After doing my first Colorado State of the Art article on Source for the month of April, singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben Gleason and band manager Brent Boutte contacted me, inviting me to a show on their tour with Trapt and Super Bob. After some back and forth, a move of venue and a three and half hour drive (seven hours of driving was well worth the trip), I was finally able to see the band that has grabbed so much of my attention this past month. The more I have listened to Source’s music, the more I am sucked into their musical poetry. They are not even close to getting old (probably begin to fade just in time for a new album).
When I arrived early to DJ & Gina’s Lounge in Summerfield, FL I was greeted by Georges Octobous, drummer for Source with a warm smile, immediately making me feel like a member of the band. After our meet and greet, I was also introduced to a few member of Trapt and Super Bob, who were also very personable and engaging. Obviously, being on tour has collected friends for all of these stellar bands. After returning to their trailer for some last minute preparations I was left to converse with the other bands for a few minutes before being introduced to Ben Gleason. Again, he made me feel at home, like an old friend. He immediately got me checked in with the staff at the venue and was left to DJ, the owner. This is one very nice man and very excited about this sold out show. Again, I felt like an old friend with easy conversation about his obvious love of music. This place was very cool, with an easy-going, and friendly atmosphere with a great layout as a musical venue. Security was everywhere but every one of them was very nice and very professional; ever present but never intrusive to the audience. Access to the venue was also tightly controlled. As is the standard for most music events nowadays, concert-goers had to pass through several safety checks, scanners and turnstiles series before being granted access to the venue. Definite kudos to DJ and his wife Shannon, who I also had the pleasure to meet for a few minutes. This place rocks!
Once I was checked in, I went back outside where I was able to talk to each band member as the others prepared for the show. I found bass player Dan Crisaulli to be very down to earth and an obvious lover of all types of music. His influences and listening tastes were all over the map, as mine are, and very similar to my own. Again, I felt like we were old friends. This band simply loves doing what they are doing and have not one ounce of bad Karma among its members. I have to say, this evening was starting off on a very high note.
Once Source had gone off together to get last minute technicalities out of the way, I went back into the venue to hear the opening, Lakeland, FL band: Dark Summer. Band manager Scott Hayes introduced himself, telling me a little about the band. “If you like straight-forward Heavy Metal, you are going to like Dark Summer” were his parting words before they stormed the stage. Whoa! These guys are very, very good. Very polished musicians and the stage presence of a mature band that has been around for twenty years. After their intro, “Cry Wolf” and “Poison“, something familiar was crawling around in my head. Kind of a deja vus moment. It did not become clear until I later talked to singer and rhythm guitarist Troii Peak that I had seen this band with Bobaflex late last year in Melbourne. Really cool how our lives cross. Peak’s voice is clear and expressive with just the right amount of soaring screams to convey the band’s take on Metal. Guitarist Zakk Varnum’s talent is obvious as well, playing smooth leads and fretboard scorching solos effortlessly while bass player Wilson Brembry and drummer Kei Bland railed the tempo and adding to their congruent persona. This band plays as a singular unit, no particular member outshining the rest because they are all just so damned good. As soon as they finished their set with “Rise“, “Done My Time” and “Devil“, Dark Summer quickly packed up their gear and were on the road to play another show at Johnny G’s Bar in Lakeland to benefit the family of Kel McCain, who was killed by a drunk driver. The further I get involved with the Metal scene, the more I realize that it does, in fact have the largest of hearts. Props to Dark Summer and the other bands supporting their fans as much as we support them. “Symbiosis”, as Ben Gleason put so succinctly a couple of weeks ago.
Once Dark Summer was on the road, Source followed with their set. I was beside myself to see this band live after endlessly listening to, what has become one of my go-to albums: “Return to Nothing“. As stated in my recent article, Source has a sound that drives straight through me, eviscerating common perceptions while offering their own unique and off-the-beaten path view of making the most out of our brief existence on this planet through beautiful and poetic lyrics and their signature, genre-bending composing style. I remain simply floored by the talent this band has to offer. Their live show was not to disappoint. Their set list was short since most of their songs are close to ten minutes long: “Forgiveness“, “Memories of Yesterday” and “The Serpent” (Source usually plays “Quadrant” as their closing number but graciously played “The Serpent“, knowing that it is my favorite song and had one other request that it be played this night). Source is studio perfect on stage while having an unusual performance style, maybe like watching a play of Freud’s three personality traits. Three distinct and different characters working in unison to convey the message of their music: Ben being the thoughtful, restrained and calming part of Freud’s super-ego, Dan being the ego and crazy-man Georges being the id of Source’s underlying, collective personality. I found this manner to be appropriate and fitting for a band that has put so much into their music. A very moving and entertaining show that showcases Source as a concept brought to life as opposed to a theatrical explosion of individual performances. As with the rest of the evening, I was drawn completely into Source, allowed to feel the warmth and camaraderie of the band and its music. Upon completion, I was met by the band and told that there was a grounding problem with the mic which continuously shocked singer Ben Gleason. Hell, I would have never known this if he had not told me. Professional and adaptable as a well seasoned band while only being together for such a short period of time and being on their first, coast to coast tour is very impressive and speaks well for a band that is sure to be stars in the very near future.
