Aaron Lewis captures the senses of The Emporium Patchogue, NY 6-26-14

The age old statement to never judge a book by its cover stands true yet again with hard rock vocalist Aaron Lewis.  For almost two decades now Lewis has fronted Staind, selling over fifteen million records worldwide, and etching himself as one of the most recognized voices in Hard Rock/ Metal music.  That is why the mainstream was surprised to see that in 2010 Lewis ventured into the world of Country Rock.  Now balancing time between Staind and his new found Country Rock solo career, Lewis has released the chart topping EP Town Line (2011) and full-length album The Road (2012).  Making the trip across the Long Island Sound, Lewis has made a habit of performing on Long Island, NY over the last few years, and on Thursday June 26th he returned once again to The Emporium in Patchogue, NY with special guest Scott DeCarlo.

With a generous sized crowd on hand awaiting Lewis’ performance, DeCarlo did a fine job of getting things loose.  As an East Rutherford police Sergeant, DeCarlo has followed his musical dreams into Country Rock over ten years ago.    Going from playing empty rooms in NYC to building a nice following, the hard work has paid off for DeCarlo over the years.   Releasing his debut album A Whole New Kind of Crazy in 2012, DeCarlo now splits time between living in New Jersey and Nashville, TN as he works on his next full-length album to be released later this year.  Mixing Rock-n-Roll with country flair, DeCarlo had enough edge and energy to please this crowd.  Opening up with the big chorus sing along of “Havin a Good Time”, The Emporium was swaying to the music from the start.  DeCarlo’s voice soared loud and clear with excellent playing by his backing band providing a full sound.  Strumming his acoustic guitar, DeCarlo showed passion in his approach as he played through more original tunes like “Little Devil”.  Enjoying his time on stage, DeCarlo really got the crowd going when he hopped off the stage during the track “Save A Horse Ride a Cowboy” which had the ladies smiling ear to ear.  Receiving a series of applause for his pleasing set, DeCarlo closed with his catchy single “I See Trouble Coming”.  Be on the lookout for DeCarlo’s new album later this year.

Taking the time to grab a drink, everyone held friendly conversation as they waited for Lewis.  Performing at The Emporium almost exactly one year ago, Lewis returned to the classy venue with a whole new set and the same charming style.  Walking out with his trademark cigarette, acoustic guitar, and baseball cap, Lewis received a roaring ovation and the set lifted off into many familiar places.  Performing a balance of his country rock tunes including the unreleased “Mama”, “Tangled Up In You”, “Endless Summer”, and slide guitar tingling “Forever”, Lewis had the audience in the palm of his hand.  While many may have not been a fan of country rock or known too much about country rock prior to seeing Lewis’ performance, it was safe to say that his honest approach to the music opened the ears and hearts of many.  Other country tracks such as new song “Rednecks North of the Mason”, “Northern Rednecks”, “Red White and Blue”, and “Party in Hell” kept the mood relaxed.   Always known as a laid back performer, Lewis showed all the emotion needed on his face and with his crowd interaction as he strummed upon his acoustic guitar and crooned vividly through each song.

With purple light glowing down on Lewis, he even surprised with some exciting covers of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, Jeffrey Steele’s “What Hurts The Most”, and later on Alice In Chains “Rooster”.  With the perfect inflections that make his voice so unique, Lewis brought each track to life in such a way that it was as if he made them all his own.  Not allowing one moment to go by where the audience could lose interest, Lewis mixed in some Staind tunes as well, including “It’s Been A While” as the closing before the encore.  Arriving back on stage again, Lewis was greeted by chants of USA to which he smiled in appreciation and moved on into an acoustic rendition of Staind’s “Fill Me Up”.  Feeling the enthusiasm of the room, Lewis paused after the opening strums of “Outside” to ask if everyone was ready before proceeding into the captivating song.  Reliving the same emotion as the day it was initially completed back in 1999; Lewis sent shivers down the spines of the audience as everyone sang along.  With emotions running high, an equally as moving experience followed with the newer Staind song “Something To Remind Me”.   Exhilarated and amazed by the set, the closing saw the entire band back on stage with Lewis for a closing of his solo hit “Country Boy”.

Lewis is a musician who has always worn his heart on his sleeve with songs driven by real human emotion.  His live performance, whether it be with a full band or stripped down with just himself and an acoustic guitar, is something worth seeing each time he comes around.  There was not a soul inside The Emporium that did not feel as if they received a full and balanced show, which lasted almost two hours with Lewis on stage.  One can only hope Lewis comes around to Long Island again next year as well.

Photo credit Charles Eames Photography 

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