It has been years since I have seen Matt DeMar. Matt was a somewhat local kid in a band called Forever Waiting. My ex’s band once had Forever Waiting open a show for them in rink-dink Minnesota and I remember meeting Matt at that show. He was young, super young, but I knew he had something in him that was going to make him stand out from all of the other bands that this ex was friendly with. I can’t tell you exactly what that something was in Matt but I was completely right and was thrilled to have the opportunity to see what Matt has been up to since the last time I saw him (which had to have been damn near fifteen years ago at this point).
Before Matt’s new band, Divide the Fall, was Maine-based Sygnal to Noise. Unfortunately, I was running a little late to the show as I have been frantically trying to get ready for my trek out to Las Vegas this weekend for Punk Rock Bowling but I did make it to the sold-out 7th Street Entry just in time to catch the final few songs of Sygnal to Noise’s set. I’ll be honest, musically, this band did very little for me. Their radio-friendly hard rock sound felt a bit overdone and, well, just a bit generic to me but I was still struck by this band. There was something tender and expressive about every movement and every note the band performed. I felt completely captivated by vocalist Mark Cooper (aka Coopa) but I couldn’t quite figure out why. He’s a bit of a larger-than-life kind of character and has facial tattoos that make him feel a bit unapproachable but, as he sang, you could literally feel his passion and love for his craft.
The audience was eating up Sygnal to Noise’s music. I couldn’t quite tell if people knew about this band prior to their set or not but I know that as the band tried to leave the stage after their impressive and distinct cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Well”, the audience refused to let them. This led to a last-minute cover of “Creep” from Radiohead that was played in the key of Q. Yes, you are right, that’s not an actual key but it was a cute joke that Coopa made after explaining that they had never actually performed this cover live and there were some notes in the song that he demanded the audience helped out on. The audience was there to help Coopa carry the song but, really, he didn’t need it. It was just a stunning showing of this band’s talent and versatility. Sure, Sygnal to Noise is not my normal listen and I don’t think I’ll ever be a person who just sits there and listens to this band on a daily basis but I would absolutely jump on the opportunity to see them perform live again.
Energy-wise, I felt like Divide the Fall was lacking ever so slightly but that was to be expected. This band has been on the road for nearly three months and Ethan admitted to feeling a bit under the weather. I would be exhausted, sick, and ready for a break if I were them but they powered through. I think the only reason I knew it was a bit lackluster energy-wise was just due to all of the things I’ve heard about their live performances. Sure, it has been years since I have seen Matt and I honestly don’t recall ever seeing Divide the Fall before but I definitely keep my eyes on them because, as mentioned, I knew Matt was going to turn into something much bigger than the tiny scene he started out in and I find a thrill in watching him grow and accomplish so many amazing things. All that being said and the sickness and exhaustion aside, Divide the Fall killed it on Tuesday night and I am so glad that they are out there representing the Twin Cities across the country.
Obviously, the only moment throughout Cold’s set that I was really able to participate in was when they performed “Stupid Girl” which was third on their setlist. I quickly realized that I was the only one in this boat as the people around me were screaming along to every single word of every single song with an undeniable sense of ferocity. Prior to the set, vocalist Scooter Ward had explained that this album was really made by the fans. He had taken the stories he had heard while touring on the band’s two previous albums and curated them into this album– truly an album for the people by the people. I’ll be honest, I gave a little eye roll as he explained this at first but, as I watched the way the crowd hung onto every word that was coming out of Scooter’s mouth and every note that the band blasted through the speakers, I got it and realized that they really had pulled off making an album for the people and, essentially, by the people.