In what turned out to be a gorgeous spring day in Kentucky, I found myself once again in the shadow of Rupp Arena. I made my way to my favorite Lexington venue, Buster’s. On the bill tonight were two Century Media bands: Girl On Fire and the winners of our 2012 Debut Album of the Year, Otherwise.
Upon arriving, I realized this was going to be a different show. The bands had set up in the front room of Buster’s. This would be my first show in the front room, and as a photographer, it was going to be a challenge to say the least. Thankfully though, Clark and the crew at Buster’s were more than helpful and positioned me well enough that I was able to capture some unique photos. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…Buster’s rocks.
First up was Girl On Fire. I found it fitting that the rock gods presented me with a random coincidence. This show is happening during the week that serves as the death anniversary for two Seattle legends. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana and Layne Staley from Alice In Chains. I figured it was fate that I’d see an up and coming band from the Emerald City.
Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out so well for Girl On Fire. I can’t really say a lot about their set, nor will I say anything bad about their set for a couple reasons. The first reason is because the band is new to the national scene, and they are touring before their debut album is released in July. I had listened on YouTube, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Secondly though, and by far the most important, were the vocal issues faced by Austin Held. Feeling a bit under the weather, Austin did all he could, but in the end, the issues were too much for him to overcome and their set was unfortunately cut short. The band definitely gave their all and their efforts were not overlooked by the crowd. I for one wish them well and hope that Austin did no further damage to his instrument. His efforts were valiant, but he must protect his livelihood.
Next up were headliners Otherwise. The band has made their mark with a couple singles so far and the crowd really began to fill in as their set was about to begin. Kicking off the set, just like the album was Die For You. It’s one of the more energetic songs on the album, so it’s a perfect show opener. It immediately gets the adrenaline going for the band and crowd alike.
The band then chugged its way through the rockers Lighthouse, Vegas Girl and then blasted their way through an absolutely awesome performance of Silence Reigns. The groove in that song is phenomenal and I truly hope that it becomes a single for the band. It’s a tremendous song that was actually written several years ago.
Current single I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures) was definitely a set highlight for everyone in attendance. The song began with a slowed down ambient intro in which vocalist Adrian Patrick dedicated the song to all the ex-girlfriends and boyfriends in the world, saying, “You know us black guys, we say fuck ’em all!” The song kicked into the familiar guitar tones and it was on. I Don’t Apologize was the first audible crowd sing-a-long and the spark that seemingly lit the fuse for the tight knit crowd at Buster’s.
The set then took an abrupt turn, but it was a damn good one. Adrian took to the mic and captivated the crowd with one simple statement. He said, “We are going to do something. Something we’ve never done before.” After sitting down in chairs, the band brought out their acoustic guitars and within a few minutes, broke into an acoustic version of their heartfelt song Heaven. Up to this point, this was far and beyond the highlight of the set for me. The song really resonates with me personally, and I was as giddy as a school girl when I heard those first few notes. The crowd responded by singing nearly every word back to the band. It was a surreal moment for every fan at Buster’s. Everyone there knew they were witnessing something special. It was fantastic to see a side of the band that so few have ever had the privilege of witnessing.
Continuing the acoustic set, Otherwise played a song from their EP Some Kind of Alchemy. During Shapes of Metal, Adrian took the time to introduce each member, and he kept the crowd’s attention by turning the song into an impromptu jam. Seeing that his seated position was just not cutting it, he once again took to standing on the monitors and pulled the crowd even closer, reaching out to seemingly every patron, connecting with each of them. The fans were giving as good as they were getting, and there was an amazing connection on this night. I can’t explain how rare and special a show like this truly is.
In an odd, but welcome twist, the band did an acoustic cover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Slowing it down and adding “sexiness“, as Adrian put it. The energy from the band was incredible. The mood was subdued, but the band continually toyed with the crowd and enjoyed every second. As with any job, things can sometimes get boring, but the acoustic set was refreshing and energizing for the band and without a doubt, the fans as well.
Here’s a performance of the Billy Idol cover in the 95X studio:
“Alright, enough of that pussy shit.” Said Adrian as they ripped into Full Circle. The song is one of my favorite tracks from their album, and I truly hope it becomes a single. Judging by the hands in the air, I don’t think I’m alone in that thinking. Clasping hands with fans in the front row, again pulling the crowd almost on top of them, Otherwise destroyed the front room.
Scream Now was the next rocker in the assault on Buster’s. Standing on a pool table, Adrian took flight and leaped a band member. Now that’s not something you see every day! With this song and the energy exerted, Otherwise has proven to me that whether it be on a large stage in front of 5,000, or be it on the floor in front of 100, you get everything the band has to offer. For me, that translates into respect and only strengthens my connection to the band and their art.
The band followed up Scream Now with Crimson. The song was another obvious crowd favorite that could make for a great single. It’s always great to see crowd reactions and this one seemed to strike a chord with those in attendance.
Bringing it back into a nice interlude, the band carried the heavy load as Adrian prepared the crowd for Soldiers. The band took a moment to recognize the hard work that Clark and the Buster’s crew had put in, which again, translates into more respect. Hell, come to think about it, I even garnered a shoutout leading into this one. How about that?! Climbing to the highest reachable points, Adrian and bassist Vassilios Metropoulos jumped in unison to the floor and literally brought the house down. Getting caught in a light fixture, Adrian left it dangling and never missed a beat. Now that was rock and roll. Their biggest hit to date, Soldiers, is a song that I feel has the strength to become timeless. The song is a tremendous example of the power of music, and on this night, there wasn’t a fan in the room not singing along. (Yes, of course that includes me.)
After chants for one more song, Otherwise appeared to end the night with Don’t Be Afraid. But, after some grovelling from the crowd, the band decided to feed the monster they created with one more song. They broke out another song from before their signing to Century Media, and played I Am Spartacus. It was a real treat and a tremendous surprise. Adrian wasted no time teaching Lexington the lyrics, and he had them repeating them back to him almost instantly. After the breakdown of the song, the band threw in a verse from Killing In the Name by Rage Against the Machine. It was a fitting end to a tremendous night of music. A night that showcased every aspect the band has to offer. It was a show that I truly wish many more were able to attend, but then again, the intimate setting is what made this show so special to begin with.
Purchase your copy of True Love Never Dies by Otherwise below: