It was Friday 5/14/10 and it was going just like any Friday, a rough day of work while eagerly anticipating the weekend. Helping me get through the day was the knowledge I was going to be meeting up with friends for some rock and roll at The Chance in Poughkeepsie. It was sure to be a good time.
So, out I went. When I get there Headboard Jockeys were already in the midst of their set. I got myself a beer, met up with my friends and checked out the music. I had never heard of them before, but I believe they are a young local act out of Ellenville, NY. The five-piece fronted by vocalist Uni LaMarca put on a solid show. They had a lot of energy and played a tight brand of rock music. If I had to describe their style, I would have to say it is a cross between modern rock and late '90's era nu-metal. It has a buoyancy with a touch of hip hop delivery (like Limp Bizkit). Overall, the closest comparison I could make would be to Flyleaf. Everyone seemed to be having a good time with them and I would definitely not be averse to seeing them again. I will say not to judge them based on their online tracks, they are much better live.
Their set ended and I found myself in need of another beer. Other friends had arrived and the night was beginning to pick up. Over the years I have learned it is a lot more fun to watch a show with friends. I know, that should go without saying, but I have gone to so many shows by myself I lost count.
Next up is the duo called Who We Be (I think, I am not sure the band name was ever announced). They were an interesting act using a combination of acoustic guitar, keyboard and a wooden box. In some ways they reminded me of The Dresden Dolls. The energy was a bit lower, but the atmosphere was there. They did not exactly fit in with the rest of the bands playing this night, but it was a nice change of pace even of many in attendance were not sure how to react to them. I have been unable to find an online presence for them, but I would be interested in seeing them again.
Now it was time for my friends to take their place on stage. Now, let it be known that although they are friends of mine, do not thin for a second that I give them a free critical pass. If they are bad, you will know it. Although, I have to admit having covered so many of their shows it is not always wasy to come up with new things to say. I will say that they do need to work on some new material. For as improved as the performances of the older material are, it would be nice to see if the improved performances have an effect on their writing, not to mention the new energy level they have following the reforming.
Anyway, they went on shortly after 9PM and they sounded really good. You can tell they are having fun up there, it is written all over their faces. Give thema little more time and they could be on to something special. This is a strong lineup whose effort seems effortless. Very loose bunch up there. They are not necessarily breaking any new ground, but they know how to make the hard rock genre work for them.
On a night when the guys had trouble hearing themselves on stage, they still managed a solid set. Jim Norton and Ryan Cady tore it up on bass and guitar respetively. Individually, these are two of the more skilled players on the local scene. Lou West provided solid lead vocals and is sounding stronger than he has in the past. Finally, there is newcomer Dan Gamma manning the drum kit. The bamd's youngest member is a solid player who brings a lot to the stage. It will be interesting to see what he brings with new material that he is involved in the writing process.
Next up is Aerias. The band is out on the road with headliner We are the Fallen. Quite frankly, I do not have much to say about these guys. I found their music to be terribly boring. I found myself tunign them out in favor of talking with my friends. Move along, move along, nothing to see here.
We are the Fallen, the band most in attendance were there to see, was ready to hit the stage. I must admit to being rather curious leading into their performance. They are, essentially, a new Evanesence lineup. The band features the drummer and guitarists of Evanesence with former Static-X/Disturbed bass player Marty O'Brien with former American Idol contestant Carly Smithson fronting the quintet on vocals. I liked Evanesence but cannot claim to be a big fan of theirs.
The band took the stage to the cheers of the crowd and proceeded to deliver a solid set of songs I've never heard. I have not yet picked up their debut album and am completely unfamiliar with the music. That said, I found them very easy to get into. The band is definitely experienced and work very well together. They have an easily accessible sound that is tight, melodic, but with a little edge. Carly Smithson sounded fantastic, powerful, emotional, and strong.
Overall, I must say that I was vey impressed with their music, their presence, and the show in general. Even more impressive was the trio of cover songs from unlikely sources and how they make them their own while remaining true to the originals. First was Madonna's "Like a Prayer," later we got Journey's "Separate Ways," finally was Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus." Interesting, no? In any case I am sure to look for their album.
The night was a lot of fun with We are the Fallen and Audible Thought putting on the best sets of the night. Hanging out with friends, having a few beers, just having a good time with some live music... priceless.