October 9, 2014 Nine Days, Dishwalla, & Stoke 9 lead ’90s rock party The Paramount Huntington, NY 9-20-14
Alternative Rock in the 1990s featured a talented group of artists that dominated the radio. Considered the Post-Grunge era, by the time the late ’90s hit, plenty of remnants of the style lingered on years after the height of its popularity. In honor of this unforgettable time in Rock music, The Paramount in Huntington, NY gathered together a triple co-headlining tour on Saturday September 20th with Long Island’s own Nine Days, Dishwalla, and Stroke 9 gracing the bill. A tremendous mix of bands in direct support included Count To Ten and Matt Colligan as an appetizer for the evening of music ahead.
First up was Wantagh Long Island’s Count To Ten. Still very young, this Alternative Pop Rock band has already made quite a splash on the local scene playing numerous shows and even landing a spot on the Great South Bay Festival earlier in the summer. Made up of vocalist Jon Zaitz, guitarist/vocalist Dan Wolf , guitarist Alex DeSalvo, and bassist John Gallo; they took the stage with a mass of energy as they moved around confidently. Playing their instruments with enthusiasm as Zaitz laid down emotionally driven catchy vocals; one could not help but bop their head. Supported by a strong local following on hand, leaning against the barricades cheering on the band, Count To Ten sounded like a mature ensemble of musicians. There is no doubt, if these guys continue to play big stages like this, they will be touring nationally in no time.
Directly following, coming from New Jersey, was singer-songwriter Matt Colligan. Having experience performing internationally with well-respected musician Umberto Labozzetta, Colligan has also shared the stage with Marcy’s Playground, Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo, and more. With the insight of a veteran musician and a personal touch to songwriting, Colligan took The Paramount by surprise with a set of inviting original tunes. With just himself and his acoustic guitar, his performance was full of passion and color while he entertained the audience. His sophomore album All The While was released in April and is recommended giving a listen for fans of acoustic based Alternative Rock with thoughtful lyrics.
Next was San Francisco, CA band Stroke 9. Celebrating their 25th anniversary together in 2014, this band really made a splash with their fourth studio album Nasty Little Thoughts in 1999 which peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Top 200. Keeping the music alive for years to come, the current lineup consists of vocalist/guitarist Luke Esterkyn, drummer Greg Gueldner, guitarist John McDermott, and newest member bassist Jens Funke. Coming out lively and immensely happy to be at The Paramount, Esterkyn led the band, singing affectionately. Stroke 9’s joy projected like rays of light onto the audience as they moved through songs that were fun, light-hearted, and perfect for a Saturday night party. Mixing in a variety of songs from their broad discography, everyone raised their hands and sang along with the hit “Little Black Backpack” as they reminisced on how great and catchy it really is. It is no wonder this band, which has sold millions of records and toured whenever they please, still know how to get a venue moving. Removed from corporate record labels now for almost a decade, Stroke 9 release music independently to their fans and are still putting up some great music worth giving a listen.
Making their return to The Paramount for the second time in less than a year, Dishwalla were ready to rock-n-roll. Having re-launched the band within the past few years, after a brief hiatus in the early 2000’s, this signature ’90s Alternative Rock band are back with something to prove. Achieving massive success with 1995’s Pet Your Friends album, they followed with And You Think You Know What Life’s About in 1998 before shattering all conceptions of the band with 2002’s Opaline and final self-titled studio album in 2005. Now configured with new vocalist Justin Fox, lead guitarist Rodney Browning Cravens, bassist Scot Alexander, drummer George Pendergast, and keyboardist Jim Wood; Dishwalla are touring around refreshing audiences memories.
Comfortable in their surrounding, they came out with the loudest guitars of any band that evening with tunes like “Charlie Brown’s Parents” and “Haze.” Fox extremely relaxed, moved about the stage making eye contact with the crowd and showing his large vocal range. Browning Cravens stood stage left looking completely inspired as he rocked each riff heavy and thick while also wailing through solo after solo. Meanwhile on the right side of the stage, Alexander lost himself in the groove of the music, and overall, the band has not seemed to lose a step. Mixing in wonderful tunes from arguably their most complete album Opaline, they played “Angels Or Devils.” Having everyone’s complete attention, the set moved on with a balanced flow and the rendition of “Counting Blue Cars” received a massive reception. Judging by the crowd response, it is easy to say Dishwalla is welcomed back by fans with open arms who anxiously await some new material in the future.
Treated to a wonderful bill of bands thus far, the crowd gathered close and tight to the front as they awaited hometown heroes Nine Days. Together now two decades, the band’s big break came in 2000 with their major label debut The Madding Crowd. Now a multi-platinum success and considered a gem of the decade, Nine Days continue to tour and create new music including their 2013 effort Something Out of Nothing. Reminded of the storm of pride that came from Long Island when Nine Days began to become internationally known, it seemed almost fitting that they would be celebrating at one of the area’s best venues, The Paramount.
Clearly excited, Nine Days came out to fans cheering loudly as the set began. Vocalists/guitarists John Hampson and Brian Desveaux both sounded strong as keyboardist Jeremy Dean, bassist Nick Dimichino, and drummer Vincent Tattanelli provided a lush background of music notes. Performing tracks like “Marvelous” and hit “If I Am,” along with a few new pieces from roots rock album Something Out of Nothing, everyone was dancing, grabbing images of the band, and having a blast. Conveying their appreciation for the turn of support and the pleasure to play at The Paramount, Nine Days continued along with songs everyone knew and loved. Igniting the biggest crowd response was the hit “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” which is still as vital as the day it was released.
Nine Days showed no sign of on-stage jitters and played like the professionals they are. Their ability to keep the crowd going late into the night was remarkable, and hopefully with their new album out, they will garnish just attention again. Keep a look out for tour dates and pick up a copy of Something Out of Nothing today.