Carnival Of Madness with Evanescence
Chevelle, Halestorm, Cavo, New Medicine
602 E. 19th Street
Lubbock, TX, 79403
Doors 4:00PM / Show 5:00PM
This event is all ages
Evanescence's third album is self titled for a reason: 15 years after its formation, the multi-platinum band has made the most collaborative, united album of its career. And it rocks.
"Coming back together is such a beautiful and happy thing," co-founder and lead singer Amy Lee says of making "Evanescence," the group's first album since 2006's "The Open Door." "We'd bring a song to the whole band and arrange it in a group. That's something that really stands out against the other records. There's a tight band at the center of everything, giving it a very tangible energy."
The cohesion is evident in every note. The album, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Alice In Chains, Def Tones), packs a wallop with a unified vision that can only come from a group working together as a creative unit.
Led by Lee's operatic, passionate vocals, Evanescence has sold close to 25 million albums since its 2003 debut, "Fallen." The project's premiere single, "Bring Me To Life," snagged the band a Grammy for best hard rock performance. Other massive hits followed, including "My Immortal," "Going Under," and "Call Me When You're Sober," establishing Evanescence as worldwide tour headliners.
After a break following the conclusion of the tremendously successful tour behind "The Open Door," the band— Lee, guitarists Terry Balsamo and Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord and drummer Will Hunt— came together to write a number of songs for "Evanescence" before heading to Nashville, where, under Raskulinecz's tutelage, they penned another six songs.
"We were just sitting on a little stage in a circle with Nick standing there air-shredding on a drumstick. He'd say, 'Stop. After the bridge, why don't you do a breakdown and then go into an instrumental thing.' He directed us," Lee recalls. "It was really good for us to have that outside perspective."
The group then retreated to Nashville's Blackbird Studios to record. "Nick got it. He understood what we were going for," Lee says. "The thing he was going to amp up was the band side, which was what we wanted to focus on."
"Evanescence" crackles with an urgency that seeps through each of the 12 tracks. Opening slab, the hard-driving "What You Want," is about Lee's decision to head back into the fray after the band's hiatus. "It's totally about going back to being in Evanescence," she says. "It's motivating myself not to be afraid. I'm writing about the chaos of life and that you can't control all the crazy things that happen to you."
The stunning video for the single, helmed by award-winning director Meiert Avis from an idea conceived by Lee and her younger sister, Carrie, traces the history of the band combined with gothic imagery of New York. It ends with the group's members walking into the ocean. "I can't make a video without some water," Lee laughs. "It's either going to rain on me or I'm getting into the water. Here, it represents us moving on into this unknown thing; going into the future."
The wrenching "Lost In Paradise" opens with Lee's haunting solo piano before exploding into a sweeping, string-laden tale of torment. "It's the most intimate song on the album," Lee says. "This song came out in a moment where I felt lost, I was at war within myself. It's raw and open."
"It was Nick's idea for the band to come in where they do," Lee says. "I love how big and important it's become for all of us. It started out as this tiny, raw thing and it's become one of my favorite songs."
Heavy, chugging guitars propel "The Other Side," a story of love that survives whatever tries to destroy it, including death, while the rhythmic, multi-layered "My Heart Is Broken" takes the listener on a journey of escape. "That was inspired by victims of sex trafficking," Lee reveals. "It's about trying to find your way out."
The album closes with a last-minute addition: the dreamy, atmospheric "Swimming Home," a tune that exposes a side of Evanescence that fans have never seen. "That song is the biggest departure," Lee says. "It came from a phase when I was making music that was ethereal and programming driven. Thematically, "Swimming" addresses "crossing over into the next life. It's the bittersweet acceptance."
The break between "The Open Door" and "Evanescence" provided the band with much-deserved rest, but also some clarity as to how important what they had created meant to them.
"I do have a new perspective and a big part of that for me was being able to step away and knowing for certain that I'm here making this record because I love what I do," Lee says.
Lee spent her time away from the band with her new husband and learning how to lead a "normal" adult life in her adopted hometown of New York City. "Evanescence is my life's work. I've been working on it since I was a young teenager," Lee says. "By the time we finishing touring 'The Open Door,' I just wanted to nest a little bit... and build a life that didn't revolve around my being in Evanescence."
