Live review: The Jupiter Tide

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The Jupiter Tide, Namesake, Ruckus Avenue, Shadow of Myself

Amos' Southend

June 3, 2011

Photos by Rebecca Ruddy

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The Deal: The Jupiter Tide played second of four bands at Amos’ Southend, but had enough crowd presence to have held the headlining spot among the bands present. This was also the first show with the band’s new drummer, Joey Garrett, so there was something new to prove. Shadow of Myself, Ruckus Avenue and Namesake rounded out the evening with a variety of sounds on the rock-metal continuum.

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The Good: There are few bands in Charlotte that simultaneously rock as hard and work as hard as The Jupiter Tide. In addition to playing its songs that possess widespread appeal in the alternative metal/hard rock genre, the band articulates the meaning and energy of its music through dramatic stage movement as well with hardcore head-banging, light-up-mic-stand spinning and karate kicks. Its sound is the mutant offspring of Megadeth and 30 Seconds to Mars, with blazing guitar harmonies set afire by both lead-quality guitarists Monte Anderson and Brett Baker and dynamically melodic vocals from singer Adam Nelson. Adam and Monte harmonize vocally as well, going toe-to-toe in power and control on both the singing and the metal-injected screaming. Even though Monte’s long hair, orange contact lenses, and oddly-coiffed beard make him look a bit like an axe-murdering mountain man, his axe-murdering is strictly practiced in the musical sense — he’s a string-searing bad-ass. Brand new drummer Joey jumped right in and double-kicked some serious ass as well, pounding out strong, clean time-keeping for the rhythm section with bassist Daniel Hoover.

The other bands were all decent, though the only one that stood out songwriting-wise was Namesake. For fans of high-energy emo songs, these guys’ record due out June 21 is probably worth a listen, and its show might be worth seeing a few months down the road (more about that in a moment).

Shadow of Myself’s lead guitarist Brian Baker had some impressive axe control on his solos even if his riffs were mundane in comparison, and the vocalist, Travis Keziah, had a strong voice and expression that could stand out with the right song.

The guitarist from Ruckus Avenue, Chad Chriscoe, took the lead vocals on a couple of their songs and showed enough emotion and prowess as a vocalist that he dwarfed the talent of Philip Morgan, the designated singer of the band.

The Bad: The Tide was a bit off this time on its usually good cover of 10 Years’ “Wasteland,” with the vocals just not quite gelling throughout the song. Moments of greatness peeked out from what was otherwise a pretty boring rendition of a slower song that, despite allowing for some sing-along from the audience, decelerated the momentum of the show. Luckily, they amped it back up right afterward with their new tune “Save Me,” which rings of late-90s Stabbing Westward.

Namesake, while showing off some intriguing tunes, fell flat in its performance of them. Singer Will Crafton was constantly wandering off pitch, and the sampling tracks provided as much drumming as the actual drummer Kevin Nordeste (who wasn’t bad according to his drum solo mid-set). From a stage presence standpoint, guitarist Brad Wagner stood out strongly as the only one with any real sign of animated showmanship, and bassist James Nalley might as well have been a mannequin for all his stage movement. They do have potential as a band, but need some serious work on solidifying their stage presence.

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The Verdict: The Jupiter Tide had a good, entertaining show, with its new addition meshing well in the mix, but they should maybe stick to the energetic original songs or pick some better-fitting cover songs to play, at least. The fans loved it, and the band closed their set with their catchy-but-brutal “Fig. A” that ends with hard hits and three brutal growls, sending the band off stage on a climactic high note. Namesake, also, may be worth seeing again once they get a little more stage experience under their belts.

The Jupiter Tide will be back in the Charlotte area on June 18 at The Money in Rock Hill, S.C., and June 24 at The Hot Box in Lancaster, S.C.

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