As noted, when MyGlobalMind reviewed Starset’s début album, occasionally something new, original and yet familiar comes across the desk for consideration. Columbus based Starset delivered a thought provoking début and along with their smartly engineered back story and social media support, they now bring their energised, highly visual Sci-Fi (or is it Fact?) show to the UK for the first time, as support to In This Moment.
A mere £12 ($18) per ticket means that the KOKO is rammed to the gills tonight and the mix of people suggest that the bill will cater for everyone’s tastes.
To provide some of the back story to Starset and explain why the band (excepting lead singer Dustin Bates) sport space suits and glowing, visor lit helmets in the style of Alien and Prometheus, the following “Message” is taken from their website:
“In the early hours of New Years Day 2013, a radio astronomer at the Allen Telescope Array in northern California discovered a mysterious signal emanating from a star within the Ophiuchus Constellation.
Contained within the signal was a Message–of human origin–foretelling the details of man’s imminent demise. The Message was brought to The Starset Society, who quickly realized the importance of its immediate publication.
Risking extreme danger, The Starset Society commissioned a group of musicians and scientists to assist them in spreading the knowledge to a broader audience. This group became known simply as STARSET.
Please hold. STARSET will begin the TRANSMISSION of the Message to the public shortly.
ignorance : slavery :: knowledge : power
Having utilised (in my opinion only and not one Dustin can comment on for fear of destroying the myth and intrigue around the band at the moment) social media and the internet in the same effective way that ‘The Blair Witch Project’ did so many years ago, there is a buzz about the band already. With a world record set on one of the US billboard rock charts that saw ‘My Demons’ take around 50 weeks to climb up from the lower reaches to a final placing of 3, the longest / slowest continual climb for a track ever it shows that the word is slowly spreading.
As the lights dim on the stage, the large LED back drops and huge glass screen ‘control panel’ give a real sense of spectacle and further enhance the science fiction, deck of a spaceship look. The lighting for the support band (especially the one opening a three band bill, as Starset are tonight) often means they only benefit from the glare of red or blue lighting and little else. Whilst they do not have the full lighting rig shining on them, it is in fact to their benefit as they bring to the stage their own lighting with the panels, backdrop and of course helmets and as such any excess lighting would see all of their efforts wasted / washed out.
As the lights dim the opening bars of ‘First Light’ the lead track from the album are played. An instrumental track that contains samples of world renowned scientists, and a driving groove reminiscent of the impending doom elements of ‘Eve of the War’ from Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds. It all feels suitably intriguing and very professional for a band opening the show.
As ‘First Light’ finishes it heralds the arrival of Dustin Bates (minus uniform and helmet) on stage and we move into ‘Rise and Fall’ and ‘Down With The Fallen’. Dustin’s voice has a fantastic range reminiscent of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, offering both smooth powerful vocals whilst being able to offer growls and roars when ‘The Message’ needs to be pushed home to the curious and attentive crowd.
Given the crowd are mostly in place for In This Moment, there is a notable lack of familiarity with the Starset material initially but wisely the band stick to the energised song content and avoid the cinematic elements, which, whilst perfect on the album to help tell the story, would prevent them grabbing the audiences’ attention.
Future single ‘Halo’, one of the stand out tracks on the album is aired and shows just how much of a force to be reckoned with the band could become in the next year or two. Brock Richards and Ron DeChant make the most of the visual aspect of their outfits and stalk and prowl the stage leaning into the crowd, blue LED lit helmets illuminating the front row. Adam Gilbert on drums, pounds away, with a lit drum kit and LED back drop to complete the image.
‘Carnivore’, the second single from the album goes down very well with the crowd who warm very quickly to the band. Bemusement, based on lack of knowledge and the ‘unique’ look of the band quickly makes way for smiles and nodding of heads as more and more people are hooked into a tight consummate performance.
The softer numbers (vocally) like ‘Telescope’ allow the band to show off their technical musical skills and they finish not surprisingly with the single that did them so many favours in the US with its slow rise to the top of the charts, ‘My Demons’. It’s a great song, instantly memorable and one that should hopefully see them get the same traction outside of the US.
If you don’t know them, check out the singles on YouTube or grab a copy of ‘Transmissions’. Expect to hear more from Starset before to long. The next ‘Message‘ is due for transmission [sic] later this year, continuing the explanation as to why the Earth is heading towards destruction unless we act now. Not just an eco-friendly statement but a supposed message from 35 years in the future… follow the story and believe !
Rise and Fall
Down with the Fallen
The Future is Now
Dustin Bates (Vocals)
Ron DeChant (Bass)
Brock Richards (Guitars)
Adam Gilbert (Drums)