But then the muse came calling and Lee and her bandmates felt an urgent need to express what was building inside of them. "The reason our music is epic and dramatic is because the biggest emotions that I ever feel, the music is the only way to get them out of my heart," Lee says. "Words alone aren't enough. It heals my heart to make music."
Now, Evanescence's thoughts have turned to returning to the road. "This record is so geared for live shows," Lee says. "We were thinking about playing live the whole time we were writing it."
Making the return all the sweeter are the fans. "I can't describe how great it feels to have their support. I love so much meeting them before and after the show. If feels like they're growing with us," says Lee.
Though already superstars, Lee and her bandmates have the enthusiasm of newcomers as they look to a future that is brimming with possibility through "Evanescence."
"This moment right now between us and the fans, it feels like a celebration, a homecoming, a family reunion," Lee says. "We're so happy to be back."
Multi-platinum recording artists Chevelle is made up of Pete Loeffler (vocals, guitars), brother Sam Loeffler (drums), and brother-in-law Dean Bernardini (bass). Inspired by the lurching riffs of Helmet and the soft/loud vocal styling of Tool, the Chicago-based trio's aggressive, heavy sound is all about mounting tension exploding into raw guitar bursts.
After scoring two top 10 singles ("I Get Off" and "It's Not You") from their self-titled debut and touring steadily for two years with acts as diverse as Shinedown, Stone Sour, Disturbed, Megadeth, Papa Roach, Godsmack and countless others, Pennsylvania quartet Halestorm are back with their second full-length, The Strange Case of…. Musically diverse and emotionally revealing, the album resonates with a newfound poignancy that takes Halestorm to a new level of creative achievement.
"I was extremely proud of Halestorm when we released it, and I still love it, but I think I was using mostly one musical technique throughout," explains frontwoman Lzzy Hale. "We were on 'ten,' and we blew through the songs in a safe way – or as safe as something that goes, 'I get off on you getting off on me' can be. This new record demonstrates more depth and heart. It's a lot more expressive and really lets down the barriers."
Halestorm started writing for the new record while they were on the road in 2010. Then when the band finished the Uproar Tour in May 2011, they entered the studio with producer Howard Benson (3 Doors Down, Seether, Three Days Grace) and tracked one of the heaviest songs of their career, "Love Bites (So Do I)."
"At that time, I decided, 'I'm going to scream my head off and make really gritty songs,'" Hale says. "When we finished 'Love Bites,' the engineer at Howard's studio, Bay Seven, said, 'I'm pretty sure that's the fastest song we've ever done here.'"
Excited by the escalated tempos and raw energy, Hale returned to writing mode and bashed out more anthemic rockers filled with uncompromising rhythms, soaring vocals and searing leads. Then one night at 4 a.m., after enduring a personal setback, she wrote a bare, vulnerable sounding song and recorded it on her cell phone. Flooded by emotion and maybe a glass of wine too many, she immediately emailed the unpolished song to Benson and the band's A&R man.
"The next morning I regretted having sent it because I didn't hear back from them," she says. "And then a day later they got back to me and went, 'Oh, my God, we didn't know you had this in you. Please write more songs like that.'"
Encouraged by the support and inspired by the urge to purge, Hale wrote more intimate numbers, including the sensitive piano ballad "Break In," the sparse and melancholy "In Your Room" and the mid-paced ode "Beautiful With You." She and her band mates also crafted heavier numbers, including "I Miss The Misery," with its start-stop chorus rhythm and confrontational lyrics and "Rock Show," which blazes with euphoric vocals and motivational riffs. That was when Halestorm realized the new collection of songs was somewhat schizophrenic. At first Hale was unsettled by the polarization, then she penned the song "Mz. Hyde" specifically about the two disparate sides of her personality and the album immediately swam into focus.
"When they heard that, the guys went, 'Oh my God, you are Mz. Hyde!'" Hale says. "So suddenly this predicament with having this record that had a split personality was about having a split personality. Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, sometimes I need to wear a pair of jeans instead of fishnets. But I also like being powerful and being a leader and yelling, 'Hello, Cleveland.'"
