The final band to play at the Vanguard on August 31st was All For More.
Playing last probably should’ve deterred this band somehow, especially seeing as they were not the headliner. Three great bands had already come and gone, setting the tone for the night. Several members in the audience had already left.
Yet, All For More came in with confidence and ease.
Soundcheck was done in front of everyone after the headliner, Adventurer, ended their set. It was late, and everyone was pretty much ready to hear the last group and go home. While the masses were still buzzing from the Detroit combo, the vibrancy was waning.
To liven the crowd a bit more, the vocalist sang a few bars of “Waiting on the World to Change” instead of simply checking the mic, successfully bringing back some of the energy Adventurer left us with – and adding some laughter, at least as far as I was concerned.
They started off with one of their recorded songs, “I’m All Ears.” Their friends and family (obvious by their band shirts and supportive shouts) went nuts, jumping up and down, cheering loudly. The song sounded almost identical to the recorded version, an impressive feat considering their drummer and bassist were both fill ins.
Speaking of the drummer; within the first couple of minutes of playing, his snare stand broke. The drummer from Adventurer saved the day by bringing out his, but the drums continued to have technical difficulties throughout the performance. The mat refused to do its job properly in keeping everything in place, an issue that irked both the drummer and the guitarist, who kept jumping in to fix things as they messed up. The bass drum especially kept sliding around, knocking away the mic set up in front of it.
Other than that, everything went smoothly. Each song sounded a little different, but the placement allowed them to effortlessly ease into the next one on the list every time. The sound was cohesive, each instrument meshing well with the others.
What was most notable to me was how refined they sounded. The bands before – great as they were – just did not have the polished feel that All For More had. Perhaps it was the extra practice, readying their substitutes, or perhaps it was a difference in how each band prioritizes.
Regardless, there was a more experienced air to this performance. As each melody began, it blended with the ending of the former – there were no major tempo changes. It didn’t sound like different musical puzzle pieces had been arranged incorrectly as I have heard from other local performances.
As far as the actual concert experience went, it was invigorating. Several headbangers were played – you couldn’t just stand there and listen without at least tapping your foot.
The vocalist jumped wildly while singing, the guitarist did spins, the drummer made exaggerated motions. The bassist seemed a little more contained, focused, but even he moved with the rhythm.
It was impossible to stay still.
The final song was definitely the best, though. Everyone was warmed up, ready to rock – and rock they did. So motivated was the singer that he collapsed to the floor in an over dramatic display at the end of the song.
What a night it was.
Check out All For More in concert September 13 at the Chimera Cafe at 7 pm and at the Red Brick Barn in Norman on September 15.
Songs are available on all music streaming/downloading sites. Their album, Release, comes out September 28.
Also, make sure to check out their interview.