Saturday night GEMINI SYNDROME was back in Dallas to play where? My favorite club in all the land, TREES!! I couldn’t believe I was finally catching them here after two previous missed opportunities. You all know how much I love it there, and with the trusty Darkhouse Image at my side shooting these killer photos you see before you it just made everything better.
But before I go any further, I have to take a moment to acknowledge the band EMPHATIC who went on right before GEMINI SYNDROME. I had no idea who they were or what they were about (What?? I know!) but they had my full attention 30 seconds in. This band has a killer sound, great hooks, and a dynamite stage presence. I was so impressed I went home and bought BOTH albums (Another Life and Damage) from iTunes at midnight, THAT’S how much I enjoyed them. Lead singer Grant Kendrick who I’m told only just joined the tour was thrown into a hornet’s nest and he did a phenomenal job of commanding the room. You best believe I’ll be seeing them again when they come to town. I love that guitarist Justin McCain was sporting a GEMINI SYNDROME t-shirt as well. Respect.
As soon as the lights went down and the intro of “LUX” finished, the opening riffs to “Pleasure and Pain” ripped through Trees, letting all in attendance know that GEMINI SYNDROME was here, and on a mission. Next up was “Syndrome”, another one designed for us riffaholics, guitarist Mike Salerno singing behind vocalist Aaron Nordstrom on the choruses to absolute perfection. After a brief hello, the band tore into “Basement” one of THREE smashes off of debut album LUX. This is a fantastic song, and live it is even more punishing, drummer Brian Steele Medina and bassist Alessandro ‘AP’ Paveri calling down the thunder for every note, every hit, every slam, and every groove. And when Aaron takes off for “NOTHING EVER TAKES AWAY THE SHIT THAT I SEE EVERYDAY, WITH TOTAL INCONSISTENCY SO FUCK THE WHOLE CONSPIRACY, SOOOO LONG!! I’M FUCKING GOOOONE!!” I had goosebumps it’s so powerful.
“Left of Me” is another really brutal and pummeling song live, and is normally a treat for me. However, it should be noted at this point that from my perfect perch on the balcony I began calculating how quickly I could get downstairs and strangle the sound man due to the fact that Aaron’s mic was nonexistent for the entire first verse and both he and Mike were clearly having problems with their In-Ear monitors during this song and the previous three. Nothing makes my blood boil more than seeing one of today’s greatest bands having to deal with this nonsense, especially when the local yokel opener had not one single issue. Mercifully all the problems seemed to be resolved by the time “Falling Apart” started, another aggressive and stellar song.
And now it was time to change the tempo up a bit but not at the expense of the intensity. “Mourning Star” can only be described as hauntingly beautiful, and the vibe on “Resurrection” is downright evil and scary, Rich Juzwick and Mike hitting this crunchy tone that feels like it could knock down walls while Aaron sings in a bone-chilling guttural voice. From here the boys launched into “Pay For This” and the young lady next to me who knew NOTHING about the band except what I told her looked at me and simply said, “WHOA!” I just smiled knowingly. Gotcha. Another Synner converted tonight. Finally it was time for “Stardust” my favorite song off the album and a finalist for The Maestro’s Best Song of 2013. This song is just tearing up satellite radio right now and I couldn’t be happier. Of course live it just fucking burns, and the crowd singing was very, very loud.
What else can I say about this band live that hasn’t already been written? They flat-out bring it every single night. I’m telling you, you need to see GEMINI SYNDROME in concert. Sell blood, hock jewelry, do whatever you have to do to get a ticket. Before the first song is over you will be a Synner like the rest of us, guaranteed.