October 27, 2015 Vertical Horizon Charm In Return To The Paramount Huntington, NY 10-8-15 w/ Nine Days & Silverbird
No strangers to the Long Island, New York area, Alternative Rock band Vertical Horizon has made a second home of the area, visiting on a consistent basis over the years. Dating back to over fifteen years ago when they played on the sea at Jones Beach Theater, to their visits to other now defunct venues like The Downtown, to performing at the YMCA Boulton Center in Bay Shore, it seems the band has played everywhere on the island. Although, in recent years, perhaps the venue they find the most comfort in is The Paramount in Huntington Village where they first played a gig on June 19, 2012, revisiting again on July 30, 2013, and again on March 3rd 2014. That is why it comes as no surprise The Paramount gladly welcomed them back with open arms in 2015 on a Thursday Fall evening of October 8th. Adding even more excitement to the lineup, Long Island natives Nine Days also made a return to the venue as support, along with Silverbird.
Opening the night was the lively and enthusiastic band, Silverbird. A group of four young men currently residing in Brooklyn, NYC, Silverbird was ready to treat the audience to some feel-good tunes. Having played at The Paramount backin April of 2015 with The Doors Robby Krieger, the band seemed amped up to be back on the familiar stage. Founded by Vocalist, Guitarist, and Songwriter Tim Barr, Barr is no stranger to the music scene, having previously played in Lana Del Rey’s live band, as well as having played/studied with Mike Longo of Dizzy Gillespie throughout the club scene in New York City. With a desire to start his own project, Barr recorded an EP in 2014, entitled Surface Life, with English Producer Kristopher Harris, and with the additions of Corey Davis (bass guitar), Dan Whaley (lead guitar), and Jacob Schaub (percussion), he saw his desire come to fruition in the formation of Silverbird.
In style and in sound, Silverbird have a retro feel. The sound is almost Folk-like, with soft flowing melodies and upbeat percussion. In this vein, the band opened with “Lyfe,” a mostly instrumental number that really showcased the individual talents of each member. As people inched closer to the stage, the band followed with “Brooklyn,” a song laden with whimsy guitar riffs and a great display of Barr’s beautiful falsettto. There was definitely a following in the audience as the lyrics were being chanted along to the next song, “Emptiness.” Though on the softer side, Silverbird certainly delivered a set that rocked the crowd. Much dancing and swaying was going on, especially as the band closed out their set with “Running.” Silverbird are currently promoting their 2015 debut album, Pureland. Be sure to check them out and see where they may pop up next.
As more of the audience poured in, local Alternative Rock heroes Nine Days took to the stage. Initially formed back in 1994 by John Hampson and Brian Desveaux, throughout the ’90s, the pair released three Independent albums before their breakthrough major label debut in 2000. Reaching gold status, the record saw two hit singles that had everyone buzzing about the band. After some issues with their record label, Sony, that led to the holdup of a sophomore album, and ultimately the band splitting from Sony, although they kept going strong. Continuing to perform live, they release Flying the Corporate Jet in 2003, and as late as 2013, released the album Something Out Of Nothing. The band, who is currently John Hampson (vocals and guitar), Brian Desveaux (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Dean (keyboards), Nick Dimichino (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Vincent Tattanelli (percussion), are mostly the original members performing for the love of music. Also no strangers to The Paramount, the band last played the venue on September 20, 2014. Happy to revisit, looking around the floor, one could see they were all friends and family ready to have a fun time.
Opening with “Revolve;” a song with an intimate coffee shop setting vibe, the band then transitioning into “Beautiful Thing;” a feel-good love song that had followers in the crowd dancing. An acoustic guitar was taken out for “Snapshot,” a song that has a sound worth waiting for as Desveaux explained that for twenty years he has been in the habit of making sure the acoustics were perfect before starting an acoustic song. He even had the band stop and start a couple of times to make sure it was just right. The efforts were much appreciated by the crowd. Continuing on with more acoustic sound, they performed “If I Am,” their second hit off Madding Crowd and a song made wildly popular by the ’90s television Drama Dawson’s Creek. With the crowd singing along now, the band got them to sing even louder and longer with “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” taunting the crowd to sing louder, and telling their own kids in the audience that this event is one time they can stay up late, but do not think of it as a regular thing; thus showing the crowd you can be a parent and a rocker. To close out their set, they prefaced that the sound of the last song was unintentionally written like Billy Joel’s “Pressure,” joking that it is a Long Island thing as they played “Green Light,” which was a great end to a great set. While Nine Days is currently not touring, they do in fact play these specials shows from time to time, so be sure to keep up to date on where they are for a chance to see them live.
