Drawing a crowd anywhere on a Sunday night is tough. Drawing a hard-rock crowd in Indianapolis on a Sunday night is even tougher, since there are no local rock-specific radio stations left to promote hard-rock shows. Yet both local rockers Pragmatic and first-time headliners Red Sun Rising proved that hard rock is still very much alive and well, with their balls-out, take-no-prisoners sets at Old National’s Deluxe Theater.
Pragmatic’s primal sound set the tone for the evening with an in-your-face attitude. Their high-energy selections helped get the crowd amped up for Red Sun Rising, and even showed off their ability to pull off a harder sound.
The crowd, however, didn’t really need much incentive. Although Red Sun Rising’s following isn’t huge (yet), their fans clearly know and love these boys from Akron, Ohio. After opening nationwide for big-ticket names such as Seether and Godsmack, the band has just begun a headlining tour to promote their recently released album, Polyester Zeal. Their stage presence, attitude, and overall kick-ass performance showed they’re both ready and able to stand alone as the Rock Gods they’re surely intended to be.
RSR’s sound features old-school hard rock, soulful vocals, teeth-rattling bass and drums, and guitar riffs that leave you feeling like you were punched in the gut – and wanting more of it. Despite Tyler Valendza’s departure from the lineup, their sound remains unchanged and as powerful as ever. From head-banging, energetic songs such as “Push” to their hit single, “The Otherside,” to their haunting cover of Alanis Morisette’s “Uninvited,” RSR showed range, depth, skill and talent that can sometimes be hard find in their genre.
Red Sun Rising has perfectly mastered balancing on that line between committing to their act and connecting with their audience. It can be easy for harder acts to add too much theatricality, but Mike Protich’s emotion-packed vocals were flawlessly coupled with his grounded addresses to the audience, and guitarist Ryan Williams’s awesome facials only served to egg on an already engaged crowd. Gaining confidence since their last run in Indy with Seether, Red Sun Rising has proved to have solid footing in both the Indianapolis scene and their genre.