As I bounded to the doors of the fine line I was ecstatic to find I was just in time to catch the last of 7th Ascent before Echo Effect shook the stage. After hurriedly checking my I.D. I paid the $8 door and found myself at the front row seconds later as 7th Ascent was gracefully closing out with their final couple songs. The audience was present but spacious and as with most shows, the Fine Line’s stage was unchanged. I saw the light man, Roger, was rockin’ the controls with a smile, and Andrew the pony-tailed sound engineer was attentive. It was nice to be back at this venue. With rock shows, it’s always raucous with the most pleasant essence of class, and knowing from experience, they treat the musicians right so what’s not to like?
Although knowing the name, I’d never heard 7th Ascent, I was able to catch the very last of their set. The lead singer rocked a wicked corset and flaming hair, but the rest of the group was unmemorable. Despite compelling riffs and impressive lyrical ability, the group’s stage presence lacked luster, and (as one of my pet-peeves) their transitions were nothing more than blatant stops and crowd addresses. The group finished without a big bang, and exited the stage. Impressive musically, but not a show I’d seek (might as well listen to the record).
It was time for Echo Effect to claim their stage for the first time! I anticipated the group as the drums took stage followed by a gigantic banner and other stage gear bearing their defining logo. Lead singer, Wally Joseph, came to stage in a black sweatshirt to set up mics and spare batteries while the group ran a quick line-check. While checking the main microphone, I was floored when Wally instructed Andrew, “Yeah put me up around 3000’s with a little off the high end”. Some more incomprehensible tech jibber jabbers and my jaw was dropped. He unearthed his stylish button up beneath the grungy sweatshirt, and the band was set to go. With their members geared up in button ups, sleek tee’s, and cool hats, as well as impressive rigs (although I’ll admit to not knowing much about guitar/bass rigs) The first song echoed (Ha... Echoed) Through Fine Line’s two levels.
Although it seemed the bass could be knocking bassist, Eric Huard’s, knees, drummer Erik Williams held an almost scary (whites under the iris style) gaze towards infinite, and the Wally rocked a to and fro walk pattern between front-stage and the drum-riser, the band killed the show better than many; especially since this was their debut performance. The sound quality on Andrew’s end was phenomenal, and the group provided an astounding balance of tonality and skill. A mid-show acoustic solo gave the now-coagulated crowd an excellent breather, and a final run of their most well-known tunes “Seven” and “Vanity” got all the musicians’ heads bobbing. Before playing “Vanity”, Wally addressed the crowd with a heartwarming story of his daughter, and all those who knew him in the crowd (which is probably most) had their heart strings pulled. Earlier in the show he also addressed the crowd saying playfully, “I’m looking out in the crowd tonight, and I’m seeing like 75% musicians... (crowd cheers)... And they all brought their goddamn girlfriends.
With rockstar swagger, incredibly talented guitarists, and an unwavering rhythm section, Echo Effect let their experience and love of music shine at the Fine Line. Despite not even headlining this debut event, the group was the highlight of the evening out of the four acts. Tepetricy followed the group with a dragging 20 minute changeover with 20 more minutes of technical difficulty before their first note was played. Although I couldn’t stay for their set, I was unimpressed by their inability to play despite the drum trigger difficulties. Echo Effect was impressive, and only has room to grow. Although I always have preference for groups with more textures with pads and keys, this group’s music is big and small enough to be enjoyed fully both live and in headphones. Their transitions were stop and go like many bands, but with more chemistry built playing live, they’ll develop more an experience than just a show. I look forward to following more of Echo Effect and sharing their music
You can download their debut EP here.