After two exciting opening bands, Vertical Horizon was set to take the stage. Formed back in 1991 by current frontman Matt Scannell (vocals and guitar) and Keith Kane (vocals and guitar) while the pair were attending Georgetown University, Vertical Horizon has traveled a long road since. While early on, the pair covered Folk music, most notably the work of Simon and Garfunkel, they soon became something more. In late ’90s, with the addition of a drummer and bassist, and some tweaking to their sound, the band set out to earn a record deal. By 1998, this was realized with their signing to RCA Records and releasing their third studio album, and major label debut, Everything You Want. Hitting stores in June of 1999, it was a record that went on to go two times platinum in the US and saw four chart-topping singles. From this point on, it was clear that Vertical Horizon had certainly established themselves among the growing genre of Alternative Rock.
Releasing Go in 2003, much touring was to follow, but after nearly twenty years together, Kane decided to exit the band in 2010 in order to pursue a solo career. Scannell carried on, and with various member changes throughout the years, continued to perform and produce new material. Following a brief hiatus, 2009’s Burning the Days, and most recently, 2013’s Echoes from the Underground, solidified Vertical Horizon is still alive and well. With the current band led by Scannell, Ron Lavella (percussion), Donovan White (guitar), and Jeff Jarvis (bass guitar) round out the band, which were excited to be back at The Paramount.
The house lights went out, some hazy blue background lights dimly lit the stage as lead man Scannell took front and center with his guitar, strumming the opening to “Evermore.” The rest of the band followed and let the sounds of each of their instruments slowly intertwine. The audience was getting pumped, and the next song got them all singing along, as they went into hit single “You’re a God.” This was also prompted by Scannell, who had the female audience members sing one part of the song while the male audience members sang a different part of the song. This proved to be a very entertaining start to a night that would be full of meaningful audience interactions.
Playing on with tracks like 2003’s “Sunshine,” there was also a lot of showcasing of great guitar skill, especially during the performance of “Send it Up” and newer song “Consultation.” Keeping the personal vibe flowing, Scannell explaining how “Lovestruck” was written at 2 AM while he was in Mexico with a beautiful woman by his side. Details like these aid in the appreciation of the emotion and range in Scannell’s voice as he sang the song. Going into other favorites like 1999’s heavy track “We Are,” the band kept the new and old songs balanced, intriguing the audience. During this portion, a long time friend and mentor of the band, Mike Smith, joined and jammed on stage on guitar. Scannell and White would give a brief background on each song as they played 1992’s “Trying To Find Purpose” and 1995’s “Heart In Hand.”
Rocking into “I’m Still Here,” the very humble nature of the band was also showcased in how they explained their return to The Paramount; “The Paramount called, and we had to come back,” stating how good Long Islanders have it with this venue and how they love playing here. Scannell also expressed his surprise that he had written a Country song with “Best I’ve Ever Had, (Grey Sky Morning)” and explained how this was covered by Country singer, Gary Allen, before he and the band broke into the soulful Rock version of the song. The last song of the set needed no introduction, by far their most widely popular single, “Everything You Want” had the crowd roaring before they returned for an encore with 2009’s “The Lucky One.”
Interacting with fans, telling the stories behind each song and how each song was written, Vertical Horizon created an intimate setting in a night filled with fabulous Rock music. While there is no official word when Scannell and company will release new songs again, fans anxiously await from this highly underrated songwriter. In the meantime, Vertical Horizon will be continuing to tour with a lone date on November 7th down in Tampa, FL at the River Rock Craft Beer & Music Festival.