Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Holy Roman Empire / Gloria / Small Towns Burn a Little Slower Show Review

It’d been quite a while since I’d been to a show in a smaller venue so I was very anxious to visit The 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis to see the combination of Holy Roman Empire, Gloria, and Small Towns Burn a Little Slower. As I arrived, I was very surprised at the number of people already in attendance. The small venue was almost full, more than likely because it was Small Towns’ home town.

Opening up the show was Holy Roman Empire. Their debut full length, The Longue Duree, had received a fair amount of play in my MP3 player recently so I was pretty amped to see the band perform. Despite lead vocalist Emily Schambra having to sing through a cold, the band still put on a solid performance. Emily is a very confident and full bodied vocalist, able to belt out every phrase with authority. Even with her voice a little rough at times, it can’t be denied that she killed on vocals.

The remainder of the band were just as impressive. The band as a whole are extremely tight, no doubt because of the experience level of all of the band members. Bassist Geoff Reu was an especially captivating pseudo-frontman, managing to show tons of presence on stage while playing and occasionally adding some supporting vocals. Playing a fair mix of new songs and a couple from their debut EP, Lost in Landscapes, the set was both upbeat and, at times, heavy. The hardcore backgrounds of most of the members of this band shows through as they pound out what they’re playing on their instruments, yet they never miss a note. It would be great to see this band perform as a headliner some time.

Next on the bill were local pop-punkers Gloria. Revving up for the release of their EP, A Lesson in Self Destruction, the band put on one hell of a performance, most notably by their frontman. He possessed a pitch perfect voice that had just enough of an edge when yelling to give their entire set a commanding feeling. The only thing holding him back is the continual swinging around of his mic. It got a little annoying after the first 10 times or so he did it, but instead of quitting he kept doing it every second that he wasn’t singing. A minor quibble, yes, but one that deserves note.

Gloria’s brand of keyboard infused pop-punk was, crazily enough, much more interesting than the majority of the current popular pop-punksters (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco). The songs were very energetic and the band used every ounce of that energy to get the crowd into it. For a young, unsigned band they played like they’ve been doing this for years.

After such an energetic performance, it was hard for Small Towns Burn a Little Slower to top it. For being headliners, it didn’t seem like Small Towns really cared about the show that much. For most of the short, 35 minute set he simply wandered around stage while singing his lyrics. To complicate matters there were a few technical problems throughout the set. When they were on and playing together, they sounded great, but there was no energy to back it up.

It was really to bad to have the show end with the headliner being a letdown. However, Gloria and Holy Roman Empire were both impressive bands with very strong futures. Any tour that either finds themselves on is bound to be one you should see, just in order to see them!

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