Busy Touring the U.S., Shaman's Harvest Found
Some Time to Rock Out with the '402' at
The Waiting Room Wednesday Night
By: Audrey Kay
In a lot of shows with more than two or three bands on the list, it can be difficult to fill the room from start to finish. Often times, people skip the first band or two, or may leave early. However, with a lineup like the one on Wednesday night, you would have been a fool to miss a second of any of the talent that flooded the venue. And each band was just that; talented all the way till last call. If you missed it, I apologize, you unfortunately missed an UNBELIEVABLY impressive performance, but I will give you the rundown here on an awesome night in Omaha's rock scene.
First up were Omaha rockers, The End in Red. Strongly resembling the musical styles of Breaking Benjamin, there is something so special about this group that I just love. The energy you feel when these guys are playing is amazing; each individual gives 110% of everything they have inside of them and just pours into you so you can feel that same emotion. Like many bands, you can tell that they never had an exact mental picture on where they wanted their sound to go, and a collaboration of various genres are present in each of their songs. In one song, "Landfall", there were a lot of heavy instrumentals and TONS of screaming to cater to their hardcore listeners while taking it down a notch with several ballad-inspired melodies as well. Though I love the variation, there was some disconnection going back and forth between the harder and softer tracks. It was confusing at times to try to understand the concept, but somehow, I began to kind of enjoy the fact I didn't understand where they were going with it. An artist without a vision is a vision in itself, and I think they are on the right path. While you can always clean up your sound, chemistry is the one thing that cannot be taught, and you can see that chemistry is evident within the group. One huge suggestion I would make is to PLEASE incorporate more of the keyboard. I thought it was brilliant, and I think it adds a lot to the group's uniqueness and edge with the RIGHT kind of melodic sound. To make their band's objective more clear, I believe something has to give; keep the soft vocals and heavy instrumentals without screaming? Or, keep the hardcore vocals with more integration of the keyboard? Either way, I think this band is exceptionally talented and they put on a fantastic show from beginning to end.
Up next was Aurasing, who had me at first strung chord. They were definitely on point with some of my favorite things to see in a live band; energy, passion, and crowd interaction. Though I've said before that some bands in my opinion should ditch the screaming altogether, some bands have the talent to incorporate some screaming into the songs to help diversify each track...but it has to be done right. Lead singer, Mike Clark, hits the nail on the head in that area. You can tell that on top of his natural ability, Clark has worked hard to perfect his pitch and ensures the vocals are up to par, whether it is singing or screaming, and I was thoroughly impressed by that. I think it must be a Midwest thing, because I definitely felt some Emphatic similarities, as well as a lot of hyped-up punk influences as well which I definitely took pleasure in. As far as instrumentals, it was very in synch and polished. I was so surprised when they mentioned that Wednesday was their guitarist's first show with them; the way he was able to fit in and stay in such flawless rhythm with the rest of the band, you would have never guessed! I picked up a CD that night and unsurprisingly, they are absolutely better live, however, THAT is what is most important; you could sound amazing on CD, but if you do not have what it takes to put on an amazing live show, that will be a tough shortcoming to master. After several songs, it became difficult to figure out one song from the next as they started to jumble together and sound too familiar, so I would suggest adding one or two distinct characteristics in the songs to help the audience hear each song individually. For instance, I would absolutely love to see more guitar solos from Tony Hemann who stood out like a star the entire set. Their last song, The Pulse, was a perfect choice to leave a lasting impression to the audience with. All things aside, this band is incredible and if you haven't seen them live, they are a must see.
Something to Burn was next and I was so blown away by these guys it's unreal. First of all, I struggled for 15 minutes to even get a decent spot in the crowd because the floor was so packed. It made me think that the majority of the audience came prevalently to just see them! Though multi-faceted in a wide range of rock classifications, I personally categorize them as having some really moody 'stoner' rock inspiration. They know how to work the minds of the audience by both relaxing them into a state of nirvana, while maintaining their energy and undivided attention. Signed to Softdrive Records, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilot's label, they have already proved that their ecclectic sound catches even the ears of some of rock music's greatest. It was amazing to see how into the set the crowd was; you could often times hear the audience sing louder than Greg Wayne himself! The highlight was at the end of their last song and hit single "Say Goodbye" and Greg jumped offstage and crowd surfed. It really showed me that not only are they awesome musicians and talented at their craft, they are brilliant PERFORMERS as well and know how to give their fans something to remember. Not only will Greg's vocals hit you like a ton of bricks, but you'll be served a show you will think about for days on end. Were they the best band of the night as a whole? Quite possibly. Were they the best performance? Without a doubt.
The main event, Shaman's Harvest finally took the stage and they were the perfect band to follow. While still keeping the energy alive, they took things down a bit with their rugged rock edge accompanied by slower Southern-styled arrangements. The last time I saw the band at LocalFeast in November, I was pretty upset I didn't hear my favorite, "Turn the Radio Up", so I was satisfied that they played it tonight and better than expected. They incorporate the ideal amount of twang to give that unique twist on otherwise harder, more rigid instrumental sound. Some of the lyrics were mumbled and it was hard to make out at times, but the audience had no issue with keeping up as they repeated the words verbatim. Though lead singer, Nathan Hunt, was in a wheelchair for a busted foot most of the night, he gained the strength to stand up at the end and perform to the best of his ability which was awesome. The drummer struggled a bit to stay in rhythm a time or two, but quickly redeemed himself and was not something remembered for long. Hunt's voice was unbreakable during difficult pitch changes, and I was completely in awe of his bluesy, soulful voice...despite some enunciation setbacks, he has some absolutely astounding vocal ability. Yes, of course they played their radio hit "Dragonfly", but no, it was not their finale or encore. People really need to get past that song and really listen to this band's music and what they have to offer. They have all the elements a great band possesses, and their vast amount of touring suggests other people share that viewpoint. Their experience, hard work and practice paid off, and as much as I enjoyed them in November, their immense amount of progress was evident. I look forward to seeing them again in the future, and certain it wont be long until they reach the top.