Sevendust and Gemini Syndrome in Pittsburgh

Atlanta hard rockers Sevendust have been out on the road, playing acoustic shows since April in support of their newest album Time Travelers & Bonfires. In honor of all the hard rock & metal festivals they will be playing over the summer, the band have thrown in a handful of electric shows to prepare themselves and to prime the rabid fans. Pittsburgh was one of the lucky cities on that short list and as always, they did not disappoint, putting on one hell of a show.

Pittsburgh’s own After The Fall set the evening into motion with a killer high octane set of melodic hard rock, with songs catchier than the common cold. Lead singer Doug Carnahan had tons of charm, guitarist Brandon Cornish and bassist Steve Craven were raw energy personified and drummer Matt Ferrante was so into it that he rarely opened his eyes.

Every member of the band owned the stage like seasoned pros and the crowd got progressively louder as their set went on, with tracks like “Rumors,” “Meant To Be” and “Remember The Time” garnering a massive response from the crowd. Carnahan strapped on a guitar for closer “Fucking Around.”

Up next was Massachusetts natives Silent Season, who took things up a notch with a incredible batch of strong melodic hard rock, with titles like “Chance,” “If You Lead Me On” and “Breaking Me Down,” like they had been doing it all their lives. Guitarists Josh Thompson and Brendan Sheehan, bassist Andrew DeCicco and drummer David Pappalardo made the stage their bitch and vocalist Jeremy Rae’s command of the crowd was off the charts.

From the moment the lights dimmed and the intro music of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” blasted through the speakers, you knew Gemini Syndrome’s set would be anything but ordinary. Even stranger than the band’s choice of intro music, was the fact that everyone in attendance sang along with it at the top of their lungs, working themselves into a frenzy and the band hadn’t even hit the stage yet. Once they did, all hell broke loose.

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They proceeded to pound out a dynamic set of well-crafted melodic hard rock and received an overwhelming response from the audience. Guitarists Rich Juzwick and Mike Salerno and bassist Alessandro Paveri were at the top of their game and drummer Brian Medina was a blast to watch, but it was hard not to stare at charismatic frontman Aaron Nordstrom. His command of the crowd was hypnotic and they hung on his every word.

Nordstrom addressed the now frenzied mob again before their closer to say, “Well, I’m certainly not tired are you? If you’re gonna move, nows the time to do it.” The crowd was all too happy to oblige his request, by breaking out into one of the most vicious circle pits in metal history. Ending their set on a very high note and setting the bar extremely high for headliners that night.

When Sevendust hit the stage, the shit hit the fan and within moments of opener “Pieces” and it was obvious the band had easily cleared the bar and was more than up to the challenge set forth to them by the opening bands. Singer Lajon Witherspoon’s undeniable charisma and command of the crowd knows no equal and guitarists John Connolly and Clint Lowery and bassist Vince Hornsby spent the entire night jumping around the stage like bands half their age.

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Drummer Morgan Rose stole his share of the spotlight from the back. His visual antics were mesmerizing as he pounded his kit into submission. “Denial” saw the whole crowd jumping and clapping their hands in unison, singing the song so loudly that they actually drowned out the band. Lajon’s LED microphone stand further added to his mystique when he told the crowd, “Without you, none of this would be possible, so God bless you all for coming out to see the show tonight.”

The crowd sang “Enemy” so loud that Lajon really didn’t have to and songs like “Angel’s Son” and “Black” drove the fans over the edge, causing them to jump up and down so hard it literally shook the building. The band had barely left the stage after “Decay,” when the chants for their return began and they didn’t make the ravenous fans wait very long.

The fans had been dying for the band to plug back in and rock out hard after the acoustic tour and Sevendust more than delivered. Kicking the ass of all who came, sending them all home with a smile on their faces and memories to share.

-Eric Hunker

Pre-show interview with Sevendust guitarist John Connolly: