October 17, 2016 Starset Take Bold Step Forward Highline Ballroom, NYC 10-7-16
The possibilities of “the truth” are endless when one thinks of science experimentation, governmental conspiracy theories, and through it all, seeking a better future. These varying opinions can be plotted intelligently through the stream of music, and Cinematic Rock band Starset set out their mission to raise awareness of such factors back in 2013. Formed by Vocalist Dustin Bates, who first developed an interest in Astronomy when earning his PhD in Electrical Engineering, it is said Starset’s music is a way to carry out a message to hopefully warn the human race. A message that is not fully clear as of yet, however, there were many hints embedded within the band’s 2014 debut, Transmissions. Stating the message will be unveiled once the audience reaches a significant number, in the Rock world, Starset has done their part to raise awareness to their music touring extensively over the past couple of years to generous size crowds. Crowds that continue to grow in numbers as more become aware to the band’s compelling sound and style, the band recently spent time on the road with Breaking Benjamin in early 2016.
Completed by Ron Dechant (bass), Brock Richards (guitar), and Adam Gilbert (drums), who tend to wear Nasa space-like attire including astronaut helmets and futuristic, out-of-this-world uniforms while Bates uses futuristic devices, Starset was part of 2016’s New York City’s Comic Con. Landing a deal with Marvel, they have created a graphic novel which is set to release during the Fall of 2017. A continuation of their work, when the release date gets closer, more revelations will occur including details of a second studio album. With the New York City’s Comic Con beginning earlier on the date of Friday, October 7, 2016, the band headlined a special show at the Highline Ballroom later that evening to a large crowd.
Warming up the stage early on, Long Island New York’s Electronic Pop act Gambit were anxious to begin. A different style opposed to that of Starset, however, their uplifting energy enhanced the excitement of the crowd. Consisting of Vocalist Lyle Kamesaki, Guitarist Jeff Ballantyne, Bassist Ricky Wells, and Drummer Justin Parker, they moved into tracks that ranged from breakups, love, alibis, and their suburban hometown. Those tracks included highlights such as “Love in the Basement” and the tune that reminded them of their home on Long Island, “This Town.” Honored to be the supporting act for Starset, they offered to hand out their CD for free at the merchandise table following their set.
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By this time, Highline Ballroom was packed rather tightly with with excited fans patiently awaiting the arrival of the band. The platform quickly transitioned to a futuristic mission station, and shortly after, the lights dimmed as ambient music began resulting in screams of joy from the audience. Finally, Starset appeared on the stage, dramatically opening with “First Light” and “Rise and Fall.” Taking a moment to soak it all in, Bates thanked the crowd for attending their first headlining show as they moved into the song “Down With the Fallen.” The room went silent as clips appeared on the monitors along with soundbites to hint their demonstrated mission. Bates soon grabbed the microphone and announced they were there to perform Transmissions in its entirety as they moved into “Antigravity.”
Confessing it was a new feeling to be headlining, Bates stated that usually at this point of the show they would typically thank the crowd for arriving early, but instead he was honored everyone was there for them alone as they moved into “Halo,” followed by a compelling performance of “Telescope.” Resulting in the audience continuously jumping and singing along, quite a few screamed at the top of their lungs as Bates hinted new tunes would be announced in the next few weeks before playing “Point of No Return,” followed by the slower tune, “Dark On Me.”
At this point, the album was more than halfway completed. That said, the pace picked up when they moved into “Let It Die.” Bates was stunned with disbelief how packed the venue was as they moved into Hard Rock hit “Carnivore.” As one fan screamed out “I love you,” happy to feel the excitement of the crowd, Bates replied, “I love you too.” Other fans continued to sing as the band flowed into “It Has Begun.” With the set nearing a close, they went into “The Future is Now,” and it was during this cut Bates hinted their agenda by stating how music should explain why they are dressed the way that they are. With time running down, Bates made it clear everyone knew the final song as he asked for their assistance, going into the epic “My Demons,” wrapping it all nicely with a sing along.
Despite what seemed like a relatively short set, fans were beyond satisfied as Bates and Starset promised to return after they release a new album, due out sometime in the near future. Hungry, Starset followers begged to hear more, including snippets of new tunes. Yet, this is Starset, and their mission is limited, and they cannot reveal their full message to the public just yet. Hopefully, more secrets will be answered after their sophomore album. Until then, it is urged Rock fans head out to check Starset’s unique live performance complemented by lighting and video clips that conceal compelling, subliminally informative data.