Concert Review: ShortWave RadioBand / Under the Den / Seize Atlantis / Gozer @ Putnam Place, 1/7/2023
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Walking into Putnam Place on Jan. 7, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Four bands. One stage. One night of live local music. I’d listened to all the bands and still was wondering what a live experience with them would be like. This wasn’t a stadium jam-packed with 50,000 fans waiting for one band to walk out and perform the art of lip-syncing. This local venue hosted about 150 people prepared to make their first grand memory of the new year. Once I settled in, it was only minutes until that first guitar strike prepared us for the energetic night to come.
Gozer took the stage and set the tone for the night. Opening with “The Fury,” the drummer relentlessly attacked the drums while the guitarist shredded to open. The volume was unexpected to me, and I quickly realized the night I would be in for. This darker, high-energy song was aided by the lead singer, Mykah Dillenger, head banging. His powerful voice mixed with the intense drums, guitar, and bass made many members of the audience make their way to the dance floor. Each song they performed was like this, as Gozer loved to use loud, intense instrumentals to get the crowd into the performance. There was no sitting back during this performance. They opened the show and nearly tore the roof off with their energy. Their darkest songs, “Zeke” and “The Beast That Lies,” could start a riot. Behind the stage, a large screen displayed the band’s logo of a skull with the left side broken into pieces, which fit the mood of the songs. Their more lyrically evolved song, “My Design,” shows their ability to change from dark to regular rock. I highly encourage you to search Gozer on Spotify, apple music, or whatever music service you use.
Keeping the energy alive, Seize Atlantis conquered their first performance of the year. Energetic from the downbeat, lead vocalist James Mullen covered every square inch of the stage. Not just a carefree and wild dancer, James dominated with his vocals. His wide range makes me jealous, and his vocal control seamlessly switching genres from pop to heavy rock is inspiring. This man was born to rock, and it was a privilege to witness him perform live. The drummer, Cody Platt, convinced me he put a hole in the drum set. Luc Bourgault on guitar, and Mike Dardas laying down the low end, joined in on James’ infectious and animated stage antics. Their first original song, “Paradise Lost,” put this on full display. Seize Atlantis is a must-watch live band as recorded music doesn’t do them justice. “Atlas Shrugged” changes up the style with an oldie’s throwback sound, and the band’s most energetic song “The Unstoppable Groove,” delivers on its name. I witnessed total strangers dancing with one another, forgetting all their troubles and giving in to this total vibe of a song.
Up next, a name familiar to many in the Nippertown-area scene was Under The Den. The crowd immediately launched to their feet and remained there for the entire 40-minute set. Led by lead vocalist Madison Lewis, this band has become popular in the 518 and is here to stay. Opening with “Hold On,” their latest released song, the slow, quiet opening leads the audience into a false sense of calmness. 45 seconds later, Madison finishes the build-up with her unbelievable voice. Madison has remarkable control and power. Only seeing Under The Den live will allow you to understand the phenomenon of her singing. She is incredibly talented and when she released her full power, the room lit up as everyone’s eyes widened. However, this is not a one-woman show. Ultra-talented guitarist Benjamin “Ideas” Zoleski shreds on the guitar and has underrated vocals as the group’s backup singer. Twins John and James Nowak equally destroy on drums and bass respectively. All four members are talented and have a unique connection that makes them fun to watch. Often, the most entertaining aspect of their performance was how they interacted with each other, as during instrumental breaks Madison would air guitar with Benjiman, headbang with John, and vibe with James as they played their hearts out. The song that displays this total package is “Let’s Go To Paris.” The intro hooks the audience with a catchy guitar drift, and the opening vocals lure you into peace until the buildup, which had the majority of the audience out of their seats and on the dance floor. During the middle of the song, Madison went to each member of the band and displayed the band’s chemistry as they totally owned the stage. Benjamin displayed his underrated vocals in the final chorus.
Finally, ShortWave RadioBand took the stage. Their performance differed from the others, as ShortWave RadioBand focuses on crowd fun over song perfection. Lead vocalist Andy Scullin confirmed this by wearing an orange fedora on stage and constantly engaging with the audience. Fellow member Abby Stone, the trumpeter, joined the fun by jumping down into the crowd twice and dancing with the audience. The group’s latest song, “So Long The Hopeful,” kicked their set off and had the entire crowd on its feet and dancing. ShortWave RadioBand infected the crowd all night with their energy. Their song, “I Don’t Care,” had the audience pack the dance floor right under the band. Lonny Eaton and Ryan Shaw made it look easy on the guitar. All the band members were enjoying themselves and put the crowd in such a good mood that the crowd demanded an encore. ShortWave obliged and played an encore for the hyper crowd. The most fun performance of the night ended a one-of-a-kind night with a bang.