11-1-10 Originally published on Examiner.com by Tracy Heck
Friday night, American Bang and The Gracious Few wound up their tour at the Machine Shop in Flint.
The crowd was a little light possibly due to the busy Halloween weekend but those that did make it out were treated to one of the better rock shows of the year.
The evening started with a performance by local band The Hangers On who unfortunately didn't draw much of a crowd during their set as those who were there stayed seated or wandered outside.
American Bang's set started out with only a few people in front of the stage but once they began playing and people got exposed to their appealing brand of bluesy rock and singer Jaren Johnston's enthusiasm, the rest of the crowd was on it's feet and joining the others at the stage.
American Bang's "Wild and Young" single has gotten a lot of airplay and the band is known for being one of only a handful of bands today who just stick to playing true rock and roll.
The "Wild and Young" performance was good but it was their performance of their song "Hurts Like Hell" that stood out as Jaren emphatically presented the chorus to the crowd.
Throughout the set, the band all moved from one end of the stage to the other with Johnston taking to the top of the percussion set and eventually out into the crowd.
Johnston ended up on the ground with his guitar and continued to play without missing a beat.
The only problem with American Bang's set was that at times Jaren's voice got overshadowed by the rest of the band's playing, which is unfortunately something that occasionally seems to happen at the Machine Shop when a band uses their own sound techs.
The venue has a set of loud capacity amplifiers and if they are not set up right that problem tends to happen.
The farther back in the venue you are, the better the sound for certain acts.
Fortunately, the Gracious Few's set was lacking that problem.
The band took to the stage and proceeded to run through all of their self titled debut album.
The supergroup features vocalist Kevin Martin and guitarist Sean Hennesy from Candlebox and guitarist Chad Taylor, bass guitarist Pat Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey from the band Live.
Together, the band forms their own unique sound that encompasses the rock sound that they were both known for with a larger bluesy sound that works well with Martin's voice.
Set highlights included soulful performances of "The Rest of You" and "Sing" but it was the performance of "Crying Time" that really stood out.
The song was opened with a introduction by Martin who spoke about combining the two bands and being inspired by a friend who passed on. Martin went on to dedicate the song to him.
The song breaks out into a amazing bridge that allowed Martin's passionate voice to shine and was backed up beautifully by Hennesy's guitar solo.
The Gracious Few set also featured Martin climbing across the rafters to hang above the crowd before he fell down into them.
It was clear to anyone at the show that the band is loving working together and truly inspired by the music they are producing and the crowds that they are drawing.
It was also clear that during the tour American Bang and The Gracious Few have bonded and various members from both bands kept taking the stage throughout the evening to share drinks and shots.
Both Johnston and Martin spent time praising the other one, which is probably due to their mutual love for the pureness of the rock genre and the energy that they both exude on and off the stage.