Per my tradition at the SubT, I watched the first band, beer in hand, from the balcony. Brighton MA took the stage, apparently coming to the rescue after a scheduling mishap.
Part of the tradition includes my underestimation of the first band to perform, and as that realization happened, we made our way downstairs to catch the rest of the set a bit closer. Prior to performing “Wake the Dead”, singer Matt Kerstein joked about doing the song a cappella… and quickly recanted, saying to his bandmates “No seriously, guys, please play with me”.
The crowd, adequately warmed up, began to fill in as Hemmingbirds took the stage. An impressive chorus of hand claps led in “Line of Bones”, and Chicago was even treated to a post-Halloween performance of “Thriller”. In what kind of looked boy-bandish (but sounded infinitely better), the outfit harmonized on the background vocals of “Toxic Noise”.
Hemmingbirds’ live sound varies from their recorded sound in a great way; the set was characterized by a different energy and loud, distorted guitars. They truly work great together on stage.
With no further ado, Elsinore began. They introduced their new album PUSH/PULL, released in early October. Singer and lead guitarist, Ryan Groff, was a very animated performer; his vocals were actually quite beautiful and worked well across the different styles of music on their recent release. Elsinore was even accompanied, on a few songs at least, by a brass section. Their live performance was just as warm as their album, which they played in full this evening.