Sometimes it can be hard to see a great band struggle. But unless you have a quick fix or continue to please a certain quantity of fans with "that sound" that got them hooked in the first place, your greatness can fade in time among the countless number of quick hits and changing soundscapes of what's "fresh" each week. Dredg is one band that continues to make powerful music, but they never really "fit in" with any particular sound - which graciously makes them unique in their own right - but as a fan, you never see them reach mass potential. It keeps them a fine jewel in your music collection, but one that you don't see shared enough.
Starting off Dredg's headlining run for their new album Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy was The Trophy Fire. You can file this one under lame radio rock. I felt like I was listening to the worst hour of what ever Clear Channel station was on my dial. It wasn't exactly a great start to the night. If I wanted to stay at home and watch American Idol, I would have. Things certainly picked up with Balance and Composure, whose alternative throwback sets the band apart from the punk and hardcore styles of their friends and peers at the moment. Their set proved that Separation is a statement among the rest at the moment.
The Dear Hunter was a packed stage of performers. The Dear Hunter has always been Casey Crescenzo brain child. What's even more effective about his project is that he always brings in a well rounded set of musicians on every album and on each tour that pulls all of his creative ideas together. Hearing favorites off of Acts II and III were one thing, but the Color Spectrum songs were really incredible. When the band ended on one from the Black Spectrum - a record I'm told is the heaviest (I'd been informed that night that Crescenzo is a Boris fan) - there's no doubt in my mind that my expectations for this musical effort will not be disappointed. What Crescenzo does best is that he pushes passion and feeling through the heaviest and lightest of songs. I believe The Color Spectrum will take the unevenness of his orchestral Acts and separate those feelings and movements in way such as The Alchemy Index. I'm interested to see which "colors" fans like most.
With a good room of people, Dredg took to the stage and shined as usual. They played a varied set of songs from their discography, and started the night with the opening of the the new record which sounded brighter and fuller live. As Dredg has yet to make records with similar moods, always hearing the band play mixed sets (and as heard on their live record) shows that there is a common sonic thread laced throughout. It's what keeps the band unique in execution, yet tied to a general sound diehard fans have come to love. I'm unsure if having a second guitarist was necessary for the tour, as the band was still powerful when he wasn't on stage. For Dredg, it's always been about four people's approach to rock music. It's unfortunate that the band hasn't always been accessible to reach a certain audience, but their show has also proven how they're powerful enough to keep fans coming back.