Archive for March, 2011

10 Things I Love About (Through) You

March 2, 2011 4 comments

My buddies in Traverser just got back into town after 2 1/2 months touring the east coast.  This was their first tour, but it was an overall success and the guys are in very high spirits.  They’re back in town, but that doesn’t mean they get to relax too much… we booked a few local shows in the few weeks until they take off again for another few months.

One of the shows was in Sanford, FL, at the Route 46 “Entertainment Complex.” Very cool venue… kind of an indoor / outdoor multi-building party spot, but done very professionally.  John McCutchan booked the show, with his longtime cohorts Through You as the headliners.

I’ve been working with Through You since 2004.  The band had just formed, but was blowing up in a big way.  Most of the guys were very young… the guitarist and drummer – brothers – were still in high school.  As the years went on, they landed a spot on Warped Tour (thanks for letting me guitar tech for a day) and toured the US and Japan.

As the music industry changed, they, like many bands, struggled to adjust.  One brother decided it was time to leave, and their lead guitarist went back up north.  I figured they were done.  Had a great run, but things change… good luck in the future.

Two years later, I heard the name Through You again.  Really?  You’re gonna try to get the old band back together?  That never works.  But it did.  For real.

I saw Through You last night in Sanford, and I also saw their “Welcome Back” show several months ago.  Frankly, their welcome back show was… like the last time I skied.  I forgot to weave back and forth, and just rocketed down the slope at full speed.  When I crashed, I’m pretty sure I did permanent damage to my spine.  In the same way, the guys were so excited to be in front of 1200 people at House of Blues that everything seemed over the top.

Last night reminded me why I love Through You.  I don’t mean “love” like some ponytailed LA talent scout saying, “Love ya, babe.  Let’s do lunch!”  I mean LOVE: to truely and emotionally care about something on a deep level.  I will now tell you why, in an inordinately cheesy format.

Bring it...

1) Every song is better than the last.  I mean that chronologically.  Whenever Through You says, “Here’s a new song!”  I don’t cringe.  That’s a good sign.  The guys manage to walk the fine line between “innovative” and “nothing like the old songs I like.”  That’s really hard.

2) There’s a guy on stage for every girl in the crowd.  It’s a fact:  the girls in the audience are all hoping there’s at least one really hot guy on stage.  Each member of TY is in great shape, and they’re dressed in a manner that expresses their personality, makes them feel comfortable, and makes them look good.  Whether you want a trim farm boy, a muscular, tatted New Yorker, an extra from Twilight, or a shy, softspoken barely-legal basketball player, someone on stage is going to perk your, ahem… interest.  Oh, and then there’s Jeremy, the bass player.  Yes, he looks great in his flannel and beard, but he’s now Married with Piglet, so don’t get too hung up.  And no, I’m not calling his baby ugly… he keeps food as a pet.  Like the Hindus… but I digress…

3) They’re good dudes.  I got the chance the other night to chat up Sam, their newest guitarist.  Dude’s from Iowa, by way of New York, Miami, and other cities I’ve forgotten.  He joined up with the band 3 years ago, right after relocating to Orlando.  He had so many positive things to say about Orlando’s music scene… it made me feel like a jaded jackass.  Sam, and the rest of the guys, will talk to anyone without a hint of ego and are genuinely friendly.

4) Billy doesn’t still hate me.  If you know me, you’ll know that I do really care about people.  I’m not out to start problems or spread gossip.  That said, sometimes I’m an idiot.  At some point during the hiatus, I caught wind of a rumor and was dumb enough to carry it on.  It made its way back to Billy, who was good enough to call me up and tell me I was an idiot.  And I was… and I told him so.  I apologized for being a mindless sheep, and asked for his forgiveness.  He told me we were all good.  We are.  A lot of people like to hold onto grudges and enjoy rehashing them.  Being able to see this guy around without fearing a beatdown means a lot to me.

5) They connect with their audience.  Last night, they announced that they were ending the set with a new song.  Again, I always have a skeptical reaction to that phrase… Play the song, don’t tell me it’s new.  Otherwise, I’m bracing for the inevitable suck.  And DON’T…EVER.. lead or close with a new song.  The first song is when the crowd decides whether they’re into you, or going to go outside and smoke and talk to some chick for an hour.  The last song is the one that most of the audience will remember.  This last song was not only new, it was a ballad!  What are you… the Scorpions?  I was really enjoying the set, but when this song started, I wandered off.  A ballad?  I thought they were smarter than this…but… the crowd is singing the hook.  Now they’re clapping along… and the guys are harmonizing… and this is actually a pretty good song…and the last 30 seconds is only the band and audience singing together and clapping.  THERE’S the last song connection – and if that’s all anyone remembers, they’ll think they saw U2 last night.  Incredibly powerful.

6) They’re humble.  Like I said, they’ll talk to anyone after the show, and genuinely appreciate the fact that people dig what they’re doing.  With the experience that these guys have under their belt, you’d think that Sanford, FL would be underwhelming.  But they still brought a 100% show.

7) They appreciate their fans. They’re genuinely interested in hearing what they have to say, and spent a lot of time chatting them up last night.

8) They have true, practiced, and developed talent.  These aren’t just guys who can play well enough to jam out some Green Day in the garage.  They all continue to get better at playing their instruments and widening their musical vocabulary.  King, their drummer, has had an amazing progression over the years.  TY opened for a band I was in a few years ago, and even at 16, his drum solo shamed me off the stage.  He’s studied under some of the best in Florida, and is even more ridiculous.  Billy posts “How To Play Our Riffs” videos on YouTube, which is a great way to connect with the musicians in your fan base.  SO many bands ignore the need to constantly improve…

9) They always look like they’re on a HUGE stage.  As far as local bands go, Megaphone is the only other band I’ve seen that consistently performs like the audience is massive.  They reigned it in a few notches from the aforementioned HOB comeback show, and really have their stage show well tuned.  For whatever reason, the Sanford crowd took a few songs to wake up.  It didn’t matter to the band, though… if you’d only seen the stage, you would have sworn there were over 1,000 kids standing right in front of them.

10) They’re comfortable in their own shoes.  They know they won’t be “metal” enough for some, while others who haven’t seen a guitar solo in a few years might think they’re a little too “metal.”  Sam put it perfectly, “We’re a rock band.  If you listen to us, you’ll pick up on metal, country, alt rock, but we call ourselves a ‘Rock Band’ and let the audience figure it out.”  Instead of trying to match a genre, Through You plays what they want.  Thank God it’s all good… very good.

Check out the band, leave comments, and tell your friends…


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