Cody, Wyoming’s Righteous Vendetta are earning their spot in the rock industry, and rightfully so. May 9th found the group in Cleveland’s historic Agora Ballroom. Artists such as Skillet, Red, Disciple, and Hellyeah, have all graced the stage and left their mark on it, yet this particular group would do something that none of the other bands in all of the other shows I have attended there could. Righteous Vendetta made the crowd take notice of them.
I have seen Righteous Vendetta a few other times and in many different settings. They have never disappointed me in their performance or showmanship, but I had different expectations tonight. After signing to Century Media I was expecting a new type of energy and show. A bit of a reboot and to make matters even more complicated for this review, I was expecting something more than what I had seen of them before. Thankfully, I was in no way disappointed.
If there is one thing that Righteous Vendetta does not lack in, it has to be energy. Ryan Hayes is a show all on his own. He took control of the stage and made it work for him the entire time that he was up there. The entire band moved with so much unity and purpose that the crowd became involved. Agora shows are known for having rough audiences , especially if the band playing is not the headliner. It is so common for concert goers to be completely uninterested in what is happening on stage that I actually had to stop counting it in my review.
Tonight though was different.
I mentioned before that Righteous Vendetta managed to do something that I had never seen before. Despite that the fact they they were not the headliner, and that it was a smaller show, they caused the crowd to care enough to become involved and excited. Moments before the band took the stage, half of the crowd was gathered around the t.v in the bar watching the finals of a sporting event. They had been there through the previous two bands and showed no signs of leaving. When Righteous Vendetta took the stage, they really did not have a choice. The venue floor went from being littered with a few half hearted listeners to about 70 excited rockers who could not believe what they were seeing.
With the new album having only been out for a few months, I was surprised by the participation of the audience in belting the songs almost as loud as the PA. I’d venture a guess that about half of them knew most of the lyrics. The other half we all too eager to learn. Every single person was energetically bouncing along to the band that was in front of them, trying to keep up with their stamina. In the meantime the band was creating their own storm on stage.
I was a huge fan of their new album Cursed. Between the project’s infectious melodies, and the energy behind the lyrics I was hooked. All of the things that caused me to fall in love with those tracks was put into a visual form during their live show. Watching the album come to life was probably the best part of evening for me. The show’s energy and diction, the emotion and all of the melodies colliding in this dingy bar was nothing that I could have ever imagined it to be. I set my expectations high for this group, and they smashed every single one of them. I wasn’t left wanting anything, but to see them play again, and by the line at their merch table I am going to hazard a guess in saying that this feeling was mutual between all of the concert goers. Even in leaving, the murmurs about this band from Wyoming were thick. The one thing that I do feel bad about is the headliner. The Righteous Vendetta crew blew them out of the water and the end of the night felt like a little bit of a let down after the high intensity that they brought to the stage. Then again, maybe that is not such a bad thing. It means that this group can be an example for what real rock and roll could and should look like.
Righteous Vendetta is a must see group for anyone who believes that rock and roll is dead, or that they have seen the best that the genre has to offer. Even though they are young I fully believe that they can change the face of the genre and give it the breath of life that it needs to stay relevent. My overall verdict? Well done.
Very well done.