Balance and Composure with the Jealous Sound - The Talent Farm, Pembroke Pines - February 15
- Jealous Sound's Blair Shehan on the Return of Melodic Punk: "People Crave Something Substantial"
A tour package that had the goods to satisfy fans of any era of emotive rock music lured fans deep into the swamps of western Pembroke Pines on Friday night. Regardless of whether they were coming of age to the current sounds of Balance and Composure, or there chasing a taste of early 2000s nostalgia via the recently rebooted Jealous Sound, they came.
The house was packed with a predominantly young mob of fans, peppered throughout with occasionally uncomfortable looking post-teens and quarter-lifers, who were most likely remembering the embarrassing behaviors they once exhibited in similar surroundings, as the teenager show shenanigans played out around them.
Taking the stage to open the show was Featherweight -- a group of young locals that owes no small debt to Jealous Sound frontman Blair Shehan and his former band Knapsack for informing their sound. The band played on the stage in lieu of a floor set -- a rarity for a show at the Talent Farm -- and it was nice to finally hear what its brand of '90s colored emotional-punk sounds like through the Talent Farm's big PA. The band's gruffly delivered and heartfelt songs were well received, and the set was no doubt a triumphant moment in the young band's career considering present company.
Following Featherweight was Daylight, a band from the Philly area that stuck close to the sonic and aesthetic themes of the night. Too melodic to be punk, too rough to be anything but, and all done with an affectation of Bleach-era Nirvana's feedback and flannel. Toward the end of the set, the band played some tracks that will appear on an impending debut full-length. The new tracks stuck out as quite a bit catchier than the rest of the material played, and we're definitely looking forward to the release.
The Jealous Sound took the stage like a breath of air from the past. For this writer, the opening chords of "Hope For Us" were an aural Delorean hitting 88 mph, and by the first chorus, we had been delivered back to the Factory in 2004 (if only Piebald was playing the show as well -- wouldn't that be something?). The band's legend had certainly not been lost on the young crowd, many of whom knew lyrics to favorites from the Jealous Sound's first period.
However, while the nostalgia was heady and an integral draw to the show, the Jealous Sound's new material was as strong in the live setting as anything they had ever done. In an obvious effort to push the focus toward the new era of the band, the set played was pulled mostly from most recent release, A Gentle Reminder. While the new songs all received an excited reaction from the crowd -- particularly the album's title track -- old favorite, "Anxious Arms," placed a period on the set in a way that made sure none of those that had come out for a reunion with the band's old material left wanting for a high energy sing-along.
Closing out the night was Balance and Composure. The group was the obvious favorite on the bill, causing a palpable buzz in the young crowd during soundcheck.
Before long, Balance and Composure's three guitarists were weaving parts together and Jonathan Simmons' hoarse vocals about negative-ending relationships and the abyssal world of teen-angst filled the room. A legion of kids were singing along, climbing atop one another, and pointing fingers accusingly at the band they so adored. Simmons made sure to show the love back, mentioning how "strong" our scene is in South Florida, and leveling with the crowd about how this area was one of the first to "like, care" about Balance and Composure, a band that has witnessed its star rise in a serious way since its first trip to town.
With the group's rise to the national spotlight, a more mature sound has developed. The songs performed on Friday channeled the frustration and negative emotion the group has built its success on into ones with more negative space, and a more dynamic, and at times noisy, sound that had all of the delay pedal filigree needed to take emotive-punk anthems to ambient post-rock screamers.
Personal Bias: Jealous Sound fan. Now a Balance and Composure fan.
Random Observation: Every band sounds better when they play the stage at TTF. Stop playing on the floor!