Wow, what a way to start off one’s weekend and if you don’t know what I mean then I am referring to the treat that New York City had this past Friday as the mighty Shadows Fall took to the stage at J&R Music World in Downtown, Big Apple. I know you might be confused about such a setting being used for a throttling Metal performer but the occasion was rather special as the music and electronics retailer was celebrating the Grand Opening of their musical instruments store. It is clear that now the consumer can pretty much find everything at this place and that’s a very good thing to know if you have some disposable income that you are wondering what to do with. I know that the store has held host to musical acts in the past but I don’t recall many bands like Shadows Fall participating because its just such an overpowering kind of sound that one wonders how the store would look after the band and their fans relinquished control to the management once again so I was very interested and curious as to how this was going to play out. When I arrived at about 5pm, there were already a few dozen fans in the place and the band was set to play at about 6pm for an abbreviated set. Here’s how it went down.
If you have ever enjoyed the free concert stuff that gets done at J&R Music World in the past then you know how they set it up and if you have never done this well, it is essentially a small stage that gets set up in the back area of their main floor music section. The assembled fans would need to stand in the aisles that lead to this and given their minimal space between each aisle those fans who want the best view are encouraged to arrive early to guarantee a great spot to appreciate such a thing by literally having it in your face. The stage had a few amplifiers and microphones as well as a very minimal drum kit but in the end this would surely do the trick. The guys went on rather promptly at 6pm or just after this and began to decimate the assembled crowd as I had expected. Fair seemed in very good spirits and while trying not to curse since he had been asked not to, was not always succeeding in the request. He mused aloud at how while this was a record store that it was still a Metal show and anyone who was close enough was getting a blast of air as he wind milled his incredibly long dreadlocks. Those things have to be about five feet long by now and he was totally using them to work the delivery of his Metal all the more better this evening. He proved to be quite the kidder as he introduced themselves as Menudo and at another point as The Flock Of Seagulls. It was nice to see them having such a good time.
As they played Fair would engage the audience frequently and even teased as how this drum kit was the smallest that Jason Bittner had ever played on in his life. The technical ability of the drummer shined through this by the way and he was doing the same patterns and fills that he is called upon to do in the bands material. Let this be the lesson to those who choose to hide behind massive kits as opposed to playing them well. The animated Fair sent a song out to those who bought him a shot at the bar so I am guessing that a pit stop was made before the gig which helped to loosen him up just a little more. The musician also managed to find semi secure footing to jump on top of the nearby CD racks to sing right over the audiences heads. Balance was tricky and one could see this since he was only afforded a couple of inches of space. The audience however at this up and even helped him sing one of the choruses when he leaned in to offer them the microphone. The visual angle of the show didn’t end when an accidental cymbal stand knock down happened and then Fair chose to beat the cymbal on top of this stand with one of his dreads. It didn’t give off the greatest of sounds but it was surely a cool visual for those who were right up in the front to see. He announced at the closing melodies of the fourth song that they were supposed to only do four tunes but Bittner and Bachand all looked at Fair and opted to keep on going into a fifth number. While it seemed that they offered up one new tune, or just one I didn’t recall, the band focused this short set on their albums “Threads Of Life” and “The War Within”. Three numbers came from the latest album while two came from the one which preceded it.
Fair told the audience that the new Shadows Fall CD would be coming out on the bands own label because they are tired of record companies that are killing the music industry. He poked fun at the bands which were just going through the motions and used the Manowar call to arms a few times as he proclaimed loudly into the microphone "Death To False Metal". There was another amusing part of the show where he said how by doing the album themselves that they were putting this back into the bands control and fighting the power or something to that affect. He then did a brief Rap of the song that bears this same name while the guys played behind him. He warned us to not get him started doing that stuff and I am guessing that he could hold his own, but this little sidestep would be the only rhyming experienced tonight. The finale of the fifth number led to an audience chant for one more and the guys obliged but since it had so many expletives in it they decided to self edit as the tune went along. They either said “blank” or just left dead air wherever a particular curse word would have been said. I had to say that I was amused by their split second ingenuity. All in all the guys seemed to have a great time and everyone was smiling and receiving it back in kind from their fans who I am sure would have loved some more but since there was time needed for the Meet and Greet and the store closes the doors at 7:30pm, they had to end it with this one.
The band remained at the quickly set up signing table for the fans that remained to get some things signed. They had a poster available for free which the guys were all scribbling their signatures on which I felt was a nice bonus to an already cool early evening bit of fun. While there were a few hundred people watching the show, it seemed as though less than this number opted to remain for the short meet and greet session. Of course I was distracted for a few minutes and feel that the line could have also just moved quicker as well since not one was getting into any long discussions with the band and being moved through rather fast after hellos and thanks for playing from the fans. J&R seems to be the only place left in NYC where one can browse through a bands full catalog these days so make sure you get yourself down there and let them know that more stuff like this performance and meet and greet are of your interest as a consumer. There are enough Metal fans in this area to make them consider it more than they would not. Thanks again to J&R for hosting this and thanks to Shadows Fall for giving something back to the Metal community.
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Official Web Site: www.shadowsfall.com
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