April 21, 2008

Concert Review: Drowning Pool w/ Nonpoint, Egypt Central, Another Black Day, Hyngd (April 18, 2008)

There is nothing like a Friday night and live music, well movies make a good substitute but that is a story for another time. With the spring weather beginning to hit, it seems that more bands are hitting the road and making passes through my town. This particular night saw the latest incarnation of Drowning Pool bring their Full Circle tour through Poughkeepsie, NY with their stop at The Chance Theater, the best music club in the area. While I cannot say it was the best night of music, it was definitely high energy, which I needed considering how tired I was heading into a night that featured five bands.

The first act to take the stage was the local act Hyngd. I have seen these guys before, although it has been over a year since the last I saw them. They hit the stage like a band with something to prove, playing tight hard rock and doing their part to get the small but growing crowd amped for the rest of the evening. In this, they did a good job, however I have to admit to not being all that enamored with their music. It is not that it was bad, but it did fall a bit to the bland side, and the effects on the singer's voice gave his sound an odd tinge, I would rather have heard more of his voice without the effects. It was solid rock and roll in the Godsmack tradition, and it was played with power and conviction, just not a great amount of originality. However, the final song of their set did see them step up a bit and provide us with their best song of the night. Now, if they could play more with that sound.

Next was an up and coming act from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, called Another Black Day on tour promoting the upcoming release of their debut album. Lead singer/vocalist Matthew Wilcof came to the stage announcing their band name and saying: "You may not know who we are, but you will!" Following their thirty minute set, I am convinced that Matthew spoke the truth. This metal act impressed with their technical skills, blended with some nice songwriting, and plenty of energy. You know how you hear a band and you begin to think of other bands that they remind you of, I have noticed that the connections I make are sometimes more feel related than an actuality. To this end, Another Black Day came across as blend of Lamb of God and Black Label Society. They had a bit of that New Wave of American Metal sound, while also being deep into the heavy hard rock sound. However you want to listen to them, they have definite skills and will be a band to keep an eye on.

The third band to take the stage was easily the most musically accomplished of the night. They are another up and coming act, their self-titled debut having been released this past April. Egypt Central came out with all guns blazing. Of all the bands that played this night, it felt as if Egypt Central had the most to prove and wanted to show just what they could do. The quality of the music from their album came through loud and clear on the stage, as they injected another level of energy into the songs. The crowd responded in kind. Egypt Central was a solid unit, playing in perfect synch, simply owning the stage. Still, their sound is a bit dated, and my own opinion is that this will hold them back from being all that they can be. That said, the album was recorded a good 3-4 years back, what they do next will likely be a better judge of their potential and continued success. Of the bands on the tour, they seem to be the best at showing their musical ability and getting the crowd riled up. Their high impact set came to a close with their lead single, "You Make Me Sick." It will definitely be interesting to see how they progress.

The final opening act provided what was likely the biggest surprise of the night. When Nonpoint was announced early in the evening, a good portion of the crowd erupted in cheers. Now, when the band took the stage around 10:20, the crowd exploded. I have to admit to being completely shocked by the reaction they garnered. Perhaps I am out of touch, but does this anecdotal evidence point towards Nonpoint being bigger than I think? Must be. I remember listening to their debut album, thinking it was decent and then forgetting about them. Anyway, their performance was strong, the crowd was into every note, and singer Elias Soriano did a good job of involving the crowd. Overall, while the performance was strong enough to get my head rocking, I cannot say I was terribly impressed by their music. They reminded me of a copy of Sevendust that was trying to be a bit more edgy. The best part of their set was their final song, "Bullet With A Name." This cut was heavy, catchy, and hard to ignore.

Finally, 11:30 came and Drowning Pool took to the stage. Drowning Pool is touring in support of their third release, and featuring their third singer, second following the untimely death of Dave Williams. Their set was comprised primarily of tracks off Sinner and the new one, Full Circle. One, lone song from Desensitized made it to the list, "Step Up," which is probably the only memorable tune from that release. Over the course of the three albums, the sound has changed, with current vocalist, Ryan McCombs, likely the biggest cause for this change. Still, their sound is based on heavy, catchy riffs which are great for turning up and rocking out too, and the live setting is perfect for this. True to form, the music was load, catchy, and heavy. My head was banging along with the rest of the wild crowd. They opened with "Sinner" before moving into a pair of new cuts. I have to admit to not being all that familiar with the newer songs, although I have to say that McCombs has an intriguing voice. He may not have a great range, but he imbues the songs with strong emotion and it sounds quite good. However, while McCombs sounds good, he does sound a bit weird singing the older songs. Dave Williams has a unique voice and delivery style that is not easily mimicked.

In the end, it was a strong night of rock and metal. While none of the bands truly excited me, there is no denying that they were a blast live. I can be a sucker for live music, and an energetic stage presence can go a long way to making my night enjoyable, even if I don't want to revisit their music afterward. This line-up is one that is well worth seeing live, if for nothing else, the ease with which you can sink into their heavy sounds and just rock the night away.


tonybagosmashed said...

Would've liked to see Drowning Pool. Maybe another time.

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