Credit all images: Samantha Toale / MIMC
February 22nd, 2020 marked a momentous evening of opportunity for the Ohio music scene. The show in Dublin, OH was the first put on by New Age Connect, a Columbus group looking to further networking opportunities between bands, photographers, booking agencies, media managers and more.
As a local media outlet, we definitely jumped at the opportunity to be present for this occasion. I spoke with co-founder Mike Colletti about what he had in store for the evening.
“Basically, we’re a grass-roots organization looking to help with networking,” he explained. “We want to hold shows every month, having bands from Columbus and other areas working together. We want get more show-swapping, more connection… basically we want the scene to really come together.
“It’s not just the bands that we’re working with though.” he continued. “For this show, I’ve got photographers here, merch reps, promoters; lots of different things. We want to make sure bands know that there are tools within the scene to help them succeed.”
The venue chosen for the evening’s festivities was Flannagan’s Dublin, which is not a new locale by any means, but one that Colletti says was open to the idea he had put forth to them. Outside, I found a large parking lot with plenty of space for a packed show, while inside I found a mid-sized venue with all of the amenities needed for both performing and enjoying, as well as setting up merchandise tables. Personally, I was wowed by how good the food was, but that’s another story for another time.
The group had opened the venue an hour early to let people network naturally without any rush of fans coming in. When the doors were opened at 7 p.m., a crowd started to file in. We were specifically there to cover the headliner, Atimera (for whom Colletti plays guitar), but the lineup presented to us was stacked beyond belief for a Saturday night metal spectacle.
Local thumpers The Lost Boys Collective started the evening off by cranking the volume knob all the way off and featuring a rotating cast of guest vocalists. Queen City veterans Glassworld showed their skills with singer Beth Durbin bounding around the stage and giving our collective eardrums a truly tasty treat. Many of the people I encountered during the event said they enjoying their performance the most.
From all the way on the north end of Interstate-71, Cleveland hard rockers Titans in Time featured high kicks and headbangs in abundance as they showcased songs from their newest release Love Found/Love Lost. As if our necks hadn’t had enough abuse already, Columbus quintet Faith in Failure grooved us back to earth, all under the guise of vocalist Chad Nash’s trademark smile.
At long last, it was time for Atimera to take the stage. Fresh off of winning the Battle for INKcarceration one week previously, the band told me they had a few surprises planned for the night.
The pit was packed as the lights dimmed and Will Smith’s Men In Black started playing over the loudspeakers. Colletti and fellow guitarist Justin Davis started dancing and boogied on to the stage, causing laughs all around me. They were joined by drummer Josh Stroud and bassist Greg Teasely, carrying a beautiful headless Steinberg bass. Singer Quil Seawright was the last to join the fray, raising his arms to pump up the crowd and issuing a warning.
“You guys had better get up here and get the pit going,” he said, “or else I’m gonna come down there and donkey-kick you myself!”
The band opened with Am I Human, the title track from their debut EP. The opening of the song left the other bands in the dust, showing once and for all why Atimera were chosen to play at the Mansfield Reformatory in July. Am I Human also featured a tremendous breakdown that throttled my neck harder than anything I had yet experienced at Flannagan’s.
Stroud started hammering away at his kit for April, a song about surviving the horrors of this world. The vibe was more melodic, as Colletti and Davis jumped around on the chorus. Seawright’s words really stuck in my head when he said, ‘Giving up is not a choice, take my ears and use your voice.‘
“I put my heart into every line I write,” he explained. “I want people to care for each other, and know that they can connect.”
Up next was That Ship Sailed, a song about having loved ones overseas in the military. Seawright and I spoke after the show about the anxiety of not knowing whether you were going to see them again, and you could feel it in the verses of the song. Colletti and Davis were now headbanging in unison, as Teasely whipped his hair around and sang harsh on the chorus. While this song may have had a softer opening than the prior two, by the time the breakdown hit there was a full-on mosh pit going on behind me.
The action got so heavy at one point that two of the moshers had a crazy collision, sending the smaller one out through the side door of the venue.
Hell yes! This was a real metal show going on in the 614.
Seawright called Vince Gillman, singer from Titans in Time back to the stage to sing on a cover of The Amity Affliciton’s Don’t Lean On Me. Stroud laid himself into his kit as the singers joined together on the chorus. The three guitarists all switched up their gear for Talking To Shadows, another melodic number with plenty of crunch to it.
“We promised you a heavy show… let’s fuckin’ do it!” announced Seawright, as they punched into their newest song By Design. This was Davis’ most proficient song, and the crowd again started moshing while feeding off of the energy put forth by the frenetic Colletti.
“I really wanted to go all out, playing on a stage we had never played before,” he expressed.
“Our goal is to get signed, play the major festivals and reach the the top!” added Seawright. “We are gonna give our best every night.”
“Although… maybe less kicking next time. I’ve got two hairline fractures in my left leg and I’m really feeling it now,” explained Colletti once the dust had settled on the evening.
The adrenaline of a live show can really be something, as Colletti was the most frenzied individual performing behind his front-man. You could tell the band was reaching their limit on Trapped in the Middle, but the crowd around me still urged them on with raucous applause and manic moshing.
The band finished up with crowd favorite Captain Leeroy vs Dr. Nightmare. True to his promise, Seawright bounded off the stage and joined the moshpit, pushing and punching while singing along with his talented teammates. Davis spun his guitar around, as Colletti and Teasely exercised their necks for the final crushing breakdown.
Seawright announced that the band would be going out on tour with Faith In Failure in June as a prelude to their performance at the INKcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival. He also told me that the band is looking to shoot a music video next month, although they haven’t yet decided on which song to perform. As for New Age Connect, Colletti said he was thrilled by the results.
“I think the show went very well!” he said. “There were a few sound hiccups at first, but otherwise everything ran on time and each of the bands were fantastic!
“Plus, a bunch of other bands showed up for the networking portion before the show. We had photographers, videographers, merch reps, you guys… for Atimera, we lined up two show swaps out of town as well.”
From my perspective, I thought the show was fantastic, and look forward to seeing Flannagan’s used as a music venue again. Too many good bars and clubs have gone belly-up in the last few years, and Columbus’ music scene needs more decent sized venues that are willing to give different types of shows a chance.
- Am I Human
- That Ship Sailed
- Don’t Lean On Me (Amity Affliction cover feat. Vince of Titans in Time)
- Talking to Shadows
- By Design
- Trapped in the Middle
- Captain Leeroy vs Dr. Nightmare