JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
I’m so happy that live music is back, you guys. Like…words can’t really express how excited I’ve been to get back out and be amongst sweaty humans paying too much for tall boys and headbanging to some good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll.
And on 07.13.2021 at the Royal Grove in Lincoln, NE was no exception.
It was a FOUR – that’s right – FOUR band bill that rolled into town, and it absolutely did not disappoint.
Kicking off the show was Pushing Veronica, a band from California. This is the second time I’ve seen these fellas (the first was in 2019 when they opened for Like A Storm), and they always come out with high energy and a wardrobe that would make any millennial beam with both pride and envy. I’ll admit, for a metal show it was unusual to have a punk opener, but I’m a sucker for a good punk band, so my first thought was, “Fuck yeah! A punk band!”
They performed their notable tracks such as “Angsty,” “Young Love,” and “Reason to Cry.” My only gripe with their set was that the building wasn’t as full as I would’ve liked it to be. It’s tough on a Tuesday, but they still played like they had a packed house – and that’s what counts for me.
Following them was a band out of New York called Ovtlier (pronounced ‘Outlier’) and they didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Coming out in bulletproof vests, both the vocals and the beats were like shotgun blasts to my earholes – and I loved every minute of it. Playing notable tracks suck as “Vice,” “Bulletproof,” and “Buried Me Alive,” every minute of the set was as heavy hitting as you’d want it to be. With a few more audience members in attendance for their set, it was nice to have some people in the front throwing the familiar horns and screaming until their voices gave out.
And I’ve gotta give it to em – even with a technical difficulty of a microphone cutting out during one of their last songs, they kept the show going – it was nice to see that their music wasn’t tracked like some of the big names do these days – Ovtlier is the real deal (and even though I’m probably not supposed to say it – they’re super nice humans too)! Even their tour photographer was a pretty cool cat!
Following this ear pounding beatdown was A Killer’s Confession. Now, when I was sitting outside casually enjoying a gin & tonic (yeah yeah, leave me alone – I’m an adult and I can drink what I want), bassist JP Cross told me an interesting story about the band. They don’t hail from anywhere, because they all live…well…everywhere. The drummer is from Philadelphia. Some of them live in Ohio. Others live in North Carolina. When lead vocalist Waylon Reavis (formerly from Mushroomhead) wrote the track “A Killer’s Confession” he was offered a record deal immediately – and the band had to put together an entire album in just two months. So when they went on tour – they had literally never played together on a stage before.
But here they are, two records later, and they’re still commanding the stage and kicking ass like they play together all the time. Playing hits such as, “Numb,” “Trapped Inside,” and “Angel on the Outside,” the audience responded in kind – throwing up hands and providing obvious signatures of approval for the band from everywhere. And even with the technical difficulty of playing through a burnt amp wire – they still brought the house down.
After about a 30-minute interlude, it was time for Gemini Syndrome to take the stage.
And what a show it was.
They came out first with their hit single, “IDK,” and just kept steamrolling from there with “Die With Me” which is one of their new singles. To date, it’s got almost half a million plays on Spotify and is definitely worth checking out. They also played hit tracks such as, “Pleasure and Pain,” “Remember We Die,” and “Stardust.”
Vocalist Aaron Nordstrom put on a show, hardly standing in one place for more than 3 seconds, but paused long enough to thank the crowd for coming out to see them. He described his band as, “Spiritual musicians” and if you listen deeply enough to the lyrics, you know that this is something that Nordstrom feels to his core. From our interview a few weeks ago, he is very spiritually driven, and I love that he leaves little clues in the music for the fans to decode.
And can we talk about stage presence? I know that Gemini Syndrome has a…well…religious fan base (take that how you will), but it was as though every single word Nordstrom belted out came right back to him that night. Almost everyone in the audience was singing back – which is something that’s always been impressive to me. Sometimes you get bands who play some new songs or songs that aren’t as popular on a tour and the audience doesn’t know what to do with them. Not these guys – it was as though everyone in that audience was connected by not just the pulsating rhythms or the lyrics that seem to inspire you to live your life to the fullest – but almost by…something more.
At the end of our time together (which trust me, no one wanted that to end), drummer Brian Steele Medina came down from the drum kit to shake hands with the crowd still huddled together around the pit and tossed a few drumsticks out to adoring fans chanting “ONE MORE SONG!” Bassist Alessandro Paveri came and hung out at the merch table for a bit and chatted with fans. It’s always amazing to see a band that cares for the fans like the fans care for the band. Gemini Syndrome delivered 12 tracks of pure adrenaline interwoven with layers of deep, intricate meaning, and the fans definitely gave back.
One hell of a show, that’s for sure.
Make sure you get these bands on your playlists – they didn’t – and more importantly – WON’T – disappoint your ear holes!
A Killer’s Confession
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