As much as I love vacations, the aspect of them seems to have eluded me of late and the closest I seem to get are those little moments of respite that fall outside of the normal scenarios that I often find myself adventuring into. Thanks to my good friend in music media, Christa Titus, the Piercing One would tonight be taking a breather from all of the Heavy Metal indulgence that I had been undertaking. It was needed to say the least and came right after the killer performance by Stratovarius & Pagan’s Mind that was last night over at the Nokia Theater. This brief excursion into “normalcy” would be a perfect lead into the next couple of days since tomorrow I had planned to see Stryper over at The Fillmore NY and if I could maneuver between time efficiently, both the Chris Caffery performance and Gwynbleidd one on the same day the Saturday which followed.
This evening’s fun was held at the Gibson Studios and this was a place that I had never been to before so I was rather excited about getting to explore it a little. It was also nice to be the guest of someone else for a change as that seldom happens. The purpose of the event was to deliver a good time and very good music in this Emerging Artist Showcase. There were four bands by my count and among them were Heavy Road, The Shells, Zigmat and Dynasty Electric. When we walked into the Gibson Studios we learned that the food and beverages were on one side and that the bands were performing in the main studio out in the rooms center. They had some passages of the offices blocked off and that was a little bit of a shame since there were cool guitars hanging up and I would have loved to take a few more photos of them. Here is a view of one of the hallways, sorry I couldn’t get a better angle.
The first band playing or at least the one that was in the middle of their short presentation at this time would be Heavy Road and they were pretty much a traditional level Jam Band kind of thing. I have to admit that this particular sound has never been my thing and yet despite this I know a lot of people who are deeply interested in that vibe and overall scene. I agree that depending on the musicians that are involved in the project that it can have its moments but I cannot say that I ever followed any of the active Jam Bands on the scene. These guys sounded good though and I am sure if you are a study of the genre that they might be just what you are looking for.
Next up was a three female group called The Shells. The group labels themselves as “Cosmo-Country” and that was a new one for me, but I will say run with it if it works for you. The three lovely ladies that make up the group are Carrie Welling from Colorado Springs, CO, Melanie Klaja from Buffalo, NY, and Jessica Rae Waltz from Nashville, TN. A very wide spanning region for a group to find themselves uniting but it happened and they were looking to give us their all. I liked their sound but didn’t know any of their songs per se since this was a showcase and most around me were learning about these bands tonight. I think that the group can go far based on how popular groups like the Dixie Chicks became and while these girls have a similar lineup in some sense their musical side is different enough for them to impress most Country fans. Good luck ladies.
I took a few minutes to wander around and enjoy some of the additional sites of the Gibson Studios and we happened upon this wonderful photo of the legendary Les Paul and the Gibson Company president. Sadly the music world lost this musical genius and guitar innovator only about a month ago and while this sucked very much we could at least say that we had him for 94 years. He will always hold the title of the Father of the Electric Guitar. Thanks Les.
Here are a couple of the guitars that were hanging on the walls. As you can see in the photo, one of these was apparently fashioned to celebrate the 25th Year of the CMJ Festival which was in 2005.
The band Zigmat was up next and their style was very different from the group that just finished up. It was a very electronic themed kind of Jazz meets Reggae meets Pop and they were fronted by the lovely Monica Rodriguez. She had some serious melody coming out of her pipes and a pretty cool hair style to boot. Also in the band is Stephen Yonklin and they had just released a CD called “The Sound Of Machines”. I liked her voice quite a bit and at times she had a whole Sade sort of register and then was able to raise the audio sonics with a higher pitched tone. I felt as far as an Indie band was concerned that they had what it takes to make their mark.
Between sets I took another walk around the space and it seemed at every turn there was tasty food to sample and sustain you that came care of Whole Foods. It was really good and before you ask if I took photos of the buffets, the answer is no. Sorry, I didn’t feel like taunting you. I did manage to get the best possible shot I could based on the angle and light that I had to present this amazing tribute to the late Les Paul. The photo was signed by numerous guitar legends of the day and all of them were clearly influenced and impacted by this incredible musician.
There was also a giant guitar at the entrance of the space which I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of.
Now it was back to the music and apparently one of the bands that many of the people present were looking forward to in Dynasty Electric. This was another group with a minimal roster but when you heard what they were doing it was clear that they didn’t need a massive lineup to get their point across. Fronted by the very energetic Jennifer DeVeau, there was really a lot of energetic stuff going on and she made it all the more interesting by her constant bounding around the now crowded studio room. Joining Jennifer in the group is guitarist, computer controller, sax and vocalist Seth Misterka. They also had an album under their belt called “Box Of Light”. During the few songs performed Jennifer also played a theremin and that is an instrument that has always fascinated me since when its used properly can really make a song unique. I would most likely see them again in the future and perhaps even blog about their set should the time allow me to do so.
Had the chance to catch a candid moment with Zigmat’s own Monica Rodriguez who was talking to one of the charming interns working the event.
Also present and accounted for at the event was Jen Meola who works at an enterprise called “Rock This”. She said we had met at previous events but my brain was a little scattered as to which exact one. Jen wanted a photo of herself at the giant guitar so I gladly obliged. Consider this the first official Rock This and PiercingMetal collaboration LOL.
Since we were now doing some candid shots I asked that charming intern in the photo above somewhere to do me a favor and get me in front of the Les Paul tribute mural. I tried my best to seem reflective and respectful in Les’ honor.
I really enjoyed being able to take part in something as different as this event was and it bears mentioning that while primarily featuring media folks in the room, that this was open to the general public in some capacity. Part of those earnings were put aside for an organization called Musicians On Call and you can learn more about them by clicking on their official link below. In the end what made this so interesting was the amount of different things that were going on and how all sorts of cool networking was taking place. With music its always best to keep an open mind because if you don’t, some really cool stuff will pass you by. Ciao for now my friends, I hope you enjoyed this little side adventure – now it was time for me to prepare for the Metal onslaught once again. Stay tuned for those reports.