Amberstein @ The Back Bar Janesville, WI 11/03/2018
There are a few things that irritate me over the last 20 years of concert attending. Local artists whom either have no control over their vocals, play virtually the same stuff I’ve heard out of every other rock band or have a stupid gimmick. This seems to cover virtually 90% of the locals. Understanding you have to start somewhere isn’t lost upon me either. It doesn’t change the amalgamation of junk locals.
With this mindset, I ignorantly walked into The Back Bar saying to myself, “I’ll just chat it up until the headliner pops out.” That plan was interrupted by a foursome called Amberstein. Probably the most polished local band I have seen this past decade. Not a joke.
The opening riff of “The Room” absolutely reeled me in. With epic vocals blasting through the room my ears perked up very quickly. When a group of artists can master solid and almost soulful harmonies, I’ll be captivated from beginning to end. With Bassist and lead vocalist Jake Warne up front belting out choruses that are easy to pick up and sing gave room for the rest of the band namely, guitarist Brock Betz to roam freely. Betz has no problem giving us photographers great poses, but he even has no problem tapping, picking and strumming up front and on the edge of the stage. He also stands in the concert goers face letting them know what awesomeness they are experiencing. Ivan Mallory on the other guitar was no slouch either. While more contained due to his backing vocals duties, he swayed and moved while laying the foundation of the set. Finally, we get to the to what I feel is the bones of the band, drummer Andrew Farrar. In my opinion, he seems to set the pace. He has no problem laying down solid slaps while providing backing vocal as well. When a guy is on, a guy is on.
Not knowing any of their songs made me take note of the song numbers that I really liked. “The Room” “War” “Hold On” and “Toast to the Wicked” were my stand outs. I had to message them to get the actual names which was a little embarrassing. Then again when you’ve stumbled into a gold mine of sweet music is it really? I’ve had them loaded on my youtube since Saturday night. Good job fellas. You’ve got a new fan.
On a side note: They reminded me of one of the best local bands I have ever seen, Down and Above. DNA were quite popular in Minneapolis back in the early 2000s. Youtube them and you’ll be blown away as well.
1. The Room
3. Life After You
5. Stand Up
6. Rise Today (alterbridge cover)
7. Hold On
8. Toast to the wicked