Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
August 13, 2013
Concert Review: 10 Years at Highline Ballroom
Donning a face painted black with a white cross outlining his face and nose, frontman Jesse Hasek would join his bandmates from Knoxville Tennessee’s 10 Years on the Highline Ballroom stage Tuesday night, in front of a small but feisty New York City crowd. Touring on the heels of 2012’s “Minus the Machine,” the group’s fourth full length release, 10 Years packed their 75 minute set with familiar rock favorites from the better part of the last decade in a sound and fashion that they’ve honed down into a true headlining set, following years of touring in a supporting slot.
Backed by a large video board flashing the band’s name behind a white stand-up silhouette displaying an old-fashioned reel to reel recorder on both sides of the stage, the band casually strode out to centerstage before opening with the haunting “Russian Roulette.” Stamped by Hasek’s signature high pitched wailing amid plodding and slow building heavy guitar riffs, the bandmates weaved through their many slow tempo songs with masterful precision, measured by every crushing blow of Brian Vodinh’s drum smash.
The setlist meanwhile played out like one of the band’s signature songs meticulously, carefully building to the point of frenetic explosion. Tracks like “Chasing the Rapture” and “Fix Me” were especially captivating, with Hasek staring daggers through the eyes of front row fans, singing directly to them with focused intensity. Whipping his microphone cord much like bassist Ryan Collier whips his long hair with abandon, Hasek quickly ditched the hooded sweatshirt which shrouded his paint covered face as his vocals reached the heights we had anticipated. The band steadily built to a climax with each passing song. “Minus the Machine,” “Beautiful,” and the faster paced “Backlash” illuminated the band’s range, while also highlighting their ability to stay true to their own brand of performing- never doing all that much on stage, but simply reveling in every minute of it.
Without the courtesy of an encore, the band approached their final two songs with appreciation, humbled to be headlining a show in Manhattan and for the opportunity at continued relevance for the better part of a decade. Hasek asked that the audience give credit to every musician that took the stage on this night- opener Monster Truck was especially and surprisingly solid- before launching into the band’s super hit “Wasteland” and the unrelenting “Shoot It Out.” Watching 10 Years perform the tail end of their set, you wish that more of their tracks would offer the same unabashed release of energy in that same fast-paced metal inspired fashion. But in retrospect, the build in getting to those final singles makes that very same release of energy all the more satisfying when the climax and the show’s conclusion collide at once.
- Jane Van Arsdale