I had a series of almost back-to-back concerts as 2019 started up; Neon Trees and Fitz in the Tantrums at the beginning of May, The Doubleclicks and The Misbehavin’ Maidens in the middle, and then Lionize right at the beginning of June.
This concert was at a venue that was new to me, the Oliver Brewing Company. Lots of restaurants and places call themselves a brewing company, usually to signify that they will have some of their own beer on tap. But this was literally a factory floor that had been cleared to set up a stage. I could see all the empty, unlabeled aluminum cans that would eventually hold their different brews. Perhaps because it was a factory floor and not a club or concert hall, the acoustics were pretty amplified. The venue seemed to know it was an issue because they were selling ear plugs for $1 each. (Probably from the stash they give to their factory workers during a regular day) At any rate, it was the first concert where I actually wore ear plugs because it was just too loud for me to enjoy; especially because my OSHA training kept reiterating that hearing loss is not recoverable. Surprisingly, it simply dampened the sound, but I was still able to hear the vocals everything. If anything suffered from the plugs it was a slight loss in the higher frequencies that I noticed during Lionize’s set. One other thing I noticed – of all the concerts I’ve gone to in the past few years, this is the first time I wasn’t one of the older audience members. There were a fair number of grey beards there to hear the different bands.
This was the first concert in a long time where I didn’t end up getting into at least one of the opening bands. It’s not a knock against either of the two openers, they just didn’t click with me. The first opener, Distinguished Gentlemen, had a much harsher sound than I prefer for my rock. The second band, Caustic Casanova, was sonically very good. In fact, near the end of their set, they revealed that their drummer was drumming with a busted ankle. They also had a neat thing going with male/female vocals. But, unfortunately, while I thought the music was pretty great, I didn’t care for the lyrics.
Lionize was great and my enjoyment was enhanced by the relative lax nature of the venue. I guess mostly because it was an older crowd (I think everyone was at least 30), there wasn’t any kind of venue “security” keeping the crowd back or from doing anything silly – because no one would think to do anything silly. Also, the bands weren’t on a raised stage. So I was standing about 2 arm lengths away from Lionize’s singer, just about eye level. It was like getting a private concert and it made the experience all the better. From what I can remember, the set was mostly from Nuclear Soul, with a song or two from Jetpack Soundtrack. Unfortunately, from what I could see of their set list (again, I was a few feet away and level with the band, so I could see the set list) they stopped a couple songs early because the venue had a hard stopping time. As in, during the last song they turned the lights on and off a few times to let the band know “time’s up!”. No chance for an encore or anything.
Still, more than any other genre of music I listen to, rock is best experienced live and it was really awesome to hear them play again after a few years. It got me excited for their new upcoming album.