Starset @ The Leinies Lodge, Chippewa Falls, WI 10/26/2018
Through some contacts of mine, I was given a chance at a very cool opportunity. A 94.1 WJJO sound lounge with Starset playing acoustically. I was the only photographer given this access. The Leinie’s Lodge is the gift shop and tour sign up location for Leinenkugel’s Brewery. It is literally a huge room with the interior decked out as a log cabin. Set up in front of the monstrous stone fireplace were the 7 members of Starset. Starset themselves were in black pants and white matching coats. No drum kit, no digital backing tracks and most no noticeably suits. Their orchestral section filled in for their lack of digital tracks. It was pretty amazing. In front of the band were 2 long tables and the 94.1 WJJO morning show doing their show live. If you haven’t listened to them before I highly suggest you stream them. Some of the funniest stuff around.
The nicest things about the entire gig was the availability of the band members themselves to the crowd. The crowd members had open bar taps, so the beers were flowing. This also meant the band was drinking with the audience and chatting. I had the chance to speak briefly with band members and even had 3 of my images from their set at Sonic Boom 2017 signed. Naturally, I tried to not show how much I was geeking inside. I like Starset a lot. Their visual creativity and nerdiness blows my mind. I had the pleasure to speak with vocalist Dustin Bates about his experience teaching at the International Space University and how Starset got going. You have to love a band that is so personable.
In between songs the band were interviewed by the morning show. Some awkwardness in places, but overall very enjoyable and extremely funny. Everyone was asked the question what was their favorite albums growing up. Guitarist Brock Richards said, “36 Crazyfists’ A Snowcapped Romance”. I was floored. That album kicks ass and I would have never expected that response. Songs that stood out to me were “My Demons”, “Frequency”, “Ricochet” and “Carnivore”. A Starset super fan was given the opportunity to sing “Ricochet” with the band. He interchanged verses and choruses with the Starset frontman. He did a great job. Clearly, nervous and shaking, but ultimately owned it. Stuff like that makes events like this fun to attend. To see a group of artists stripped down from what their original art is supposed to be just goes to show how talented a band like this really is when you have to make rearrangements. The Orchestral section is out of this World good. Pun intended. Despite being stripped down playing 10 songs in new arrangements might be the most extraordinary part of it all. Dustin Bates still screamed through all of the normal parts as well. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I am really looking forward to them finishing their new album next year. Hopefully, I will get the chance to snap them in a club setting someday. Fingers crossed.
1. My Demons
6. Space Oddity(Bowie cover)
9. Into The Unknown
10. Die For You