February 25, 2007

Concert Review: Audible Thought with Section 18, Kristen Capolino, Hynged, Within Another 2/24/07

Going to a concert solely populated by local bands can be a questionable affair. Honestly, how many times have you gone to a local show only to be confronted with some of the most awful "music" you've ever heard? I have had moments like this, never a complete show, mind you, but there are a lot of bad bands out there. However, you have to realize that your favorite bands have to come from somewhere, and that is the local scene, your local scene, so you have to go out and find the good ones. Believe me, there are good ones out there, and when you hear them, you will wonder why they are local, they can be that good. What does that have to do with this show? Well, this was one of those shows where the stars aligned, a local show that was stacked with talent determined to put on the best show they could. You could see the determination in the face of everyone that took that stage. Were they all successful? No. The show was not perfect, but few are. Still, this was a local show to restore faith in the local scene.

As I walked into The Chance Theater, I was greeted by the music of Within Another whose set had just begun. I had seen them once before, in a much smaller venue. I remember remarking that their sound needed a bigger venue for the large progressive rock they played. I am happy to report that I was right, the larger theater gave them the room they needed to spread out. They have a sound that is reminiscent of Queensryche, particularly in Jerry Scharsu's voice, he has a powerfully clean voice that can let out a bloodcurdling scream when called for. The rest of the band is no slouch either, excellent leads from both guitarists, particularly from Paul Mallory, solid drumming and virtuoso bass round the band out. I cannot claim to be a big fan, despite likeing a lot of what they were doing, there were chunks that just did not grab me. They put on a good show and are definitely a band to keep an eye on. Nice way to open the show.

Next up was Hyngd, a band I believe that I have seen before, but cannot quite remember when. Anyway, they took the momentum that Within Another had built up and kept the night rolling along. I was very impressed with their performance, and considering that lead singer, Shane, was a little under the weather, he really put it all out on the stage. Their sound has some overtones of Tool and Staind, yet steps in a different direction. The music was solid, full of energy and just great to listen to. Most impressive was drummer, Gregg, he wasn't flashy, but he was incredibly crisp and tight, with perfect timing, very impressive. This is definitely an act to revisit, I see a good future ahead of them.

Kristen Capolino was the third act to take the stage, and the one performance to give me the most mixed feelings. Let me start with the good. Kristen is an absolutely phenomenal talent. She is a 17 year guitar prodigy, who is just amazing to listen to. She came to the stage with a Gibson Flying V which looked to be larger than her, a slight presence with a big sound and a virtual ton of enthusiasm. Plain and simple the girl can shred. Now for the bad, or more accurately, the not so good, she needs someone that can better focus her abilities. Her songwriting was not terribly strong, the songs just did not strike me as songs so much as ways to show what she can do, fortunately what she can do with six strings is impressive. Then there is the problem of her singing, it was not all that impressive. Still, it is hard to dwell on the bad when in the presence of this enormous stockpile of talent, she was even able to bust out covers of Michael Schenker and Paula Abdul in the same set, I doubt many bands could reconcile that. I would definitely be interested in seeing her perform again, even if that youthful enthusiasm got to the aging cynic inside of me.

The final act before our main event was the reuniting Section 18, a band that has impressed me in the past with their straight up rock/metal sound. They come to the stage and with a look whose impression seems to bring up thoughts of the likes of Pantera, yet offer up a decidedly different sound. Coming together what may just be a one off, the band really played as a tight unit, they sounded fantastic, succeeding in getting the crowd all riled up, singer Mike Pettigrew jumping in the pit certainly helped to that end as much as the music did. I may wish they had a heavier sound, but they are still a solidly entertaining band, and if the crowd reaction is any indication, they should stick together and keep playing, they do it so well.

Now, the band of the hour, featuring birthday boy Jim Norton on bass, Audible Thought. This was a big night for the four piece, I believe it was the longest set that they have played live, plus they were filming footage for a DVD release they would like to have out this summer, not to mention the fact that there was a very good crowd on hand. Needless to say, the pressure was on for a good show. They went on right about midnight and proceeded to put on the show of their careers. I have had the opportunity to see them on a number of occasions, and they just keep getting better, this performance was easily the best that I have seen them yet. Their sound was a little chunkier and heavier, the vocals had a little more bite to them, the drums sounded enormous, it was a joy to listen to. They played, I believe, every song in their live catalog, everything from their debut CD, Measure Up, plus a pair of new tracks, and a third that could be called new, as it has only been played live on a couple of occasions. The highlight of the show would have to be "Can't Break Me," the song brings all of the elements that make Audible Thought who they are, from the emotionally charged lyrics, to the blend of crunchy heaviness and melody, to the screaming lead guitar work, it has it all and is destined to be a mainstay of their live set. Both of their other new cuts played very well, although I cannot recall their names, demonstrating a true growth in their songwriting, imbueing more emotion and complexity signifying how much stronger of a unit they are coming to be.

Other highlights of the night include "Measure Up," "Darkness," "Respect," and "Games." Lou West, recovered from an absessed tooth which hampered recent performances, brought his a game and sounded great, while drummer Carl Fogarty has improved by leaps and bounds making his kit a powerful presence, Jim Norton's bass is solid as ever while he provides an imposing presence on the stage through his constant movement around the stage, finally Ryan Cady was absolutely shredding it as he ripped through his solos. Overall, there was a distinctly heavier and faster aura to some of the older songs, making them sound fresh, and showing how the art of songwriting is an ever changing process, working to improve on what they have as they come together as a band.

This was a fantastic night for local music, from top to bottom this was a strong card, lots of bands at the top of their game, a large crowd to support the local scene. Perhaps, one day, some or all of these acts will be able to take their music to the world at large. Oh yeah, I cannot wait to see how the DVD comes out.


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