After a triumphant inaugural show at The Shrunken Head two months ago, Capricornus took their unique and melodic blend of rock music on the road again, this time down at Classic’s Victory’s Live in the Brewery District. The band brought a huge crowd and a massive light show to their initial outing on the smaller stage, so I personally was intrigued to see how they’d look with a larger stage at their disposal.
I caught up with guitarist and vocalist Pauly Cunningham outside before his band took the stage and he spoke of his excitement to be rocking in front of a crowd again. The group had worked to refine their set after a solid introductory performance, and he promised me I wouldn’t be disappointed.
As always, I take that to heart.
Back inside, Cunningham and drummer Chris Beal were setting up their light towers while bassist Bill Melton and guitarist Josh Gwin tuned their respective instruments. For being the opening act on a night full of great shows around Columbus, the band drew a decent crowd, so much so that the venue left their doors open to help battle the heat building indoors.
Without much warning and after a brief pre-recorded intro, Cunningham tore off the anticipatory band-aid and pounded out the opening notes of Helmet. The song featured a driving, cruncher riff from the front-man, while Gwin’s guitar buzzed and screamed throughout. I thought about how Cunningham had told me that he essentially was making up the lyrics as he went along, and I just laughed as I watched him sing. The man is a true performer.
The band jumped right into their second song of the evening, Despite The Difficulty. The number had a real punch to it and the guitars rang melodically as Cunningham’s voice soared above all. The music resonated throughout the bar and had a lot of people around me nodding their heads in enjoyment. I can personally say that it was definitely my favorite tune of the night.
Up next was Life In Color, a much heavier number with verses so massive they threatened to knock back anyone standing near the band. Melton’s bass thundered appropriately as a layer of dry ice crept across the stage, and Cunningham seemed to almost disappear into the darkness. The band had dimmed the lights across Victory’s and could only be seen by the light towers shining behind them.
Melton’s opening bass notes rattled our bones on Sparta, a song that was less heavy than the previous two, but still featured plenty of solid licks and cymbal smashing from Beal. The man plays like a jackhammer.
Ever the enigma, the band stayed completely silent between songs, but the crowd wasn’t complaining. Glass had a funkier feel to it than any of the previous tracks, with Gwin and Melton bouncing around, while Beal pummeled his kit with authority.
Finally we had If You Care, a slower number that featured the loudest guitars of the night. Their set may have been nearing the end, but the quartet wasn’t showing any signs of decline, with guitars resonating, the cymbals splashing and the bass humming. As their final note ended, they abandoned their instruments and left the stage, and that was that.
With their combined experience, the band definitely has the pedigree to be a juggernaut in the Columbus scene. I know they aren’t necessarily looking for big time fame at this point in their careers, but it’s definitely inspiring to see a new act captivate a crowd with such charm and excellence. I hope to see and hear much more of them in the coming months.
- Despite The Difficulty
- Life In Color
- If You Care
Credit all images: Susan Muller / MIMC