TopSpot USA's Sean Russell, a local music industry player and subject of a recent New Times Broward-Palm Beach profile, tracks down the latest news and adds insight from the front row of local concerts. On Monday, Russell attended the Rocket Summer's performance at Culture Room featuring South Florida acts Easton and New City Lions.
Photo by Mikayla Davis New City Lions interviewed by TopSpot USA's Frankie "Famous" Nobile (with microphone) and Sean Russell
The Rocket Summer's Monday visit to Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room was a "one-off show" in the middle of the band's run as an opener for the Goo Goo Dolls' U.S. tour. As a result of the booking, West Palm Beach's Easton and Broward County's New City Lions got the opportunity to perform in front of a larger audience than they normally command. While Culture Room's production manager Ash Ali's expectations of a sold-out show fell short, it was to be expected after several prior sell-outs including Alesana, the AP Tour and Motion City Soundtrack. Ali explains: "With the type of tours we've had through here, the kids ran out of a money a little bit."
Easton's set: With only three bands appearing on the bill, Easton needed
Photo by Mikayla Davis Easton's new singer, Chris "I didn't write 'Fix You'" Martin
to make a strong first impression. The three-piece band prides itself
on their ability to have a larger-than-life live show. Monday marked
only the second live performance for lead singer Chris Martin, who
joined the band after they amicably parted ways with their longtime lead
singer, Jeremy Michaels. With sweat pouring down his forehead, Martin
looked at home singing tracks both new and old. Former Hey Monday
drummer Elliot James took up almost half the stage with his custom SJC
drum kit, and Marc Ryan was adept playing backwards on the keyboard
during the song, "Sending Letters to Jersey."
Assessment: The less than conventional stage setup paired with four
keyboardist and a drummer, made it hard to see them perform at peak
capacity. At least the band is aware that each show presents a certain
number of challenges and opportunities for improvement.
New City Lions' set: Later in the show, New City Lions made a grand
Photo by Mikayla Davis Can New City Lions learn to make their synchronized stunts more spontaneous?
entrance, cutting through pitch darkness and movie soundtrack-inspired
builds. This unique aspect of their performance made it evident why the
same 30-40 fans seem to follow them from show to show. What it didn't
explain was why the rest of the crowd didn't shake their booties, as
guitarist Joshua Card explained in the self-examination of their
performance. When asked why the crowd didn't really dance, he said,
"People are kind of scared to get into shows too much."
Assessment: Whether or not that's a true statement, New City Lions is a
polished act that illustrates their cohesion through synchronized guitar
flips and evenly spread spotlights. This is also their weak point with
the added predictability of their well rehearsed act.
Notes: The future looks bright for both bands. Starting June 1, Easton
will be performing in Vietnam, Japan and Australia. New City Lions will
embark on a nationwide tour in June, as well. They will travel up the
East Coast before manifesting their destiny towards the wild wild West.
-- Sean Russell, TopSpotUSA.com.
Contact him at [email protected]