When covering a show, I try to get there early to catch all the local acts. It’s good to see what talent (or lack of talent) is coming up in an area. After going to enough shows and seeing a variety of local acts and some of the same ones over and over, you can get a feel of what is happening in the scene. Since I live in the Albany area, I know the Capital region’s scene. The metal scene is much more of a hard core, heavy, scream-o thing with various bands coming and going and a few staples, like Brick by Brick or bright up-and-comers like Restless Streets.
I will be the first to admit that I’m not too familiar with the Syracuse scene. I will also tell you that after the Saliva show at the Lost Horizon, this NEEDS to change. Saliva was great and I will talk about that later, but the locals were exceptional. East Coast Live Entertainment and 95X put together an awesome lineup that kept moving at a great pace. The breaks between sets were minimal, and welcomed so we could go outside and take in some cool summer evening air. I’ve rarely seen a promoter hustle the day of the show as much as Chuck from East Coast Live. He was working harder than anyone there and I think sound, lighting and musicians can appreciate that effort and put that much more into their own work. Perhaps all of that combined made the night of music so incredible.
Starting off the show was Hitting on Amber. Designated by 95X deejay, Dixon, as the most improved band on the Syracuse scene. I’m not sure what they sounded like a year ago, but I can tell you that they immediately set the bar high for the locals following them. Simply put, they rocked. Sound was clean and their performance was solid. This is a band that could open for any touring hard rock or heavy metal act coming to the region and will start seeing their own following grow in the meantime. Like most locals, time in front of audiences and growing their footprint are the first steps. Look for Hitting on Amber on more local shows and get there early to support them, you won’t be disappointed.
Catastrophe Me was next up and while I enjoy female lead singers (I am currently really into Maria Brink’s new stuff), this performance was the one exception to a night of hard rockin’ goodness. I found myself cringing at some parts hoping that the set would hurry along, the shrieking would stop, or the choreographed headbanging would cease to exist from rock ‘n roll entirely. While the performance wasn’t a complete catastrophe, vocal work and stage presence issues need to be addressed before being taken seriously in the rock world. There is a lot of potential in the young lead singer, something maturity and a good manager can work with and I hope they seek out that guidance and continue to grow within the local scene.
Auburn stoner metal band, Stone Soul Foundation, took the stage and as far as I was concerned, this could have been the start of the touring bands. The quality of performances from this point forward made the cost of admission worth it at twice the price. This dread-lead hard rockin’ gang of misfits had great vocals, guitar licks, and the drummer set an energetic pace.
As I walked around the Lost Horizon between sets I noticed more Crows Cage t-shirts than all the other bands combined. Their local following came out in droves and I was anxious to see if they could live up to the hype. Being placed between SSF and Devour the Day would have been tough for Saliva to live up to. Yes SSF and DTD were THAT good. Luckily for Crows Cage they were that good, too. They took the challenge and kept the night moving. The venue was hot and sticky, and people were still dancing to real rock ‘n roll. If this show is any indication, the Syracuse scene is strong. A lot of talent and some national touring potential.
Devour the Day is made up of past members of Memphis, Tennessee band, Egypt Central. No strangers to national tours and big stages, they didn’t miss a beat. Their new material is solid and already getting airtime on Sirius XM’s Octane, along with a lot of attention from local rock station 95X. Within the last month since the show at the Lost Horizon, DTD has shared the stage and is planning to with Sevendust and Otherwise in July 2013 and currently a June run with Hinder. After their set I turned to Joy (my girlfriend who joined me for the show) and we agreed that if the night ended right then, it would have been a great night. How can Saliva top this?
Well, Saliva couldn’t top it, but they did keep the night going with bright lights, strong vocals from their new lead singer Bobby Amaru and new songs that seemed a lot harder than their old material. Time away did not hurt this band that is known primarily for the huge hit, “Click Click Boom”. A couple of the new songs will get airtime that will hopefully help eliminate the one hit wonder status that they are unfortunately labeled with. Their talent and energy combined with the new songs should generate new fans.
Other highlights of the evening included the fans and the venue. First off, two young rockers with cerebral palsy were there and apparently get free tickets to all East cost Live Entertainment shows. Why? Because besides busting his ass to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable at the show, Chuck understands that rock ‘n roll is about passion. These young fans love rockin’ out and Chuck loves giving the gift of music. Not only did they get free tickets, they got free shirts and the bands came out and got their photos taken with them. It warmed my heart to see someone giving back. Rock used to be a lot about helping each other out and when I look at Chuck and other promoters like Mike Valente from Black ‘n Blue, who is known to throw benefit shows often, and I hope for their success. Fans often think promoters cash in, it’s simply not true for most. Many shows lose money and the occasion that money is made, they are quick to help out the locals that play for gas money or drinks.
The venue was great and if you live in central New York and haven’t been to the Lost Horizon for a show, you need to go. Legends passing through the valley have played there over the past 40 years. Names like Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Upcoming shows include The Front Bottoms and Earth Crisis. Add this venue to your rock ‘n roll bucket list. You can thank me later.