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Review: Chevelle, Middle Class Rut

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I have been looking forward to this concert for a long time. Although I wouldn't call myself a die-hard Chevelle fan, I would say that I greatly appreciate them and their music. Their performance at the Egyptian Room on March 10th did not disappoint.

My first thought: how well frontman Pete Loeffler's voice carried over the heavy guitars and pounding drums. It wasn't just the microphone. Pete poured his emotion into each song, allowing his voice to be heard clearly. As an audience member, one can really appreciate crisp vocals — especially during a metal concert, when vocals oftentimes get pitched for belligerent chords and manic tempos.

The arranged playlist showcased an impressive repertoire of the past and the present. It would have been easy for the band to play a medley of tracks off their new album Hats Off to The Bull, but instead they kept true to their '90s roots, as well as to their fans. Regardless of one's familiarity with the songs, head-banging was simply second nature.

Chevelle is notorious for using obscure tunings for their guitars. Whatever tuning they use, it works. A steady chug of the power chords resonated throughout most songs, but Pete Loeffler would toss in some pretty guitar licks for some flavor. Chevelle never sounded repetitive. In fact, their musical range impressed me. Songs like "The Antisaint" grab your attention with energetic chord arrangements. Others, like "Jars," a popular single, evoke an irresistible desire to sing along and groove with the bass guitar. Songs like "Envy" calm you down from the metal, and soothe you into a stupor of placid admiration. The haunting melody, sweeping pre-chorus and steady, progressive drumming make "Envy" one of the best songs on Hats Off to The Bull.

Chevelle and their fans have an immense respect for each other. Pete Loeffler said, in between songs, "There are three girls out there who never miss the show. I feel like I should start paying you."

The light show was spectacular. An array of colors splashed over the crowd in smooth and sometimes erratic fashions. The arrangement was incredibly well-timed with the drums and guitar riffs. The colors and music worked in an effective tandem; it seemed as if the music created the colors or vice versa.

Although Janus and Middle Class Rut performed well, I failed to remember the details of their set after Chevelle performed. Janus sounded too much like Chevelle; they lacked an originality that all new bands need to break through. Middle Class Rut used an echo effect for their vocals. After the allure of the first song ended, the effect only hindered the clarity of singer Zach Lopez's voice. To be honest, I understood less than 10 words they said.

The drummer of Middle Class Rut, Sean Stockham, was a machine. He performed with a vigor that would challenge many other drummers. He approached the show like a task; he got the job done in the most efficient and technical manner. I really appreciated the consistency and technicality that Stockham incorporated. Although Lopez used some powerful guitar riffs, Stockham was the heart of the performance. What was even more impressive was how Stockham would sing every few songs. Despite the effort from MC Rut, Chevelle owned the show. They showed why they were the headlines and how the consistency of 17 years together pays off.

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