The First Gig
Flying Saucer Jan 26th
Montgomery, February 26th
The First Gig: January 15, 2000 Windows on the Cumberland
Windows on the Cumberland
by Mitch Smilie
I don't mean to be overdramatic,but I love a good performance by a solid rock 'n' roll band and that's exactly what I was treated to this past Friday.So please excuse me if I make more out of this than a hundred other people would.I had the feeling that I was witness to something incredible this past weekend as the first chord was strummed to begin the performance by 'Superhype'.
Power,grace and energy are the three words that can best be used to describe Superhype's performance this past weekend. All three of the band members (Adam McIntyre,Alex Stevens and Eric Stroud) had been battling cold and flu type symptoms in the days leading up to the show and Adam was anything but 100% as he took the stage.I hope a doctor was present so he could see that people don't need to pay an outrageous fee for a flu shot. Nope, all they need to do is strap on a guitar or climb behind a drum kit and the flu will-momentarily at least-become a thing of the past.
There was no evidence to suggest this band I was watching could have ever been ill as they knocked out 11 songs in the span of an hour and left an indelible mark upon those who bore witness to "Something New" and "Magnificent".
The first song to be displayed was the funky rocker "Come Inside" that was a perfect fit as an opener and probably made the bartender breathe a little easy as people poured from the bar to get a better look.
After "Come Inside" segued into a jam known as "Birmingham Jam" (Birmingham Song, for all you Drivin' South alumni), the guys next unleashed "Something New" upon the audience-who had now looked to find themselves a spot in the few tables and chairs not occupied.
"Something New" swirled around the room coaxing the people into its hypnotic grip and then slapping them awake with a snarling guitar solo courtesy of Adam McIntyre, who by this time could have given a shit about the illness that had been plaguing him for the last few days.
Alex Stevens' bass encapsulated the room and kept everything flowing as Eric Stroud mutilated the house drum kit he was playing with concise and thundering drumbeats that made sure no foot would stay still. In this reviewers opinion, Eric may not be asked to play the house set from now on :)
The band then unleashed one of their newer songs 'Too Far Gone'.This was the first time I had heard this song,and I was happily treated to a raucous pop song that shows the steps forward the band continues to make with its music.
The Kinks are a heavy influence and the guys next launched into 'Picture Book' from The Kinks '67 album 'Village Green Preservation Society', showing their wide range of interests when it comes to music.
The Brit-pop tone continued as The Who's classic 'I Can't Explain' was next given a treatment by the guys.This was one of the best performances of the night,in my opinion.
'High' was the next McIntyre song to be debuted and it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I had heard a demo of the song, but was not clear as to the status of the song until Friday night. It was actually quite humorous-at least I found it to be-as the song was being played my wandering eyes fell upon a girl who was obviously 'High' herself. The irony being that the chorus goes 'You don't mind 'cause you're high all the time and you like it' which I thought worked out great. That's just me though.
The next song really went over well as it was the well known Kinks (not Van Halen) song 'You Really Got Me'.A spirited performance that was performed professionally and with great love for the song itself.
The band then launched into 'Magnificent', a straight ahead pop song that is possibly my favorite Superhype song at the moment. Snatches of The Byrds and early Who can be heard but they are coalesced into an original and enticing song that I dare anyone to say isn't catchy.
The engaging ballad 'Take Me Back' followed.I will honestly say this wasn't the best performance of the night, but the song itself is heartbreaking and once again shows the bands diversity.
'Home' was the song to end the set and a great choice as it takes everything from the previous songs and merges them into a coherent and tightly woven work of art.
The band was not going to leave that easy and I smiled as the crowd implored them for an encore. They responded with a look over their shoulder at the past with the Curtis Knight composition, 'Drivin' South'. Though it may have been a staple song from their past, one eye was definitely on the future as Superhype's rendition quite easily outdid any version they had done before.
The crowd wanted more but by this point the annoying sounds of the SAME Santana song filled the room and the performance came to an end as people flocked to the stage to introduce themselves and congratulate the band on a truly mesmerizing performance.
Anyone who actually read this whole review, do your ears a favor and catch Superhype's next performance, acquire their new cd and don't ever listen when someone says Rock 'n' Roll is dead. Superhype makes liars of them all.
I've known Adam McIntyre for about three years now. We went to college together and got to know each other in guitar seminar classes at Belmont University. When we first met, I was impressed with his talent both as a guitarist and as a songwriter. He has this thing about him where he can explode all over the place while he plays lead parts.... Now fast forward four years to January 26th, 2000.
Adam and his bandmates, Eric Stroud (drums) and Alex Stevens (bass) played the Flying Saucer here in Nashville the other night and just about blew the lid off the place with a unique mix of blues-based melodic rock. I had never heard them play before and was totally impressed at how much sound these three men were putting out from the stage.
In addition to a massive rock sound, they were TIGHT. How many bands do you know that aren't tight at all in a live setting? I know tons of them. One of them is NOT Superhype. Vocally, rhythmically and musically they are TIGHT. Which made for a very very cool experience the other night.
Highlights from the set were "Something New", "High", and "Take Me Back". I also dug their cover of the Kinks classic "Picture Book".
Anyone who is reading this and hasn't seen these guys live- SHAME ON YOU! Go see them! You will not regret it. I had a feeling during the concert that there was something special happening right in front of me. They are certainly a band that deserves your attention, so go check them out.
Montgomery,Alabama. It's been lovingly labeled everything from 'pisshole' to
'monkeytown'. Saturday night,however,something new hit Montgomery.It was
literally,as the song goes, "Something new with the old".
