Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY
November 11, 2016
There’s always a place for a solid, fun, melodic hard rock band. Something you’d see on the Sunset Strip in the 1980s. And, of course, across your radio dial during the same time frame. That’s where Station comes in. They’re a fun-loving, talented five-piece that carries that 1980s-style small-venue concert party atmosphere into its rightful place in the current music landscape.
This concert reminded me of my pre-rock journalist days, catching great touring hard rock bands at Paolo’s in Grand Rapids, The Apple Core Lounge in Shelbyville, or the Silver Dollar Saloon in Lansing (before it “went country”). It reminded me of the great “hair band” (I always hated that term — it’s about the music, the performance, and the atmosphere, not the hair) scene in Boston when I was writing for Tough Tracks in the late eighties/early nineties, hitting clubs like The Channel, Axis, Bunratty’s, and Narcissus.
And I’m enjoying seeing this style return to the scene a bit more, since this is the kind of music that can provide that big arena show experience in a small club. At least, that’s true when it’s done right. And Station rocked Arlene’s Grocery with gusto last night. In addition, many of the fans in the packed venue were singing along, enthusiastic to see the band’s final New York City show of 2016. When the crowd knows the words, you know you’re seeing a band with a loyal following.
I arrived as the show was beginning, walking in during “Dressed to Kill,” an ’80s rocker with great rhythm in the vocal, an ever-so-slightly funky edge to an otherwise straight-ahead, forceful rockin’ tune.
At times during the set, the bands songs reminded me of The Who (specifically “Baba O’Riley”), ’80s Kiss, Nazareth, Faster Pussycat… most often, though, Station’s music was an interesting blend of hard rocking Legs Diamond and more purely melodic Sleeze Beez. Station’s performance was built around ample use of appropriate, well-placed, often blistering guitar solos, an occasionally stage-stealing bass player, and vocals that frequently jumped an octave or two during the more intense segments of the songs.
Other standout songs during the evening included “With Me Tonight,” with a monster lead guitar hook; crowd-pleaser “Everything,” on which the vocals most closely recalled Paul Stanley in spots; and “Never Say Never,” which reminds me of Nazareth during the beginning guitarwork and is driven by a heavy rhythm and vocal screams.
It’s also worth mentioning a couple of the band’s new songs, which show there are some solid new songs in the pipeline. Of course, I’m just guessing at the song titles, but the first “new one” of the evening, “If You Want It Hard Enough You’ll Find It…” features a pulsing rhythm and high, emotional vocals. Ample vocal screams and multi-part harmonies accompanied a well-placed tempo change late in the song.
The other new song of note, “Always Be a Part of Me” sports a medium-fast tempo. It’s a romantic song with emotional vocal highlights, a steady rhythm, and a bit of a guitar hook.
Late-set standout “Are You Sleeping Alone” struck me as a potential hit, with melodic harmonies and hooks, all within the requisite guitar-heavy framework.
The encore, “I Don’t Want to Know Your Name,” was another song with a potentially broad appeal. Musically, it sported the entire guitar hero arsenal, which a catchy rhythm and exceptionally melodic vocals, rising and falling with power and emotion. A crowd-pleaser, this was a great way to end a gig.
In the end, Station delivers some pretty standard melodic metal fare. The band has its own performance and songwriting style, which is how fans distinguish among this type of band to find their favorites. But the show itself is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. And on this night, Station did a fine job of rocking Arlene’s Grocery with an hour and a half of guitar shredding, hard rock screams, and party atmosphere, maintaining an intensity of 10 on a 10 scale non-stop for 90 minutes. Absolutely a band worth catching for those seeking a rock concert experience. I also look forward to hearing what Station’s next album brings.
Station has a couple Connecticut shows coming up later this month: November 19th at Cook’s Cafe in Naugatuck, CT and November 29th (with Theory of a Deadman) at The Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. Check the band’s “shows” page for additional information and future dates as they’re added.
Meanwhile, I’ll be wrapping up my New York trip tonight by attending my fifth show in six nights. I’ll be at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn to see The Dayz.