I was originally assigned to photograph and review the band YOB at Will’s Pub in Orlando. 3 days before the concert my editor contacted me and said the show had changed venues and I needed to head to Soundbar in Orlando instead. I arrived early while the bar was prepping for the show. One of the best aspects of my job is sometimes meeting the bands candidly before or after their performance. I was definitely lucky this night I ran into Travis Foster (drummer) of YOB outside the venue. Without driving him crazy I asked how the tour was going and asked why they switched to Soundbar? He very politely explained the schedule was busy but they were definitely enjoying the venues they had been playing at. The band wanted to play Soundbar because they wanted it to be an all ages show. Again knowing that sound checks and prep for the show was going on, excused myself and left Travis alone.
The doors opened promptly at 8pm and I entered the club. If you haven’t checked out the Soundbar for a show, don’t put it off. Having grown up in the Northeast I often went to rock shows in NYC. I would put Soundbar up there with some of the best rock clubs in the city I ever partied at.
The Show opened with the band Junior Bruce. The band formed in 2007 in Deland, Florida and have been rocking ever since. It didn’t take long for them to get the already packed bar cranked up.
The second band Bell Witch is a 2-man doom metal band from Seattle. They have gained critical success with the release of their album “Mirror Reaper”. Their set like the album rather than being multiple songs is one continuous set. Both Dylan (bass) and Jesse(drums and foot organ) work with each other building an intense, emotional, dark but triumphant ride through each bass riff and drum strike. The crown during the performance was silent and reverent. The pace and synchronicity of the two reach deeply inside the mind of the listener or at least it did for me. Probably one of the most interesting shows I have ever witnessed.
The night ended with YOB. Whenever I am assigned a band to review, I like to spend the week prior focusing solely on their music. For those who don’t know the band, Mike Scheidt (guitar and vocals) was gravely ill when he penned the songs for their newest release, “Are Raw Heart”. Accompanied by Travis Foster (drums) and Aaron Rieseberg (bass), the bands newest album showcases their talent and skill as musicians.I found the music dark, as well as emotional and inspiring. This brings me back to the show. I attended believing that I would hear very talented musicians performing their latest album. I was so completely wrong and surprised. To be honest, YOB’s album which is excellent does not prepare you for their stage presence. From the first note till the final note, YOB took the packed to capacity crowd on a rollercoster ride which was both dark,light as well as intense and emotional.
Listening to the description you are probably wondering why I was surprised? It was the way the their show ended. Actually I didn’t want it to end, I wanted it to keep going. YOB is love and it was shouted more than once by people in the crowd. Whatever happened to Mike Scheidt after barely living through emergency surgery and almost dying, seems to translate through their performance.
I have attended many concerts in my life but never have I felt that I was one with the band like I felt in the presence of YOB. YOB embraces the crowd in a kind of symbiotic relationship. Together we lived and almost died through the music only to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. People were pushing forward reaching out to make contact with the band members, and the band members were reaching back. It was almost like a celebration. YOB may be love and many other things, but it’s definitely a band you must see in person to truly experience.
Photos and Review by Jake Rage