Andy Black – The Faim – Kulick: Live at The Gramercy Theatre

Youth will be served. If anything in recent music history has taught us anything, the young and hungry artists of today have a lot to prove, want to earn every new fan they can, and leave everything on the stage night after night. When entertainment is everywhere, you have to go the extra mile in all your efforts just to make an impact. That was the feeling I had entering the building being largely unfamiliar with the openers and well acquainted with headliner Andy Black, from his solo career, and his main band, Black Veil Brides.

Kulick was up first. Young band, and rare that I had never heard of them. Nom not one person in the band has the namesake or is a former guitarist for KISS. Bad dad jokes bearing my old age aside, this band impressed the hell out of me with their catchy songs, and passionate performance. At the start of their set they asked the crowd out there who was familiar with the band, and few hands went up. By the end of the show, they had the entire room in the palm of their hand. Musically they reminded me of a mix of Dashboard confessional and PVRIS, or the perfect mix of pop, emo, folk, punk and dance music. It was a masterful, heartwarming performance, and one I haven’t seen the likes of from an opener that was unknown to me in ages. We’ll be on the lookout for Kulick in the future.

The Faim I knew in passing, a little bit of their music and their rep as a top-notch live group. The band just exploded on the stage after coming on to really no fanfare. Frontman Josh Raven cut a striking figure as he dashes around, dances everywhere, waved around a pride flag, shook his ass, wiggled his entire lanky form all over the place like a rock n roll tornado! The band was tight and played their hearts out for what felt like a headline performance, especially drummer Linden Marissen. The band was great, performing what seemed like an endless stream of songs that could make it on the radio. Josh ran off stage and into the crowd and worked the entire venue for the whole set. It was amazing. More so, he hung out with fans and took selfies the rest of the night without end. If these Aussie imports aren’t huge in another year, I’ll be shocked.

 

Andy Black came up next to close the night. Armed with a bevy of songs from his brand new solo album The Ghost of Ohio (also check out the companion comic book which rules) and music from his previous album, Andy greeted the crowd with the confidence of a veteran performer. Despite the screams of the fans in the building growing to a deafening level, he was humble, gracious and even deflected some compliments, and returned some “I love you’s” to fans. You really felt the connection he has to his fans and how touched he was by the outpouring of emotions.

As far as the performance, backed with just a two-piece band covering drums, keyboards, bass, and guitars, the band seemed to fill up our ears and eyes with goth goodness. Andy roamed the stage constantly, with his young Bowie looks and striking style. His melodic singing voice, a welcome change from his other material, and he let out a few crusty screams as well that punctuated some tracks. Other than a large banner with his logo and the outline of his home state, there were images and videos projected behind him that made for a unique experience unlike any show in recent memory.

The highlight of the show for me musically and visually was the BVB cover ‘Savior’ with a video projection of Andy as a teen in his bedroom performing behind him. The is a poignant moment, not just musically about where he has been, but where is he is headed as an artist. Andy also made a point to discuss his social anxiety issues and how music has saved his life, something we can all relate to. It was a pretty amazing show, one I didn’t expect to be so strong from start to finish. If you get a chance to go see this tour when it comes to your town, go, bring a friend, and get there early.

WORDS BY KEITH CHACHKES

PHOTOS BY ROSA MILLER