Rock 4 Revival a Great Night of Music from HURT, Smile Empty Soul, and SSS
April 21, 2013
By: Nicole McKay
The first of two Rock 4 Revival tours to head out this Spring to raise money for disaster relief made it's way around the east coast this past week with HURT, Smile Empty Soul, and Sun Sky and Surface (SSS).
Making their first appearance in the US, electronic duo SSS opened up the night as people made their way inside for a night of great music. Singer Luke Danelon got the crowd going, saying that their music isn't what you'd expect on a rock tour. Fans gave them a fair chance, getting more into it with each song. While SSS may not be a rock band, they can definitely hold their own and get people moving at their live show with their contagious energy and catchy beats. Check these guys out at Facebook.com/SSSband and make sure you get there early to catch their set on this tour.
California's Smile Empty Soul took the stage next, opening up with "Afterlife" and continuing on with a mix of tracks from their five albums. Each of the tracks spanning over the last 10 years stay true to the band's style. With a grungy sound that bears a slight resemblance to Nirvana, Singer Sean Danielsen's gravelly voice came out in their edgy choruses. Fans went crazy for the favorite "Bottom of a Bottle," screaming along "I do it for the drugs" and loving every second of the early 2000's anthem.
The band kept the hits coming with "Silhouettes," Danielsen's powerful vocals drowned out on occasion by the crowd. Also included in the set was "We're Through." The chorus, featuring angry lyrics "I wanna see you foam at the mouth when I tell you that I'm gonna leave you.. We're through." had me wondering if anyone has ever used this song to break up with their significant other. The trio closed up the night with "Don't Ever Leave" from 2009's "Consciousness." The sing along track was a perfect closer to the set, after which the band headed over to merch to meet literally every fan in the building. If you get a chance to catch the band on the R4R tour, don't miss it! The tour is the last before the band returns to the studio to work on their next album, described as "Juicy" by bassist Ryan Martin during our interview with the guys.
If you read our North Carolina writer's review of the HURT show at Ziggy's last week. it is probably no secret that MPR loves this band. As SES finished up their pictures and autographs, eerie piano chords struck from drummer Victor Ribas while the lights dimmed. Frontman J Loren joined in with his violin, continuing the eerily quiet feel as he sang the opening lines to "Wars", building up to the heavy guitars and guttural screams. The haunting lyrics had everyone's attention from the very first word.
The band continued on through their hour long set, playing several songs from their most recent album "The Crux" including "Links and Waves," a unique and beautiful track that I think most fans would agree is far too short. They returned to earlier albums, Volumes I and II, for a bit, playing their heaviest song "Ten Ton Brick" as the audience moshed, screaming along as Loren held his microphone out for us to join in.
The band's musical genius came out on "Fighting Tao." A guitar and violin solo showcased guitarist Michael Roberts' talent as he played back and forth with Loren, almost like a conversation between the two instruments.
Before finishing up the night, Loren thanked everyone for listening, making sure every single person knew to stick around and meet the band. The set closed with "Rapture" from Vol. I. Ominous guitar lead the way to the heavy beats from Ribas and the simple "hey" shouted by everyone in the venue. The single was a good end to the night, exhausting the last of our energy after a night of nonstop good music.