(Re-posted from star of stage & screen Jonas David Grey’s tumblr, which can be found here: http://jonasdavidgrey.tumblr.com/)
It is almost midnight. Almost Easter. Bathed in blue light, a small, cavelike room in the middle of New York’s Bowery is dark, surprisingly quiet and still. As the faithful begin to congregate, a group of young men unassumingly take the stage to set equipment, plug cables, tape down set lists. They are focused and deliberate, perhaps a bit somber, in their tasks. The room fills with pilgrims, traveling from places like Boston and DC, pressing forward in devotion and anticipation until finally there is no room left at the foot of the stage.
The place is Arlene’s Grocery. The band is That Noble Fury. The show is sold out.
Without introduction – none is needed – the band launches into a swirl of noise in which frontman Anthony Blaha, suggests “I could be someone you like, would you want to try?” The song is an abbreviated version of North, and it seems by the glint in his eye he already knows the answer to the question.
Without pause, the band plunges into the carnival frenzy of Barbershoppe, followed by the hardcore drive of Parachute Jumper. Though these songs are familiar, they are also strangely new. That Noble Fury, the record, expertly takes the listener on an eclectic musical journey of playful discovery, romantic confusion and, finally, quiet resolution.
In concert, however, it is immediately apparent that the band has brought us through the rabbit hole. There is no progression. There is no quiet. We are in a wonderland where even the sadness of In California seems part celebration. Live, That Noble Fury are a first rate rock band, translating their songs into pure energy. Blaha seems barely able to contain the music inside him. His movements are erratic, his voice full and deliberate. Thomas Fellows is his perfect foil. His voice is rich and mellifluous, and he plays guitar with a flawless, easy-going precision. He is clearly having fun with his music.
The additional members of the band are equally skilled. Dave Chapman adds a welcome second guitar, filling each song with energy and substance, playfully singing along. Dave Kahn, on bass, and James Soares, on percussion, provide a solid foundation; at times appropriately filling out the sound, and at times the driving force behind their fury.
With the set nearly done, they have pulled some of their audience onstage to revel with tambourines in the sheer triumph of Nice to See You Alive. This is a band that loves their music, loves their audience. Without ever slipping into pretension or preciousness, they play with expert abandon that seems wholly new and welcome. As the stage goes dark, and the plaintive gypsy violin of Cadenza pierces the air, the band lunges into their final number, The Matador. It is forceful, it is frenzied, and as its last chords echo through the room, it feels as though That Noble Fury have resurrected rock and roll. March 30, 2013, Arelene’s Grocery.
North (abbreviated edition)
Room By Room
Boy Get Back
License To Kiss You
Nice To See You Alive
Cadenza & Intro