarist, the lights fade to black and the dome overhead is filled with spinning colors and indescribable shapes that give glimpses into cosmic phenomena and unimaginable universes, each swirling in sync with the chords played by the band as their larger-than-life shadows on the wall behind them.
There is nothing celestial about the band appearing in this heavenly scene, but Guster put on one out-of-this-world show, one filled with new, quirky sounds intertwined with the classics that the band has become so well known for.
Appropriately debuting its newest single entitled “Satellite,” Guster began its private concert in the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science. This was the second of three shows played around Boston last Friday in order to promote the band’s fifth studio album, Ganging up on the Sun, released in June. Performing a 30-minute set filled with new songs and old favorites like “Amsterdam” and “Happier,” Guster ended its show with a request from an audience member, “Jesus on the Radio,” during which the members spread out in the audience to create a memorable ending to the short, but sweet, show.
According to the band members, they wanted to try something a little different this time around when promoting their new album and to create a more “unique, intimate situation.”
The small string of shows was designed to thank all the fans who supported Guster from its beginning when it was a local band from Tufts University. The band has certainly come a long way, considering its beginning, selling CDs out of a guitar case in Harvard Square.
Since then, Guster has continually gained a larger audience while also undergoing many changes, both in its music and in the band itself. After a decade as a trio, the band added a fourth member, Joe Pisapia, who plays guitar, banjo, bass and keyboards.
Pisapia has “come along at a perfect time and has provided a breath of fresh air for the band,” drummer Brian Rosenworcel said in an interview with The Beacon after the show.
According to Rosenworcel, the band has been taking on a more experimental sound with its newer albums. “We tend to sound more like the bands we listen to,” he said.
Current influences include Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones.
The bandmates’ decision to produce their records themselves has led to this new freedom and experimentation. This gives the band the chance to make and release anything it wants without any obligations.
There are downsides to being one’s own producer, though.
“Everyone will get into each other’s shit. At times there are just too many chefs in the kitchen,” Rosenworcel said.
Following a short December tour, Guster plans to take a brief break until a spring tour begins in February. Other plans include releasing an EP and B-sides. For Ganging up on the Sun, the band produced 21 songs, 12 of which made it on the album.
The remaining nine songs, among many others, will make up its new releases.
In April, Guster plans to continue its tour by beginning a string of college performances where they will play in gymnasiums and local college theatres.
Rosenworcel jokingly said that the college tour will be a great opportunity to “play a lot of wiffle-ball and do keg stands at parties.”