Article and Photos by: Ian Urquhart
Burlington, VT – The Higher Ground Showcase Lounge hosted its first rock show in months on May 13th, 2017. Fans gathered outside in the rain for over an hour to participate in the throw-down brought along by the three rock artists providing the evening entertainment. Phantom Suns, Kaleido and Letters From The Fire took charge of the stage and displayed colorful hair, pinch harmonics and good old-fashioned rock and roll.
Grunge was the first genre to appear as Phantom Suns stepped in front of the Burlington crowd. A riffy/melodic alternative rock vibe oozed from the PA system as Ryan Cohen (Lead Bassists/Backup Vocalist) provided rhythm bass solos to accompany Seth Gundersen’s (Lead Vocalist/Lead Guitarist) chord progressions. Providing the acoustic kit-fills was drummer, Christopher Mathieu. Phantom Suns incorporated a simple stage set up as they performed singles such as “It Won’t Stop,” off their most recent EP, Parhelia. Phantom Suns’ sound grooved similarly to a Pearl Jam/ Godsmack impression with their own creative touch. The heavy tone heard in “Mush,” associated itself with devil horns and head bangs throughout the set list.
All the way from the motor city, Kaleido took the stage as the second band of the evening. Pink hair and a dominant stage presence expressed Christina Chriss’s (Lead Vocalist) ability to rally up the Vermont troops for a rock filled performance. With five members of Kaleido sharing the stage, Christina found the most proper way to introduce everyone: let each member solo it out. Cody Morals (Lead bassist) and Zach Bolling (Guitarist) provided face twisting, hip swinging guitar and bass solos followed by Joey Fava on the drums. Kaleido’s tone throughout the evening displayed a rocker rendition similar to what could be found on a Halestorm album. What separated Kaleido from other bands lead by a female voice was their ability to sway from hard rock to a reggae aura found in their single “Trouble in Paradise.” The crowd participation majorly increased as Kaleido’s most recent single “Die Tryin,” was performed alongside the Burlington crowd singing along. Kaleido showcased a true performance with a lingering passion of keeping rock and roll alive. A sincere thank you was announced by Christina as the Detroit natives stepped off the stage and continued their nationwide tour with Seether the following day in Boston, MA.
As for the night cap performance; hard rock and metal it was. Letters From The Fire opened with a single spotlight on Brian Sumwalt’s drum kit while a bass filled, heartbeat echo amped the Showcase Lounge crowd. “Worth the Pain,” off their most recent album Worth the Pain (2016) got everyone off their feet as Mike Keller (Guitarist) and Clayton Wages (Bassist) whirled their luxuriant heads of hair to the chest-pumping kick pedal rhythm. Mike Keller (Guitarist/Backup Vocalist) provided an accommodating vocal range to harmonize and amplify Alexa Kabazie’s (Lead Vocalist) higher octave talents. The duration of Letters From The Fire’s performance aimlessly displayed pure emotion as each member left the stage exhausted. Compared to LFTF’s previous venues, the Showcase Lounge offered a much more intimate experience with the band and their fans. Alexa and company hopped off stage and quickly ran over to their merch table for a meet and greet with those who wanted to say hi.
You can catch Kaleido and Letters From the Fire on tour with Seether throughout the next couple of weeks.
The Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground music hall is a smaller venue compared to say, the House of Blues in Boston. Some may see that as a benefit, some may not. From an observational perspective however, Phantom Suns, Kaleido and Letters From The Fire all had opportunities to converse with their fans. At some venues, this option isn’t possible. But it was important for each group of musicians to show their support as their fans did for them. May 13th, 2017 was a night to remember that rock is not dead. Bands such as Phantom Suns, Kaleido and Letters From The Fire who do their part to keep it alive in Burlington, VT.