Halestorm recorded The Strange Case of… in three sessions with Benson. By the time they entered the studio for the last time, they had written 56 songs, which they narrowed down to the 17 they tracked. The first single "Love Bites (So Do I)" is a storming rocker that illustrates Hale's individuality, sense of humor, and willingness to represent young women in today's fast-paced society.
"I was talking to this little girl over Twitter who was going through her first breakup, and she was asking me for advice," recalls Hale, who regularly interacts with her fans online. "She typed 'Love Bites,' and I replied, 'Well, so do you, darling. You can still bite back.' It was meant to be an empowering song for people when love goes down the tubes, and I think it's a very realistic way of looking at relationships. Nobody talks about all the crap you have to do to keep something alive or just deal with your boyfriend or girlfriend. They always talk about falling in love or having your heart broken. So this is a way of saying, yes, everything can end, but it's rejuvenating to stand up and go, 'This sucks right now, but it's not going to take me down with it.'"
Other tracks, such as "You Call Me a Bitch Like it's a Bad Thing" and "Freak Like Me" turn epithets into proud slogans, while "Daughters of Darkness" is an admission that women, like men, have their dark side. "Even with the sweetest woman in the world, you click a switch somewhere, and she's a little bit crazy or she has her secrets," Hale says. "And a lot of times you see these girls let all that stuff out at our concerts, which is really gratifying."
One of the most meaningful songs on The Strange Case Of… to Halestorm is "Here's To Us," a declarative mission statement which starts with a delicate arpeggio and builds to a rousing pop/rock refrain. As much as it represents the band, "Here's to Us" was actually an afterthought. "It came together after we already thought the album was complete," Hale says. "It's our 'bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded… home run!' The song is about celebrating the ups and downs of your journey as you go along because even the bad times can be reasons to crack open the champagne."
One reason Halestorm has developed the ability to sound completely self-assured and cohesive whether they're tearing down the rafters or gently massaging a bruised psyche is because they've had plenty of time to hone their craft and celebrate their exceptional chemistry. Hale and her brother and drummer Arejay started the group more than a decade ago when she was 13 and he was just 10. From the very beginning they were in it to win it even though they paid their dues along the way. Back in the day, the members lost a talent show to a tap-dancing cowgirl, played Friendly's for free ice cream, piled the stage with homemade explosives that sometimes went off right in front of their faces, and even played at a funeral.
Halestorm's determination paid off. Before long, they were playing local bars even though they were underage. They secured guitarist Joe Hottinger in 2003 and bassist Josh Smith in 2004, and in 2005, Halestorm signed a deal with Atlantic Records and released the live EP One and Done, which included an early version of fan favorite "It's Not You." The band continued to write, tour and record and in 2009 released their self-titled full-length album. Inspired by Halestorm's exuberance and spirit, the band's loyal legions rapidly grew. They became favorites at rock radio, highlights of music festivals and friends of the multitudes of groups they opened for or headlined with. Halestorm went on to sell more than 300,000 copies.
Backing their monster riffs and euphoric choruses with pure rock and roll attitude, Halestorm followed up their eponymous release with the covers EP ReAniMate. In addition to including aggressive fist-pounders by Skid Row, Guns N' Roses and Temple of the Dog, Halestorm demonstrated their sonic scope with versions of tracks by The Beatles and Lady Gaga. The boundary-stretching was just a prelude to the muscle and sensitivity of The Strange Case Of…
"We've taken everything we can do and stretched it in both directions," Hale says. "This record goes from one song that's just vocal and piano and the lowest and softest I've ever sung all the way up to the highest notes and craziest screaming I've ever done."
As musically advanced as The Strange Case Of… is compared to Halestorm's debut, the band still has plenty of growth left in them and continue to write songs at an alarming rate. "I create all the time," Hale says. "And the four of us are working together more now, so we're really gelling better than ever. We're really excited with how far we've gotten with this album, and we can't wait to see where we can go in the future. It feels like there are no rules or boundaries, and that's the ultimate freedom."