To be completely honest, I don’t have a long history with Super Bob’s music. Hailing from Washington, DC and being a Rap Metal band, I just have not had much exposure to them other than listening to a couple of their albums prior to the show. I was in for a huge surprise. I was completely blown away. Being the antithesis of Source’s aptly subdued stage presence, Super Bob is in your face with its raw music and rowdy, ever-moving stage show. Peppered with humor and energy, singer Matt Santoro, guitarist Adam Smith and drummer Drew Recney lay down the heavy riffs with sarcastic, humorous and often tongue-in-cheek songs like “Captain Crunch“, “Hollywood“, “Superfly” and “Freak“. Prior to their song “[F*ck] California“, Matt stated that they were going to play a Source song because Source hates California; “If you guys are offended or from California, blame Source. It’s their song!”. Apparently, Super Bob has made a point of ribbing Source throughout the tour with various jabs and fun shots at the them which I found endearing, funny and fit with Super Bob’s incredibly energetic show. I am sure this made life much easier for both bands while on the road together. Dreds flying, music jamming and a smiles that lit the room, Super Bob was born to be on stage performing. After their set, I was able to talk to them for a few minutes and found them to be exactly the same guys I saw on stage. They have been touring almost continuously for 5 years now and engage fans with friendly, humorous banter just like they were on stage with them. The audience is just as important to a Super Bob show as the band itself. In the time it took them to finish their set, Super Bob picked up a fan with me!
By the time Trapt took the stage, DJ & Gina’s Lounge was packed out. I have listened to this band for years but, sadly, have never seen them live, so I was excited to see them belt out their set. Starting with “Human” and then going directly into “Bring It“, I thought the roof was going to cave in. The crowd blew its collective lid. This is the point in the night where security had its work cut out for it and they did it efficiently and professionally. Kudos to the management and to their staff. “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” and “Waiting” followed, the entire audience primed and singing along with the band. Trapt was at no point giving less than 100%. Extremely animated and passionate for every note and word. The remaining set included: “Lost Realist“, “Victim“, “Echo“, “These Walls“, “Passenger“, “Contagious“, “Love Hate Relationship“, “Headstrong“, “Stand Up” and “Still Frame“; a perfect mix of classic and new material. Singer Chris Taylor Brown played up the audience, doing shots and talking with people near the front. At one point, a young lady was handed the mic to talk to the drummer which resulted in an impromptu cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, which got the crowd even more rowdy. According to Source’s, Ben Gleason, this was a first on the tour. Quite a treat for those who enjoy Nirvana’s popular song (you feeling me Ben?). While Brown has a larger than life persona, guitarist Ty Fury met him lick for lick, being CD perfect at every turn. It was very cool to watch him play with passion and conviction, every note seemingly pulled from his heart. The all-important rhythm was deftly handled by bass player Peter Charell and drummer Dylan Thomas Howard. This band’s maturity and years of touring shine very brightly. Like Super Bob, Trapt was born to be on stage, not just listened to on CD. If you like the music, seeing them live is a hundred times better! Trapt was everything I expected and more. On that note, “DNA” is due out at the end of July. Looking forward to hearing what they have in the pipeline for sure.
This night’s journey started with a State of the Art article that absolutely floored me with the discovery of Source, gained momentum with a mutual respect of artist to writer and ended up with all of us gaining new friends in our musical families. This is what it is all about, my friends. Good music that touches us made by artists that share part of themselves through their music appreciating those that share a kindred spirit and an appreciation for what they have to offer. And so it goes. A beautiful circle that perpetuates the musician while they provide their listeners with quality music that touches them and gets them through their days. This alone was well worth seven hours on the road that gave me a night I will not soon forget thanks to all four bands.
I would like to specifically thank Source for their gracious offer to have me along for a night and to DJ and Shannon for being such a kind and accommodating hosts for myself and this quartet of incredibly talented bands. It is truly appreciated! Hope to see you all again very soon…