It doesn’t get much tougher than this (well, it probably does, but go with that thought for a moment).
You’re the opening band on a national tour, supporting Devour The Day and Hellyeah. As is custom for openers, you are allotted a mere thirty minutes to make your best impression on what is largely someone else’s audience. You haven’t had a rehearsal in weeks, and this is the opening night of the coast-to-coast tour. As if that pressure isn’t enough, you are plagued by a truly horrid sound mix that renders the guitar almost inaudible—the kiss of death for a hard rock band. How do you handle the situation?
If you’re New Zealand’s Like A Storm, you suck it up, make the best of the situation and rock your young hearts out.
Like A Storm are brothers Chris (lead vocals/guitar), Matt (lead guitar/vocals) and Kent Brooks (bass/vocals), plus touring member Zach Wood (drums). They are touring in support of their latest album Awaken The Fire, which has been creating quite a buzz on the hard rock charts.
The band opened the gig at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas with Never Surrender, followed by their stellar cover of Gangster’s Paradise. Many in the crowd recognized the song, possibly from being familiar with the original version by Coolio. LAS’s version kicks it up more than a few notches, and many sang along with the chorus.
The stage set was visually striking, with a Ouija board-type prop created from the LAS logo with lighted candles underneath and a voodoo skull above.
Wish You Hell, the latest single from the album was next, followed by a cover of AC/DC’s TNT. It was during this song that the absence of guitars was sorely noticed. Seeing Matt Brooks’s fingers moving on the fretboard, yet hearing nothing was frustrating and puzzling. The former because the song was empty without those punchy guitar riffs; the latter because where was the soundman? The roadcrew? In addition, the lead vocals should have been pushed higher—at times, Matt Brooks’ singing barely rose above the bass and drums.
The final song of the short set was Love The Way You Hate Me, which was the album’s first single and video, and perhaps the strongest song off Awaken The Fire. The song has an extended break in the middle where Chris Brooks plays the didgeridoo, a long, tubular wind instrument developed by the indigenous people of Australia. At first, he’s playing the instrument solo, which is then joined by a furious drum explosion, followed by guitar and bass as Chris’s vocals kick in again.
There are many great songs on the new album, including a couple of ballads. It would be interesting to see Like A Storm as headliners and are able to play a full set. Their current tour as an opening act continues to March 8, and opening night jitters usually smooth out as a tour progresses. Bands and support personnel get to know each other, and after playing night after night the songs will get tighter.
A hard rock cover of one of the top-charting rap songs of all time, plus another song incorporating the didgeridoo…stuff you don’t hear every day. Screamer readers in cities where the tour will be stopping—if you’re going to see the headliner, be sure to budget enough time to also catch the opener. Well worth it.