Anyone that has been to either a Lacey Sturm or Red show would know that they are in for a fantastic show. Tuesday, March 6th was certainly no different. There was quite a line when I got to the venue shortly after the doors opening at 6:00 pm and everyone had excitement in their eyes and were ready for a night of amazing performances. I was surprised that there wasn’t many people inside the venue once I got in there, but it filled up quickly once everyone outside made it to the floor. The Varsity Theater is a cool place and I love shooting there. The entire upstairs was set up with the merch booths of all 4 bands and there was a few people hanging out watching the show.
Very shortly after I got all my camera gear ready, Messer took the stage and started out the show. From the videos I checked out on YouTube, the seemed like a pretty good rock band. Their live performance confirmed that, but they had a certain energy and presence on stage that made the music sound so much better. Their website actually mentions just this, saying they have a sound that is familiar, yet new and addictive. Messer’s set was only about 20 minutes long, but each song kept the crowd going. I could tell they were happy to have gotten to the show early enough to have caught the band’s performance. With Messer about to release their self-titled debut album on April 20th, this tour should get a lot of people excited to grab it right away! It will be interesting to see where Messer will go in the future. I’m sure we will see them again in Minneapolis!
After a set change and what looked like a few technical issues, Righteous Vendetta took to the stage. The venue had them start without a soundcheck and it made it a bit awkward at the start because the music stopped and the band was unsure what to do since they were expecting the soundcheck. Even with a rough start, the band came out and delivered the performance that I had come to expect. I’ve seen them numerous times in the past and they always have a great set with plenty of energy and crowd participation. The singer asked if the crowd could hear him after the first couple songs since they didn’t have the soundcheck and it did seem like his voice was a bit soft at first. They got it ironed out though and the crowd ate it up. Righteous Vendetta had everyone singing and jumping along and certainly had the energy to get everyone excited for more. It was easy to see why they were added on this tour!
Lacey Sturm took to the stage next after a pretty quick stage change. The band started out the set very fast and didn’t slow it down until a few songs in. Lacey covered a pleasing mix of songs from her newer album, “Life Screams”, with a few Flyleaf songs thrown in for the fans. She even did a Nine Inch Nails cover of “Something I Can Never Have”, which was really amazing to hear! Midway through the set, she spoke about the song “Heavy Prey” she wrote for Underworld: Awakening and talked about how she figured out how to write a song for a movie she couldn’t watch first. Each song the band performed was done in a very energetic and powerful way. There was so much energy while Lacey sang that I could see her hand shaking because of the raw emotion she put into her singing. Everyone was moving about the stage constantly. If fact, with Lacey and Josh’s kids off to the side of the stage they would take turns heading over by them. The bassist sat down on the steps next to them and played for a while. Josh came over to give a reassuring touch every now and then and rock out on the guitar for them. It was pretty cool to see a glimpse of life on the road with a family. The crowd sang along with every song that was played and cheers with random people yelling things could be heard between the songs. Lacey Sturm and her band certainly made a lasting impression for those that made it to the show. I look forward to seeing her back in Minnesota, but with a new baby on the way, it could be a while.
The stage changed quickly for Red and it changed into a graveyard scene. There was a full stage backdrop that formed a line at the drum kit complete with what looked like wrought iron fences and pillars with lights on them. Each band member at the front of the stage got their own riser, but behind that was a rug shaped like a gravestone that had each of their names on them. I remember a ton of low hanging fog last time I photographed them, but didn’t see that this time around. Instead, the band was lit in heavy red lighting, (they had to make sure the audience knew what band they were watching), and every so often CO2 cannons went off behind the fence structure. The smoke hit the ceiling and rolled forward into the crowd and created a nice visual when it happened. The first 3 songs were mostly a blur for me as I was working to compensate for the red lighting, but as soon as the band appeared, the crowd started yelling and cheering showing they were ready for Red to rock the stage. Photographer difficulties aside, Red put on one heck of a performance. They were every bit as good as I remembered! They have the energy and excitement to keep the crowd going throughout their entire set. I will certainly make a point to catch them again in the future. Maybe Red won’t be as red next time!
As always, get out and support live music and I’ll see you out there!