You don't need Merriam Webster to tell you that a band often equals best friends in business together. It starts off great, and everybody loves everybody. But then with success, things change. That's where the communication begins to break down; where punches get thrown; and where second albums are stunted. Band-of-brothers bonds are tested and often break before they bend. St. Louis, Missouri's Cavo experienced an incredible measure of accomplishment with its Reprise Records debut, 2009's Bright Nights Dark Days, which yielded the No. 1 single, "Champagne," and the Top 5 rock track, "Crash," and then found itself in the aforementioned position. The rise to the top of the charts nearly tore them apart, leaving their relationships with each other and as a unit tattered.
Cavo didn't experience anything different than that which most bands endure. Life on the road is where you learn about the people you are in a band with. You never truly know someone until you live with them, and when you are touring for two years non-stop, you live with your band mates 24/7/365. It's like a marriage, only intensified. Cavo singer Casey Walker acknowledged, "Even in a marriage, you don't actually see your wife for most of the day. When you're on tour with your band, you're away from each other for about as long as it takes to eat lunch. It never ends."
Toward the end of 2010 it was a do or die situation for Cavo. It wasn't just about needing a break. It was about either giving up the gig completely or giving in to each other and making a conscious decision to start again. It was not lost on bassist Brian Smith that few bands get the opportunity to play their music in front of thousands of fans or to hear their songs on the radio nationwide. "To give up on this band would make everything that we did sacrifice along the way seem in vain," he mused. "I love the guys that I am with. They are my second family and for a minute, I forgot that."
The other half of the Cavo rhythm section, drummer Chad LaRoy, wrestled with the idea of being burnt out on a dream
job. "I was fried. And we had a tough time when we started getting together again to write," LaRoy said. "We had a lot of
meetings where we all kind of laid our feelings and issues with the band and each other on the table, and it actually started
to make a difference." Guitarist Chris Hobbs added, "We had to get back to basics and be four guys who like to play
in a room together. We each had to let go of all the personal gripes as a group and then figure out if we wanted to move
Cavo was hovering in limbo when, after this careful examination of their internal relationships, they realized that
anything worth having is worth fighting for. They split with their major label, regrouped as a unit and came out swinging
once again. The bonds of band brotherhood and friendship ultimately could not be broken. Walker summed it up best,
saying, "[The major label] can take our album or take the song rights, but you can't take our ability to write good songs or
to enjoy playing together. And you can't take our ability to be friends."
Obviously, this story has a happy ending, since the band has regrouped and is releasing their new album Thick as
Thieves, on Eleven Seven Music. Those refreshed methodologies, coupled with the "strength-in-numbers attitude"
helped produce this eleven song effort which trumps everything that came before it by a landslide. The first single and title
track, "Thick as Thieves," cements the band's position as solid hitmakers. Walker said, "The genesis of the song was about
taking back our own career and making it better. One of the lyrics that sticks out to me is the part about being so sick of
waiting for something to change in my life. It was time for us to take matters back into our own hands and do what we
knew we were capable of."
LaRoy even joked that the "Thick as Thieves" single shows that the band is like a "four man wolf pack" thanks to their
knack for trudging through the trenches and clearing the many hurdles of the eats-its-young music business and life on
the road. "We're stronger than we've ever been and we have a 'take no prisoners' approach now," he said.
But band unity aside, it's really all about the songs. And Thick as Thieves truly delivers the entire spectrum of real
emotion with each passing track. Walker penned the dark, moody, and memorable "California" just days after his father's
unexpected passing in early 2011, and he likes to say that the song was not as much about his father, but about how he was
dealing with the loss.
The track "Hold Your Ground" traverses similar lyrical terrain as the first single but with an even more urgent sentiment.
Walker commented, "No one takes our place in our fight. We fight the fight or we lose the fight," furthering the notion that
things are now tighter than ever in the Cavo ranks.
