It was a brisk evening with temperatures in the low 30’s, I guess it was to be expected for a mid-February evening in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. As I arrived at the Rex Theater the hoard of anxious concert goers were already lined up down the street patiently waiting to get through the door. As there was still a half hour before the doors opened, the crowd was bursting with excitement and seemed oblivious to the aforementioned cool evening air. This was no doubt a sign that, once inside, this sold out show was going to be killer! As I am a firm believer that atmosphere is fifty percent of the overall show experience! When the doors officially opened the venue filled rapidly and the multitude of concert goers were ready to get show started!
There were a total of four bands scheduled to perform this evening, two local bringers of sweet noise and the two bands on the tour package.
First to hit the stage was Pittsburgh’s own Divine Betrayal. Though at first I was skeptical as it seemed to me lead Vocalist Kaitlyn Washko, was not yet warmed up vocally. By the start of their third song, Washko had my undivided attention. So I will give her the benefit of the doubt, that was just a small mishap and it was definitely not a reflection of what this band truly is! By the end of the third song I was convinced I was wrong! Can you say “WOW!”? With a mix of musical stylings and influence the band as a whole had taken elements of Gothic-Symphonic Metal and combined it with just the right amount of Alternative Rock and Nu-Metal and molded it into a finely crafted engine of musical prowess. Washko broke from her Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf) style vocals at times to deliver a vocal onslaught more in line with Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy). The band apparently was short staffed and had to bring the talents from another local band for this show on Guitar and Bass. I assure you, that if they had not said anything about it, I would have had no clue. The band was tight and Wahko’s vocals were even tighter.
I have been to many shows and have noticed, in many cases, that as the first opening band finishes their set the crowd is still coming through the doors and many have missed the opening performance. Not so much this night. The venue was packed in tight through Devine Betrayal’s performance and they no doubt had let their enthusiasm shine early and often.
The second band to perform was yet another Pittsburgh local, The Art of Burning Bridges. They hit the stage running. Bringing an electronic meets progressive edge, their sound pulled from the DNA strands of greats such as Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Filter, Stabbing Westward and Primus. I most certainly had to include Primus, not so much in the musical stylings, but the visual of bassist, Kassie Rock. It appeared as if Kassie was an incarnate of the Mighty Les Claypool himself. And if that wasn’t enough Keyboardist, Timmy Rock was as one with his keys to the point that the legs on his keyboard stand was a mere suggestion. Not the discredit the rest of the band, audibly they were no doubt a well-oiled machine.
Up next was the first of the actual tour package, L.A. based Gemini Syndrome. As always Gemini Syndrome came to the stage with a ferocity and vigor of seasoned bringers of noise. Through relentless touring since the release of their debut album Lux, Gemini Syndrome has perfected their live show. On the road in support of their sophomore offering, Memento Mori, their hard driving, in your face delivery is most certainly winning new fans at each and every show. Or as the legion of existing fans, known as “Synners,” refer to as the “Conversion.” Though the disappointing aspect of their set was it was simply too short. Only performing six songs, it was only a small glimpse into the fantastic repertoire of music that has spawned from the Gemini Syndrome minds. Nonetheless, the band delivered a flawless set with two songs (Basement and Stardust) from Lux and four songs (Eternity, Awaken, Anonymous and Remember We Die) from Memento Mori. There is no doubt the band is absolutely on track to grabbing that headlining spot on a tour in the near future! As this was the last night of the tour with Starset, Gemini Syndrome is set to begin yet another tour with In This Moment, Motionless In White and Avatar beginning on April 7th, 2017.
After an overwhelming crowd response to Gemini Syndrome the night was nearing its end, with only Starset left to perform……so we thought!
Well the Conversion was complete and now it was time for a “Demonstration!” When the Lights went down and the deep hum of some sort of Sci-Fi related spacecraft engine began, the anticipation started to rear its curious head! The hum, which lasted a good 4 or 5 minutes, worked into a mesmerizing crescendo and fully consumed the crowd! With a spectacular spray of lighting effects filling the expanse of the entire stage, the addition of a Cello and Violin to the stage ensemble and donning of spacesuits by key members of the band pulled me into the fantastic voyage that is Starset. Based on a sci-fi narrative, Starset brought you into their realm to tell their story. Covering a lot of ground between their two albums to date, the set was lengthy and worth every second. To be honest, coming through the front door this night, I was just learning who Starset was…..Leaving this night they had stolen another fan. This was not only the last night on the tour with Gemini Syndrome but this was also the last night of Starset’s first headlining “Demonstration!”
Bravo to all the bands. Absolutely a great show from start to finish.