Adam McIntyre and Eric Stroud,former residents of this cherished town and
now good Nashville citizens,returned "Home" this past weekend.With their
departure, "everything has changed".It's quite possible 'Superhype' may have
altered the music scene in Montgomery.
The music scene in Montgomery is anything but grand. Montgomery, being a small city, has a small music scene. The nightspots for aspiring musicians are few. 1048 is one of the few spots that bring live music to the public. However,most of the bands that frequent the Montgomery music scene are covers bands. It's quite possible that the people who filed into 1048 this past Saturday night were expecting more of the same: an energetic, talented band playing their favorite tunes by their favorite musicians; not an energetic, talented band with a large portion of their set being dedicated to original compositions - and very good original compositions at that. The positive response that 'Superhype' received had to send a clear message to other musicians in attendance: originality is a very very good thing.
The band was greeted by a full house as they took the stage around 10 P.M. This night would be the culmination of several months of promotion that encompassed everything from radio play to newspaper write-ups. The guys kicked off the set with their signature opener : Come Inside. The gritty rocker was perfect for loosening up the crowd, not to mention the guys themselves. The rule of the night was going to be about having fun and it was obvious from start to finish that the guys were out to have a very good time and it shined through their music and their onstage demeanor. Smiles were prevalent and this in turn seemed to stretch out and relax the audience.The music did not suffer from this abundant good vibe surrounding the stage; it cultivated the music and turned it into competent, polished and melodic notes of near perfection.It's nice to see and hear something positive in music today;so much of it is centered around negativity.
Polished best sums up Superhype's performance this past Saturday night. McIntyre's guitar playing was supple and tasteful while his vocals were very strong. The rhythm section was, as always, spectacular.Eric Stroud's drumming is filled with an overall love for music and it comes through in his playing. His drum kit is like an extension of his self. He truly is the backbone of this band and makes the other guys that much better and vice versa.They all tap into the other and push the other on;the inner workings of a truly great band.I knew Alex Stevens was the perfect fit for this group when I heard that rumbling bass line to the Something New track which opens their self-titled CD. He continued to impress me Saturday night as he delivered one of the best performances by a bass player that I've seen in a long time. Melodic bass lines that rose,fell and circled the room.It was truly an eye opening performance by Mr.Stevens to say the least.
Come Inside effectively told the crowd that they were about to receive something they hadn't expected-like it or not. From there the band went into Something New,beginning with the intro and then exploding into the song.The 1048 gig wasn't the only part of the group's trip to Montgomery.The band visited Millstone,where Adam and Eric had shared many great musical moments,and recorded 6 full band demos of new songs and some Kinks covers.All of these songs were performed Saturday night.The first of these to be performed was Too Far Gone.If you're addicted to those catchy,raucous 2-3 minute pop songs,then let me point you in the direction of this song.It's easily one of Mcintyre's top compositions,in my opinion.
'Superhype's' rendition of the Kinks' Picture Book followed.The guys are great admirers of the Kinks catalog and they really put heart and soul into this jumpy little number,dealing with growing old and the rapid loss of time (my interpretation at least).The harmonies that have become a part of the 'Superhype' sound (couldn't have said that a couple of years ago) really add a depth to the songs where they are employed. Alex Stevens has played a big part in developing these harmonies.
Pete Townsend would have been very proud of the loving treatment given his tale of teen confusion:Can't Explain.This is another long time favorite of the band's and,to one who isn't familiar with this classic rock 'n' roll song,one would think it was a 'Superhype' song,given the way the band has made it their own.
That was followed by High,a little slice of social commentary,that asks you to insert your own rock star as the songs main character.For a little spice,McIntyre inserted the solo from the Jimi Hendrix tune Crosstown Traffic.
The Kinks' You Really Got Me absolutely rocked.Another fine rendition of a rock n' roll classic.Without a doubt,the ultimate crowd pleaser in their current set.
The shimmering power pop of Magnificent was next on the slate.This is just a great song and that's enough said.
As I wrote earlier,the band recorded several new songs while they were in town. Love Me Permanently is a recent McIntyre composition that was unveiled Saturday night.The title describes the song perfectly;it's a love song and McIntyre continues to grow in his mastery of melody.The song was dedicated to his girlfriend Ellen and we can only hope she inspires him to write more pop/rock gems of this caliber.
Take Me Back-the exquisite ballad from their CD followed. While the live version of this song doesn't grab me as much as the recorded one, it is still a fantastic, mature piece of songwriting that would make any songwriter proud.
You get the sense that Home-the next song to be performed-might just be McIntyre's personal favorite when you speak to him about it.It is certainly the song that defines the sound of 'Superhype' ; the one that most resembles that 'Beatles meets Zeppelin' sound.With McIntyre writing songs of this caliber, Superhype's journey to the top is not far away.
The crowd genuinely appreciated what 'Superhype' had given them by requesting not one,but two encores.The first encore was the song that will always be close to the band:Curtis Knight's Drivin' South.It was,needless to say,another fiery version of that classic. The furious drumming that begins the song-courtesy of Mr. Eric Stroud- always makes me sit on the edge of my seat with excitement.
The second encore was especially exciting for yours truly.The Howling Wolf classic,Killing Floor,done in the key of Hendrix was an appropriate way to end an exciting show.McIntyre's soloing during this song has always been dynamic.
It was another superb performance that satiated the established fans,pleasantly surprised old fans and gained the band some new fans.Let me stress tp those of you who read this to do your ears a favor and catch Superhype.They won't be a secret much longer.