Smith calls the album the unveiling of who Cavo truly is. "It's a collection of vastly different songs with varying tones and tempos, kind of like we're four completely unique people with different backgrounds coming together to tell one common story," he said. There are high's, like "Last Day," which is a potent, up tempo sing-along, while there are low's, like "Never Gonna Hurt," a relatable ballad that will yank at your heartstrings. There's "Celebrity," a chunky, guitar-driven song with escalating tension, while "Circles" boasts a fiery riff that refuses to be extinguished…sorta like the band's spirit.
Overall, writing with Cavo allows the band the chance to work out his life on paper and to say something without having to wait for a response; this is precisely why the fans connect so deeply with them. Walker commented, "You get to say something to someone, and for three-and-a-half minutes, they listen and they take it with them. 'California' is me telling my dad what I'm going through since he passed away. In reality, he's not here, but that's not important. I get to say it out loud every night."
LaRoy summed up Cavo in 2011 and beyond by saying that this is band is the most successful relationship he has ever been in. "That's the coolest thing about it," he admitted. "We are four guys who hang together, play together and actually want to be friends again."
The road to this healthy place could have been littered with a huge casualty. With their relationships repaired, Cavo is armed with a new album that finds the band where they need to be. With Thick as Thieves, there is nowhere to go but up.
New Medicine injects a little hope into hard rock on their debut album, Race You to the Bottom, due out this fall via Photo Finish Records. Each song tells a story, whether it's about the loss of a loved one on "Little Sister" or the state of the world on "Race You to the Bottom."
For lead vocalist Jake Scherer, the band's message is in their moniker. "Everybody has a different medicine—whether it's coffee, drugs, alcohol or cigarettes," says the singer. "When I was growing up, music was the only medicine I needed. If I was really bummed out about something, I'd put a record on and it'd cheer me up. Music's the ultimate healer."
In 2007, after years of playing in bands through middle school and high school, Jake decided to pursue music seriously as a career and began traveling back and forth from his hometown of Minneapolis to Nashville to hone his songwriting craft. "It's a whole town dedicated to music. Everybody respects songs immensely in that city, and it inspired a good chunk of this album."
One particular song from those Nashville trips laid the groundwork for Race You to the Bottom. In early 2008, Jake brought "Baby's Gone" to guitarist Dan Garland back in Minneapolis. The track was so powerful that Jake had to record it, but he wanted a full band. So he sought out his high school buddy Matt Brady for bass and local drum whiz Ryan Guanzon. The birth of "Baby's Gone" signaled the beginning of New Medicine, as the quartet quickly clicked around the track.
Immediately, New Medicine cultivated a following in Minneapolis as they constantly composed new material. With more than 100 songs in their arsenal, the band caught the attention of Photo Finish Records/Atlantic and joined the label's roster in summer 2009. The band entered the studio and collaborated with producers Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, better known as S*A*M & Sluggo (Coheed & Cambria, Gym Class Heroes, Katy Perry), Steve Hodge (Michael Jackson, Sting, Psychedelic Furs) and The Blasting Room, the production team of Bill Stevenson (Rise Against) and Jason Livermore (Puddle of Mudd). The resulting 14 songs showcase a hard sound with a positive slant.
"Laid," the first single, examines relationship troubles with a combination of wit and wisdom. The song is a propulsive lovelorn rocker that sugarcoats nothing. Jake, who co-wrote the song with S*A*M & Sluggo, reveals, "It's about an experience with a girl who's the ultimate wild child. She gets you under your skin, drives you totally crazy and she's gone."
Yet Jake doesn't shy away from pain on the record either. Songs such as the hypnotic and heartbreaking "Little Sister" see the singer baring his soul. With its soaring melody and crunching riff, "Little Sister" can be hummed or pondered because it's not culled from standard rock fodder. "My little sister died of infant death syndrome at age one. When I wrote that song, I was thinking about what she'd be like today if she were alive. How would my life be different? It's a sad song, but the chorus is very positive. Even if she's an angel now, she'll always be my sister and no matter what, I'm here for her."
In the end, Race You to the Bottom is based on honesty. "We never worried about fitting into a scene," declares the singer. "I don't care how my hair looks; I just want to write good songs. We're proud of the music we created, and it's the best feeling ever."