Red Wanting Blue from Columbus, Ohio, started things off with their flair for flat, melodic drama à la Matchbox Twenty with vocals that posed the question: What if Sister Hazel frontman Ken Block learned to yarl? The reason this particular pocket of disingenuous post-grunge rock is so bad is because there’s nothing discernibly good about it. Well-meaning, but ultimately middling at best.
While engaged in the semi-criminal act of wearing sunglasses on stage, the guitarist also donned a Jack White uniform of red pants (that matched the red leather upholstery job on his stack), white belt and black shirt, although never have I seen White rock a black sleeveless T. This was the first time I’ve seen a Chapman’s Stick (an instrument that looks like a stringed up plank of wood) in action.
Red Wanting Blue only managed to sound even worse after the first 10 seconds of Austin, Texas, rockers Endochine (pronounced in-doe-sheen). They’re like a cross between Muse and Jeff Buckley, but it’s their sincerity that outmaneuvers the comparison. The band boasts two strong vocalists in Nathan Harlan, who sounds much like Matthew Bellamy of Muse, and Casey McPherson, who bears the kindred delivery of simultaneous warmth and detachment of Woody Ranere of Lake Trout.
Every band is local to somewhere, but sounding like a local band is a hindrance. Red Wanting Blue’s limitations were clear and disengaging, while not so far away on the scale of rock, Endochine maintained interest while never letting you know where they were going next.