Hartford's Webster Theater brought an impressive lineup to town last week with a great mix of local artists along with Open Air Stereo, Devour the Day, Candlebox, and Hinder. California's Open Air Stereo kicked off the main stage with an upbeat blend of alternative pop-rock. Within a few minutes they had won over the crowd. Singer Chase Johnson joined drummer Nick Gross on drums throughout the set, adding to the catchy dance-along beats behind his own mini kit. Their set was reminiscent of the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars and Imagine Dragons, giving us a great start to the night.
Devour the Day kept the energy running high; bassist Joey Walser bounced around the stage nonstop to tracks from the band's debut album Time & Pressure. Singer and guitarist Blake Allison may have been great behind the drums in Egypt Central, but he fits right into the role of frontman, amping the audience up with his raspy screams and edgy vocals on tracks like "Get Out of My Way". They closed out the set with the catchy hit single "Good Man"; by the time they left the stage people were more than ready to keep on rocking with the bands to come.
For many in attendance, seeing Candlebox live had been a long time coming. A warm welcome greeted the 90's favorites the instant they took the stage to play "". Their set was a throwback to the 90's alternative scene, packed with hits such as "You" and "Cover Me". They closed the set with "Far Behind", during which fans drowned the band out each time the chorus hit.
The temporary absence of Hinder frontman Austin Winkler left many fans wondering what to expect from the bands live shows. Rather than letting their fans down by canceling shows, the band chose to keep going, recruiting Saving Abel's Jared Weeks to take over on vocals. Mere seconds into the opening track "Up All Night" it was clear that Weeks hadn't just made it a point to learn the songs, but to own them. The on stage chemistry between the former tour mates was great as they powered through "Get Stoned", "All American Nightmare" and "Lips of an Angel", and guitarist Blower provided some awesome guitar solos throughout the night.
I was pleasantly surprised to witness two concerts in one, with the inclusion of Saving Abel hits "The Sex is Good" and "Addicted" to treat Saving Abel fans to a little bit of Weeks' own songs. The entire set was on point, and the band showed that they are as tight as ever. To those skeptical of catching a Hinder show while we await the return of Winkler, their current tour is a rare opportunity you don't want to miss to see two of the best in modern rock bands combined.