In the world of music journalism you are sometimes placed into the unknown, which was the case this past Saturday at Off Broadway. All I knew going into this night was that LucaBrasi, St. Louis natives, was up for hard rock band of the year in the Riverfront Times readers' poll. I was pleasantly surprised by all three bands music and their musical diversity. The opening act for the evening was Stendek, who is as diverse as a one man band can be. His act included songs by Bel Biv Devoe to his own spin on Lady GaGa. Stendek’s act includes large amounts of audience participation, though Stendek’s imposing gaze and freakishly long dreadlocks almost put you in fear of what might happen if you didn’t participate. I asked Stendek if he had a set list that I could use for reference, but he responded with, "nah man, I just play what I feel."
Next on the bill was Black Market Peace, whose style I had trouble putting my finger on. After their set I asked three of the band's members to describe their sound and after some brief deliberation, “punk rock with finesse” was the phrase they used to sum it up. Perfect. Standout songs from this band were "Blue", "Everybody’s Addicted to Something", and "Long Drive to the Sea." Make sure to check out their album, Thanksgiving, on iTunes and more of their library at ReverbNation.
Ending the night was LucaBrasi, who hit the stage in full force with "All in Grey", with Matt McInerney’s vocals leading the charge. The band then jumped into their second song in the set with "Turned Around", featuring flashes of RUSH guitar styling’s infused with the vocals of Blind Melon. After following with "Peaks and Valleys" and "90 MPH", the St. Louis natives performed "Infinite Ceiling", an excellent song IMO, brought to mind visions of YES with a heavy edge. The band then threw me a total curveball by doing justice to Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives", which is no easy feat. But my personal favorite of the evening was "Never Know", which starts out as something that could have been created by the Beatles but halfway through quickly takes a hard right turn into a sonic wall. Once thrown into the this metaphoric wall, you are 180'd back to the subtle guitar and vocals that got your attention in the beginning. "How Long", a rock anthem, was followed by "Allegory" and brought me to the ¾ point in the set.
At this point, I began to notice a few trends regarding the show:
- 1. The crowd had moved closer to the stage.
- 2. LucaBrasi has devout fans that knew their songs.
- 3. The floor was moving like a trampoline; not good for photography purposes.
And if the floor wasn't already a trampoline, LucaBrasi broke out the heavy artillery to close out their show with "Veer", "Digging Out", and "Out of Here" before ending their set with "Stay Above". I honestly thought the floor of Off Broadway was surely going cave in during this Nirvana-inspired rocker.
As you can tell by my musical history references, LucaBrasi has a very diverse sound but this shouldn't come as a surprise since the band is a collaboration of well-known musicians in the St. Louis area. The band consists of Matt McInerney (vocals), Jerry Jost (guitar), Mike Jost (drums), Josiah Werner (bass), and Bill Reiter (keyboards). As much as I've thought about it and would like to put a label on LucaBrasi’s sound, nothing comes to mind. So I will sum up LucaBrasi with references to the character of the same name in The Godfather: tough, loyal, and ready to do business...the business of rock. I would personally like to thank LucaBrasi for allowing me to cover their show and to the good people at Off Broadway for providing a great venue for live music. Please check out LucaBrasi’s self-titled debut and their latest effort, The Norris Division, both of which are available now on iTunes. Photos of the show are below:
Black Market Peace
Contributed by Duane Clawson
LucaBrasi / Black Market Peace / Stendek @ Off Broadway, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 11:01:00 PM Rating: