Walking through the front door and heading down the stairs of Donatos Basement, I was greeted by the sight of four different bands jostling to get their equipment into the venue and tucked away before the 8 p.m. start time.
After searching out and finding the promoter, we exchanged information while the opening band was loading-in and setting up their equipment. Fortune was smiling upon me, as the opening band was the reason I found myself in the bowels of a pizza shop on North High Street on a Saturday evening.
Antiøch is an up-and-coming group within the local scene, looking to gain more fans with each gig they play. Comprised of brothers Nathan Little (vocals/guitar) and Weston Little (drums), John Raquet (guitar), Anthony Delgado (bass) and Michael Corbett (keyboards), Nathan and Weston are the principal songwriters for the band.
Being the first of the four bands on the bill to play, I didn’t have long to wait for the music to begin flowing from the speakers. I have previously referenced their sound as “rock-infused Heartland Americana,” and it was even more apparent in the live setting.
Ed. – we profiled the band in a February 2017 “New Music Monday” feature you can read HERE
They opened with an abbreviated rendition of Out of Your Hands, from their debut EP. The lyrics were given extra poignancy with the raw emotion Nathan displayed, with Corbett adding perfectly timed flourishes to the tune with his keyboard.
A wonderful realization washed over me as I watched the band work through the first song of their set. I had not noticed before that Nathan plays his guitar in a finger-picking style, sans pick. It cemented his sound as his very own, not duplicated by any other rock bands locally. At least, none that I know of.
The midtempo Sara was next, driven by Delgado’s bass groove. Being able to distinctly hear the bass, both guitars and the keyboards over the drums in such a small venue made the evening enjoyable. The only negative was that Nathan’s vocals were buried in the live mix.
Slowing the pace, the mellowness of Who’ll Stop Us Now ebbed and flowed through the sparse crowd of mainly members of the other bands. But, appreciate it they did, showing their approval with a hearty round of applause at the song’s conclusion.
Launching into the guitar-driven Feeling Better Now, Nathan worked his wah-wah pedal as his fingers coaxed a sweet sound from his axe. Raquet was complimentary with his understated guitar playing, meshing flawlessly with Nathan.
The funky groove of I Don’t Believe It had Delgado securely in the bass pocket, adding texture to the southern rock undertones of the number. The live setting lent an immediacy to the band’s sound that was not captured on the EP.
Keeping with the southern rock flavor, the fast-paced The Lonely burst forth from the sound system within the venue. Corbett, once again, added some beautiful keyboard flourishes in just the right moments.
For the final song, they capped-off their set with the slower Don’t Look Now. Nathan’s emotions were at the forefront of the tune, with Corbett channeling his inner Bruce Hornsby on his keyboards.
And with that, their short set was over and it was time to pack up their equipment.
What stood out Saturday evening was the band having a “looser” vibe in the live setting, while still retaining a “tight” quality to their playing. In other words, they made it look easy.
Although I can’t quite put my finger on it, Antiøch has that special “something” that should appeal to a wide variety of musical tastes. I anticipate this band will soon be on an upward trajectory, with the sky being the limit.
- Out of Your Hands
- Who’ll Stop Us Now
- Feeling Better Now
- I Don’t Believe It
- The Lonely
- Don’t Look Now
Antiøch – Out of Your Hands