Chevelle At Club Nokia
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By Crystal Larsen
If you're anything like me, nothing gives you more of a rush than the sound of an eager crowd roaring in anticipation of what's to come as a venue's house lights dim and the band everyone's been waiting for prepares to take the stage. I felt that anticipation stronger than ever on Wednesday night at Club Nokia in Los Angeles as a band featuring two brothers from Chicago, known as Chevelle, took the stage for a very loud night of heavy rock.
As Chevelle prepared to take the stage, there was no doubt they were the band the audience was here to see. I overheard one fan say she drove 60 miles to see them because they are just that good.
As the club went dark the crowd began loudly clapping, as if to compel Chevelle onstage. As brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler and Dean Bernardini took the stage and launched into "The Clincher," any sound made by the audience was quickly drowned out. With only one guitar (Pete), a bass (Bernardini) and drums (Sam), the trio's sound filled the venue.
The stage lights flickered from blue to bright red, accentuating the variety of emotions carried through each song, from anger and frustration to pain and loneliness. I couldn't help but gaze over the audience, which by now stretched to every inch of the venue. There was a sense of loyalty and camaraderie, both between Chevelle and their fans, and among the fans themselves, evidenced by the mosh pit that erupted with each song. As the crowd shouted along to songs like "Letter From A Thief" and "Sleep Apnea," never taking their eyes off the stage, there seemed to be an unspoken understanding that the fans completely understood what Pete was singing about, and Pete likewise rested in knowing they understood him.
That mutual understanding was solidified when Pete said, "[I'm] glad to have someone who can identify with my s***."
The set neared the end with "Send The Pain Below," a heavy-hitting track from the band's 2002 release Wonder What's Next. This was one of Chevelle's standout performances of the evening, as Bernardini hit harder on his bass and Pete's vocals shifted from soft-spoken to heavy-stricken, reminiscent of Tool's Maynard James Keenan.
At the close of "Send The Pain Below," Chevelle left the crowd satisfied, yet still hungry for more, and it wasn't more than a minute before they returned for an encore. The thing I love about encores is how the crowd always seems surprised when the band takes the stage again.
Closing the evening, Chevelle performed "The Red," which began with a solo electric guitar performance from Pete, followed by "Face To The Floor," from their most recent release, 2011's Hats Off To The Bull. While Chevelle has clearly perfected the art of a tight, cohesive performance, they were arguably no more in synch than on "Face To The Floor"; Pete's shouting vocals meshed perfectly with Sam's hard-hitting drum beats and Bernardini's thundering bass lines. And like clockwork, Pete knew exactly when to throw himself and his guitar toward the ground as each note got heavier and heavier.
Is it their shared blood that makes Chevelle such a perfect union, or the undeniably strong connection to their fans? I'd say it's weighted equally on both.
Opening for the band were local favorites and Chevelle tourmates Dead Sara, who kicked the energy quotient up several notches on the strength of lead singer Emily Armstrong's hard-hitting vocal performance.
Newcomers Blowing Up The Moon started the night. Their set consisted of grunge-influenced rock and was visually marked by frontman Andrew Stogel's flowing blond locks, which he threw around with ease as every strummed note came with a head bang, despite the fact that he was suffering from bronchitis.
"Letter From A Thief"
"Another Know It All"
"Hats Off To The Bull"
"Same Old Trip"
"I Get It"
"Send The Pain Below"
"Face To The Floor"
To catch Chevelle in a city near you, click here for tour dates.