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Concert Review


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Aaron Lewis of Staind

.... Staind - "Rocks the Bay"
...........................................................................................................................3/3/00 Oakland

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......Metal band Staind sits on the opposite pole compared to 311. Rising out of the Boston hardcore scene, Staind have had the good fortune of working with two of rock's current tastemaker--Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, who discovered them, and metal-producer-du-jour Ross Robinson, who helmed their debut album, Dysfunction released on Flip/Elektra, hit record store shelves in April 1999. And while Dysfunction didn't meet with instant success, their single release "Mudshovel" gets tons of air play. Staind has been slowly winning over fans by jumping onto numerous high-profile tours, having supported the like of Kid Rock, Sevendust and now Korn.
........ Staind exploded onto stage at the Oakland Arena , with the backdrop dressed like an abandoned European train station, with wrought-iron balconies, steel girders, flames and flashing lights with searchlights scanning the moshing crowd. Singer Aaron Lewis stood on a round stage with bellowing steam rising around him pacing with frustration. Lead singer Aaron Lewis has a defined purpose, to make you feel his emotions of his music. He goes through the moves of someone in pain. Lewis demonstrated a graciousness and soft-spokenness striking in a hardcore performer. His delivery was personal and intimate - until it came time to shift into the "Portal to the Pit of Hell" mode more typical of the genre. Lewis alternately crooned and shrieked his way through "Crawl," "Spleen," and "Raw," while guitarist Mike Mushok somehow managed to hold onto his instrument, and even to play it, despite apparently suffering a continuous Mike Mushok grand mal seizure. Mushok's enthusiasm spread to several would-be crowd surfers, who attempted to catch a human wave. The song "Mudshovel " sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy. In every attempt Lewis voice sounds powerful, wither if he's singing slowly, soothing, to an upbeat tempo, or lacing out enraged screams. The background vocals, done by all three remaining band members, Mike Mushok (Guitar), Johnny April (Bass) and Jon Wysocki (Drums), fit Aaron's style of singing perfectly. On top of that Mike, Johnny and Jon have created some great riff combinations , everything from soft to hard, to up tempo to down tempo which is what makes Staind get your attention.
...........Staind's melodic approach has helped them forge a unique identity among metal's new generation. Coming from the same place of the soul as Alice In Chains' Layne Stayley, Staind singer Aaron Lewis purges his demons with explosive, emotional charged vocals that nearly match their undertow of dark musical angst. While broader success has eluded the band, it's probably just a matter of time before metal-heads discover Staind's straight-forward sound. For now, the group should stay on course and enlarge their core audience

By Randy Cohen

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