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The Arsonist, Friday, July 11 @ Amplifier Bar

The Arsonist - Photo by Rachael Barrett
The Arsonist – Photo by Rachael Barrett

I, Said The Sparrow/Casino Sunrise/Graphic Characters

Amplifier Bar

Friday, July 11, 2014

The crowd at Amplifier bar slowly grew as people made their way to the venue for the launch of The Arsonist’s second EP, Echo. The Arsonist have a style which clearly aspires to popular fame, which is evident in their mishmash of en vogue musical styles to create a pop hybrid. While the members of the band are clearly immensely talented musicians, this is not a style that appeals broadly to the modern music lover, which was reflected in the mostly unmoving, disinterested appearance of the audience.

First band of the night was Graphic Characters. Possessing a sweet, hard rock guitar sound and paired with some powerful vocals, Graphic Characters breathe a little new life into a well cemented sound.

Casino Sunrise were up next with their self-described dance-rock styling. Here was some fairly typical pop-rock music with a few synths tacked on in what I can only assume was an attempt to garner exposure to the growing electronic music fan base. Instead of a warm meeting of sounds, the synths and guitars seemed alien to each other. Once again, the musicianship was infallible bar a few wobbles from the lead singer, but it seemed hard to feel authentically connected to the music.

I, Said The Sparrow were a breath of fresh air as they hit the crowd with a heavy sound. This music felt organic while maintaining an air of control, unafraid to unleash some big guitars and dirty vocals at climactic moments. The lead singer wasn’t adverse to controlling the stage either, and his vocal style displayed great depth and versatility. The energy alone was enough to bring the crowd to life if just for a little while. A few funky guitar moments were thrown in for good measure, which, surprisingly, did not feel out of place.

After some milling about, enough time for one of the darling patrons to remove his headphones, The Arsonist took their places. The Arsonist are nothing if not a clean and well experienced group of musicians. The lead singer’s voice had a crooning potential to rival any modern pop star you can name, however his outfit consisting of all black with a slicked back mini ponytail was like a bizarre homage to a long dead sense of style. Piano and synth lines blended well to create a flowing sound, punctuated perfectly by subtle guitar and a killer voice, which is worth mentioning twice. The Arsonist describe themselves as electro-pop. Electro being a heavy style of electronic dance music, it was hard to draw the parallel.

This night was curated strangely in terms of the acts, the mixture of soft and heavy music seemed slightly jarring and made it hard for the bands to maintain audience attention. A lone rocker planted right in front of the stage during The Arsonist’s set, hand locked in the universal symbol of metal, was almost symbolic of the bizarre merging of styles that seemed to be the main theme of the bands of the night. All of the music, The Arsonist in particular, felt well honed and created off the backs of truly talented, devoted individuals. The potential for commercial success seems abundant, but those looking for truly challenging, progressive music would be advised to look elsewhere.


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