Who: North America 2018 – Sons of Apollo, Felix Martin, Sifting
Where: The Palladium, Worcester, Massachusetts
When: May 19, 2018
Sons of Apollo has been surrounded by a lot of media buzz, so when the second to last date on their North America tour came to the Worcester Palladium, I went to see if they lived up to the buzz.
California band Sifting opened the show. The four-member group had really impressive stage presence and energy, mostly thanks to vocalist/guitarist/frontman Eduardo Gil. He did not neglect any side of the stage, even coming onto the barricade with his guitar at one point so he could play to the audience. Drummer Joey Aguirre was a lot of fun to watch; not only was he a great drummer, but he still managed to make faces at the audience and get them involved with the set. Lead guitarist Richard Garcia made every solo look breathtakingly easy. Bassist Wins Jarquin provided excellent backing vocals and was definitely not forgotten about. The band’s sound is not one that I usually connect with, but their live show was so much fun that I would see them again.
Felix Martin was next on the stage. The Venezuelan guitarist is world-renowned for playing his custom engineered guitar – which is really two guitars in one – and creating sounds that you have never heard from an electric guitar, which was impressive. To the uninitiated, you would not have even known the instrument he was playing was a guitar; the sounds that came out of it were nothing that you would expect to hear from a guitar. Martin’s technical ability speaks for itself; his stage presence lacks a bit in comparison to the music. He seemed to be so into his instrument that he forgot that there was an audience there that was watching him perform. In the rare instances that he did acknowledge the audience – by speaking to them – you could feel a connection start to form, but once he went back to the music, he lost himself in it again. Technically and musically, seeing Felix Martin is an experience, but one that should be saved for true lovers of technical ability.
Sons of Apollo may have only formed in 2017, but its members are no strangers to the stage. The supergroup consists of drummer Mike Portnoy, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. The experience of the band members was evident from the second they took the stage. It was impressive without being overbearing. The entrance of the band members onto the stage was simple – they simply walked out with “God Of The Sun” and started performing. Simple though it may have been, it was more powerful an entrance than anything that was overly complicated would have been. Other songs in the set included “Divine Addiction,” “Lost In Oblivion,” and “And The Cradle Will Rock.”
Many supergroups are more hype than anything else, but Sons of Apollo’s live show speaks for itself. Consummate professionals, every band member made a connection with the audience and put on the show that they had paid for. Guitarist Bumblefoot and bassist Sheehan were extraordinary live. They played off of each other well, but also filled up their individual sides of the stage and made the show feel big and inviting. Although Portnoy and Sherinian were delegated to their stations at the back of the stage, they did not forget about the audience at all. The thread that connected the four was vocalist and frontman Soto. When the instrumentalists were soloing, he moved away from the front and let them take the spotlight without making it feel awkward. He made sure to get everyone in the audience, side to side and front to back, and make them feel as if they had their individual attention. Sons of Apollo put on a really memorable show and their live show is definitely recommended.
Post and photos by Karen Shalev
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