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VIDEO INTERVIEW Billy Sheehan of The Winery Dogs

INTERVIEWS For interview, click here.

CONCERT REVIEWS The Goo Goo Dolls return to WNY for the concert of the summer! For review/photos, click here.

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"SnoCore" (featuring: Fit For Rivals, Framing Hanley, Adelitas Way, Flyleaf) - Rapids Theater - Niagara Falls, NY Feb 14, 2015

Valentine’s Day usually means flowers and a fancy dinner.  Niagara Falls, NY got something much better: the 2015 Snocore tour, featuring Fit For Rivals, Framing Hanley, Adelitas Way, and Flyleaf.  A bigger feat was that this show nearly didn’t happen, due to the dangerously cold, nearly 20 below freezing temperatures with wind chill.  The bands took it upon themselves to make the show happen for the fans, and truly make this the Snocore tour.

First up was Fit For Rivals, touring in support of their freshman release, ‘Steady Damage.’  Never experiencing them before, I was immediately taken into the band’s old school approach to rock and roll.  Renee Phoenix commanded the stage like a younger Joan Jett, with her high energy and passion for the crowd’s appreciation.  Unfortunately, in the blink of an eye, the set was over, leaving fans wanting more.  Fit For Rivals greeted fans after, at the merchandise table, with an opportunity to take home a little of the music they had just heard.

Next up was Framing Hanley, lead by vocalist, Kenneth Nixon.  Framing Hanley, based out of Nashville, Tennessee, brought in blues-based rock, sounding much edgier than what people have come to expect from the country rock dominated area.  Framing Hanley doesn’t credit any one band or small group of bands as having any influence on them.  Instead, the band credits “life” and “ALL music” as their inspiration to create and perform. The band is touring in support of their sophomore release, ‘The Sum of Who We Are,’ which is seeing much radio play.  Nixon, not accustomed to the weather, thanked all fans for braving the elements to support the live show that night.  The entire band followed suit, blistering through their set nearly as fast as Fit For Rivals.  Nixon, as a show of further appreciation to the crowd for their hardiness braving the weather, asked everyone to come say hello at the merchandise table for pictures, a memento of that night, or even a simple handshake.

Third up for the night’s entertainment was the much anticipated, Adelitas Way, touring in support of their third and heaviest release to date, ‘Stuck.’  Front man and founder, Rick DeJesus, wasted no time ripping into the attitude, grunge-soaked “Collapse.”  Such a fast and hard intro set a difficultly high bar for the band to maintain as the set went on.  Adelitas Way did not disappoint, as each song escalated in raw emotion and commitment to be perfect for the fans.  About mid-set, DeJesus took a moment to share something very personal with the crowd: the birth of his newborn child.  Taking a further moment of showing gratitude for the crowd’s support of live music, DeJesus, drenched in sweat, tired, and exhausted, punched into the set’s closer, “Invincible,” which brought elements of Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, STP, and The Foo Fighters, wrapped up into a very tight package.  DeJesus, like his predecessors in the night, took time after the set to greet fans and thank them for their support of live music, his band, and allowing the band to have the career that they do.

Finally, at the end of the night, Flyleaf, SnoCore’s headliner, brought a performance to compliment the show’s opening acts.  Myself, and a privileged group in the crowd, were treated to a pre-show, three-song acoustic set, where we were able to hear a stripped down set, where Flyleaf also showed their fandom, by playing a cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight”.  Much of the time, when a band recruits a new singer, there’s an air of apprehension from the fans of what to expect.  Kristen May was accepted in stride with the band’s history, as though they never had a personnel change.  May takes a more melodic, but no less staunch commitment to the band’s songs, like her predecessor.  The music Flyleaf presented that night to the fans of Niagara Falls could not only be heard, but also seen in each of its band members.  For each decibel of cheers, Sameer Bhattacharya became more fluid, from one side of the stage to the other. Guitarist, Jared Hartmann, became more precise in his picking. Bassist, Pat Seals, droned the low end on bass, with drummer, James Culpepper, serving as a living metronome, keeping the timing exact.  Another surprise to bring the fans closer to the act was Flyleaf offering a chance to be on stage during an entire song.  All fans had to do was purchase a Flyleaf scarf.  At the designated time, fans were called up to the stage, where many had an opportunity to dance with May, or any one of the other members of the band.  One very lucky little fan even held May’s hand, as she was serenaded for a once in a lifetime experience.

SnoCore 2015 was not just another concert where fans went to watch.  At each level, fans were brought into the act, participating in different ways.  Whether it was a thank you, a handshake, or being on stage, the crowd was as much a part of the concert as the artists, themselves.  No fan was left wanting that night, as they were the show, thanks to Fit For Rivals, Framing Hanley, Adelitas Way, and Flyleaf.  SnoCore 2015 was a resounding success, and a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. 

To see SnoCore tour dates, click here.

Special thanks to Doug Weber and Kenneth Nixon.