Chevelle w/ Janus
Irving Plaza, New York, NY
February 29th, 2012
It’s been a little over two years since rock trio Chevelle took center stage as a headlining act in New York City. But Wednesday night, there they were again, back at Irving Plaza, a place that they owned back in February of 2010. Not much has changed for the band since then; a new album released last December (Hats Off to the Bull) which peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200, same signature Chevelle sound, which only adds even more live material to the band’s already extensive repertoire. But it’s that level of consistency with each and every live show that allows the band’s reputation to precede it. And that’s why regardless of how many times the band comes through our area; fans will come out time and time again to watch them do their thing.
Concert Review: Janus at Irving Plaza
Supporting Chevelle on this leg of the tour, slated through the middle of March is Middle Class Rut and their Chicago brethren, Janus. LocalBozo.com had the opportunity to sit down with Janus frontman David Scotney just prior to the band’s embarking on the tour for an exclusive interview, but Wednesday night was our first chance to see them up close. The band’s abbreviated set saw them take center stage relatively early in the evening as much of the crowd was beginning to file in. The often soft spoken frontman enthusiastically engaged the audience with his ‘happy to be in New York City’ exuberance, punctuated by Janus’ latest single “Stains,” which is getting tremendous airplay wherever rock radio can be heard. Closing with the familiar notes of “Eyesore” from 2009’s “Red Right Return,” the band did a serviceable job with their allotted time, appropriately amping up fans awaiting the arrival of the headliners.
Concert Review: Chevelle at Irving Plaza
Promptly at 10pm, the house lights went down and the video screen was lifted as a chorus of screaming rang out inside the historic venue. With little showmanship, the three-piece outfit took to the darkened stage before launching into “Antisaint,” the hauntingly revolving opening track from 2007’s “Vena Sera.” While it was business as usual for the band onstage, the crowd was treated to an intricate illumination of lights behind them, spiraling around the room above the band’s graphic banner.
With six full length albums released over the past 12 years, Chevelle has worked to perfect the art of their brand of live performances. Never unnecessarily showy or reveling in crowd adoration regardless of the level of praise, the band sounds tight live- their hard and plodding instruments supporting the pleasant drones of frontman Pete Loeffler in a manner that is both aggressive and in a way, just right. Eschewing a rhythm guitarist, the band’s sound has never suffered from a lack of layering. In fact, it’s almost more special to marvel at the sounds they’ve been able to conjure up as a three piece. As the band began “Closure,” Loeffler noticed an antsy crowd, eager to sing backing vocals alongside his own. “You guys know this?,” he teased, as they reiterated each verse in unison. Later in the show, the same thing would occur with the band’s hit “Jars,” to which Loeffler mused- “Oh I see. I don’t even have to sing for this one, do I?” Needless to say, the crowd on hand ate the banter up. Despite the singer’s inability to hit all of his highest notes on this night, the energetic live crowd filled in capably and with fervor. The 80 minute set was paced by hits like “Send the Pain Below,” “Vitamin R,” “I Get It,” and “The Clincher,” as well as newer tunes like “Hats Off to the Bull” and “Envy,” both of which fit in seamlessly.
By the time the band was set to close the show with a two song encore, the crowd was ready to become unglued. “New York City. I feel good, how about you?” exclaimed Loeffler, genuinely excited during the encore. He emerged from backstage alone with his guitar, strumming the familiar “The Red” all by himself, before the rest of his bandmates joined him during the pulverizing second chorus. The groovy, head bobbing “Face to the Floor,” the first single released from the new album, would close the show in signature Chevelle fashion.
One of the more unheralded and underappreciated bands in the rock genre, Chevelle never disappoints with their live shows. Seemingly each one is consistently solid and equally satisfying. It can be said if you’ve seen one Chevelle show, you’ve seen them all. But then- they release a new album and they manage a new twist on their signature sound. And before you know it, there you are, watching them perform live and watching them kill it, all over again.
- Jane Van Arsdale