CONCERT REVIEW: Starset at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska

Palisades, Grabbitz and Year of the Locust as their openers

Outside of the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, NE. Photo by Dean Birkheimer.

Bourbon Theater – Lincoln, NE – 2/20/18

“Forget scientists. The next space launch we should send up painters, poets and musicians. I’d be more interested in what they discover than anything that takes place in a test tube.” – James Rozoff

Ah yes, the Bourbon Theater. One of my favorite “small venue” places to shoot. Pray tell Dean, why such praise for the Bourbon? Well, first it’s just a great layout, several tiers, but no real balconies. Kinda like a baseball stadium. Plenty of space along the sides as there are walkways separated by rails and most importantly (at least for a photographer) A large photo pit. Tonight, this awesome venue hit a homer and treated us to four great bands. Year of the Locust, Grabbitz, Palisades and Starset. The start time was 7p.m. which as a 57 year I love, especially on a school night. Time to Play Ball.

Leading off was Year of the Locust, or YOTL. YOTL are former New York Hard Rock band of the year award winners and are made up of Scot Mcgiveron (Lead Vocal), Fred Serrel (Bass), Peter Hellers (Guitars) and Raeshwan Greene – a.k.a. Awesome Ray-Ray (Drums). Their style of play is, well actually they have no style, THEY JUST ROCK!! Oh good lord, how they rock. Why is this band opening for anybody? This is how rock is supposed to be played. Hard, Loud, but simple. Light show? What light show? Sound effects? What sound effects? I’m not saying light shows and sound effect are bad, depends on the band but this band didn’t need either. From Rise Up to the end of their (regrettably) quick set they had us all on a high-energy plane as we jumped, banged and jumped some more. This is a furious band who showed every other band who has ever opened a show, how to open a show. I have found another band to blast to the world with my windows down and my subs to full throttle. Yep, I’m that dork.

Batting 2nd was Grabbitz. Back in July, Rolling Stone magazine gave us their “artist you need to know” list and not surprisingly, Grabbitz (Nichols Chiari) was on it. If you’re one of the over 15 million people who have watched the Deadmau5 Let Go (Cube 2.1) video, you know who Grabbitz is. He is a stunningly wonderful vocalist who comes on stage as if he is going to just hit you with some EDM DJing, but he does and is so much more. He is a full-fledged entertainer whose only interest is enjoying and hope you’re enjoying his music. He takes his music personally and he won’t just stand behind his electronics. He is constantly moving about the stage and wants to connect with his audience. Seeing Grabbitz live is an experience and if you pay attention to his lyrics you will experience a part of his life. His album “Things Change” is an absolute must listen.


GRABBITZ SET LIST:
ALL ALONE – DON’T LET ME GO – TOLD YA SO – FOLLOW ME – SHOWTIME – UGLY – LET GO – MY CLOUD


Hitting 3rd, in an important RBI position was PALISADES. Stepping up to the plate were Louis “Lou” Miceli Jr (vocals), Xavier Adames (lead guitar), Matthew Marshall (rhythm guitar), Brandon Elgar (bass) and Aaron Rosa (drums). It’s obvious this band came up to bat with the intention to knock it out of the park. These guys are no nonsense and are serious about playing hard and fast. This New Jersey based band (by the way, I’m originally from West Orange N.J. and it’s called SODA not POP) released a self-titled album back in January and kicked off their set with Aggression, the first song off that new LP. It was all it took to get the crowd fired up. The band had us completely where they wanted us. Frothing at the mouth for more. They did not disappoint as Personal and Better Chemicals were hit at us, like a line drive come-backer to the mound. We tried to duck, but their music caught us flush in the face. We needed a break and we sort of got one. During the song Dark, we were all asked to pull out our cell phones and as the house lights were turned down the cell phone lights took over. It was cool seeing all those fire flies. They shifted gears again and went full throttle through-out the rest of their set, which ended with Let Down. If this latest album is any indication of things to come from this band, you better buckle up before listening to any of it.


PALISADES SET LIST:
AGRESSION – PERSONAL – BETTER CHEMICALS – FALL – BAD GIRLS – DARK – THROUGH HELL – MEMORIES – COLD HEART (WARM BLOOD) – LET DOWN


Cleaning up was Starset, if ever there were or is a cinematic rock band, Starset is that band. Dustin Bates, Ron DeChant, Brock Richards and Adam Gilbert make up the bands nucleus and while on tour you may catch Jonathan Kample on cello and Siobhan Cronin on violin. They formed in 2013 in Columbus Ohio and bring to us a sound that no other band dares to compete with. This is orchestrated EDM with metal sounding guitars. The lyrics are magnificent, and their instrumentation perfectly fills any existing space it can find. Their stage is adorned with space and science themes and everyone, but the lead vocalist is trimmed in astronaut space suits. Hey listen, if you’re going to go on stage like this, you damn well better good at what you do, and Starset is. Matter of fact they are better than good, they are spectacular. This is their Immersion: Part One tour. The tour is in support of their latest album, Vessels. Their “demonstration” as the band calls it, kicked off with Satellite and Frequency. Thirteen more songs followed and in the middle we were treated to a small acoustic show featuring Telepathic and Starlight. The band played with us a little bit when, instead of walking off for an encore, they simply just acknowledged that this was the part where we would normally walk off and hope you cheer us back on, but instead of all that, why don’t we just play more music. They finished up with Bringing it Down and the Smash My Demons. This band is technologically savvy. They encourage the use of cell phones and as a matter of fact, have an “Augmented Reality” app which you can download for free. There is a 90 second countdown in which, if you have downloaded the app, you will treated to a rocket launch and as you take pictures of the show the app would add stars, constellations, and other planetary images. If you are not familiar with this band, please check them out, if you get a chance to see one of their demonstrations, do not hesitate to attend.


STARSET SET LIST:
SATELLITE – FREQUENCY – GRAVITY OF YOU – LAST TO FALL – DIE FOR YOU – POINT OF NO RETURN – TELESCOPE – IT HAS BEGUN – CARNIVORE – TELEPATHIC (unplugged) – STARLIGHT (unplugged) – MONSTER – UNBECOMING – RICOHET – DOWN WITH THE FALLEN – BRINGING IT DOWN – MY DEMONS


– Dean Birkheimer, Go Venue Magazine Photojournalist (all photos by Dean Birkheimer)

Starset Gallery

Palisades Gallery

Grabbitz Gallery

Year of the Locust