Timotheus G. Hinton
RED is an alternative metal, hard rock band from Nashville, Tennessee that originally formed in 2002. They were recently in town this past Friday (October 28th) performing at The Rex Theatre, which was just one of the many dates slated on “The End of Silence 10th Anniversary Tour.” The band holds a very special place in my heart, so it was a pure treat to see them live once more (the first time in over five years might I add). There’s a lot of ground to cover in this thing, so without further ado, let’s get on with the review.
Man was it refreshing to be at a live rock show. I’ve missed the energy of these concerts so much. The past year and a halves’ worth of shows that I’ve attended is primarily made up of rap and jazz, with a few alternative and indie artists thrown in every now and then, so being at a rock show once again was ridiculously fun. Even though I only knew two of the four bands performing, I was still amped to see what all of them would be laying down. This was also my first show at The Rex, so I was pretty interested in seeing how the venue was as well.
The merch stand game was top notch. One thing I always look forward to at concerts (or any live event really) is what merch the artists are selling. This was probably the best stand at any concert I’ve been to this year. Each band was selling a solid amount of stuff, with a variety of things to choose from. RED had the largest stand (cus they were headlining) and had a bunch of shirts and hoodies, many of which I probably would’ve bought. Sadly, I’m a broke college student and can’t afford to drop a bunch of money on things I don’t really need, so I just settled on a few things. (I couldn’t buy VIP tickets for this same reason, which still bums me out a lot. Le sigh.) Anyways, on to the music.
The first band that was up was Random Hero. They hit the stage a few minutes before 7 and had a quick 25 minute set that got the crowd ready. The stage presence of their lead, Aaron Watkins, is what stood out most for me from their set. The group was genuine and real, which I always appreciate. They also tried crowd involved early on, which actually succeeded (unlike openers who fail to get anything going for their entire time on stage). For the short amount of time they had, they put on a pretty good set, one that I enjoyed.
There was a quick 13 minute break before the next band, Spoken, took stage. In that time, two songs from my other favorite band ever, Chevelle, were played. This was a trend that would continue in between sets for the entire night. So much Chevelle was played. I have no idea why, but I honestly don’t care. It was clutch and made the usually agonizing time between sets very enjoyable.
So Spoken came out. They kind of ruined the whole Chevelle thing that was going on at the time. Part way through their set I figured I wasn’t enjoying them because I wasn’t paying attention. But naw, they were just that boring and forgettable. The sound quality did dip at this point in the night, so that could also lend a hand in why they weren’t all that great.
Only 15 minutes passed between them and Disciple, the only other band I had heard of other than RED. Their set was longer than the previous two, clocking in at 45 minutes. Their first song was brief and pretty meh while their follow up (which really kicked things off) was great. The rest of the set followed a similar trend, with some songs being decent and others fantastic. It says a lot about the band when they have this trend (which isn’t a bad thing by any means) and continue to have the audience’s attention. The group as a whole had the same realness that Random Hero had to them which was another plus. Really good set. Also, a couple got engaged on stage at about the halfway point, which was cool I guess.
I’m gonna try to be as brief as possible when talking about RED’s set. It was an hour and thirty minutes of pure greatness. The band reels you in before they even hit the stage. Their honesty and transparency shines and the performance is just as passionate as it is powerful. Because this was “The End of Silence 10th Anniversary Tour”, lots of the set was comprised of their 2006 debut End of Silence (if you couldn’t guess by the tour name). They played all but one song from the album and mixed in some stuff from their others, many of which are my personal favorites, so that was pretty awesome. The vocals from lead singer Michael Barnes were beautiful (it was so pure live) and the guitar and bass work from the Armstrong twins was top notch. RED’s been without an official drummer for over 2 years now, but Dave Johnson, who was playing with them for this stop did a mighty fine job behind the kit. They also did a cover of the Nirvana classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Also, before playing one of their more popular tunes, “Pieces”, Mike bought up a couple, who winded up getting engaged on stage. So there were two separate proposals at one show. Safe to say proposals at concerts are now overrated.
Anyways, RED was amazing. It was everything I’d want in a live performance. I sense that they have one more official album in them, with a few tours left, so if this is one of their last go-rounds for a bit, I’m glad to have seen them live once more.
Ranking the Sets:
3. Random Hero
4. Chevelle (They could’ve had their own set with amount of them that was played between acts)