Happy Birthday to Us! 3 Years Hollow, Islander, Gemini Syndrome, and Nonpoint at the State Theatre in St. Pete

By on November 20, 2014
(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)


3 Years Hollow, Islander, Gemini Syndrome, and Nonpoint performed at the State Theatre in St. Pete on November 12, 2014 and provided the bang for your buck that their fans expected.

3 Years Hollow took the dimly-lit stage at 8:30 and got the crowd primed for the show by playing a solid set of their signature multi-styled brand of rock. Jose Urquiza’s vocals provided power and aggression, yet emotion and soul were evident in his performance and the band’s lyrics.

JOSE URQUIZA – 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Standout songs from their  set were “Hungry,” which showcases Chris Cushman on drums and a memorable lyrical hook, and “For Life.” 3 Years Hollow closed the set with “For Life,” which left a lasting impression on me and others in the crowd. Jose’s vocals remind me of some of David Draiman’s early work with Disturbed with a memorable hook and melody. 3 Years Hollow’s performance left me wanting to hear more of their music.  That’s a recipe for success for any band at any stage of their career, and with festival season right around the corner, I expect that 3 Years Hollow will be gaining new fans at every show.

For more information: http://www.threeyearshollow.com/

NEIL KUHMAN - 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

NEIL KUHMAN – 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Islander was up next, and unfortunately, due to other responsibilities, we missed their set.  After Islander concluded, a quick changeover occurred and Gemini Syndrome took the stage.

ALESSANDRO PAVERI - GEMINI SYNDROME (Travis Failey / RSEN)

ALESSANDRO PAVERI – GEMINI SYNDROME (Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

This was the my second time seeing Gemini Syndrome, the first being at this year’s Monster Energy Rockville Festival.  Gemini Syndrome, whose fans are referred to as Synners, is an alternative metal band that was formed four years ago in Los Angeles.  They are fronted by former OTEP guitarist, vocalist Aaron Nordstrom, and include guitarists Rich Juzwick and Mike Salerno, bassist Alessandro “AP” Paveri, and drummer Brian Steele Medina.  Gemini Syndrome released their first album, Lux, on September 6, 2013.  To date, Lux has spawned the hits, “Pleasure and Pain,” “Basement,” “Mourning Star,” and the band’s biggest commercial success so far, “Stardust.”  “Stardust” spent the first twenty weeks on SiriusXM’s Octane’s Big Uns Countdown, and several weeks at number 1 between January and June of 2014.  Just add this band to a long list of bands that owe a lot of their early success to SiriusXM, particularly Octane.

AARON NORDSTROM - GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

AARON NORDSTROM – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

I had a chance to meet with Gemini Syndrome prior to their set for a photo shoot.  It happened to be AP’s birthday, and I just couldn’t help but sing “Happy Birthday” to the new forty-something in his native tongue, Italian.  AP could also be a superhero or villain called “Camouflage” due to him blending in perfectly with the mural on the back of the State Theatre.

ALESSANDRO PAVERI

ALESSANDRO PAVERI-Gemini Syndrome (photo by Travis Failey /RSEN)

The guys were also accommodating and as friendly as ever.  It always amazes me how down-to-earth many of the artists are these days.  Most band members are always willing to sign an autograph, take a picture, or smoke a cigarette with their fans.  Many of the new bands, like Gemini Syndrome, are very active on social media, which allows their “Synners” to keep tabs on their favorite band.

BRIAN STEELE MEDINA - GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

BRIAN STEELE MEDINA – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

As Gemini Syndrome started to perform, there were many attributes within the individual musicians that stood out and really separate them from other bands. Two of these specifically were Aaron Nordstrom’s vocals and the way that Brian Steele Medina plays his drum kit. Aaron Nordstrom’s vocals seamlessly transform from soft and melodic to downright aggressive at times, which showcases his range and uniqueness.

Gemini Syndrome’s lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking, and the music is heavy and methodical.  You can’t help but notice the duality of this band’s sound: vocals that range from soft to a growl, music that is melodic then rolls into in-your-face metal.  Maybe that’s why the band’s name is so fitting.  Gemini is the twins of the zodiac, representing the yin-yang, the positive-negative, and the dark-light.

Aaron Nordstrom GS01

AARON NORDSTROM – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Medina’s talent on the drums is evident but what’s really cool about the way he plays is the way his drum kit is set up.  All of Medina’s “toms” are on the floor, which really offers the crowd an original view of him. This brilliant setup allows Medina to directly interact and make eye contact with the fans. He doesn’t have to stop playing or stand up to engage with the crowd.  Using his sticks and body language, Medina and the crowd were in sync throughout Gemini Syndrome’s set.  Medina’s kit setup made for an intimate drummer-crowd dynamic, which is seldom seen in the industry.

Along with their hit, “Mourning Star,” Gemini Syndrome’s set list included, “Basement,” “Falling Apart,” “Stardust,” and my personal favorite, “Pleasure and Pain.”  Aaron Nordstrom made a special point of wishing “AP” a happy birthday and repeatedly expressed the band’s love for all the fans in attendance at the Synner Convention at the State Theatre.

BRIAN STEELE MEDINA – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

At the end of the show, the band attached a go-pro to a microphone and held it over the crowd to catch panoramic images of the crowd.  Medina patrolled the front row and stamped a Synner tattoo on anyone who wanted one.  A guy came up next to me to show Medina that he had Lux album art shaved onto the side of his mohawked head. Medina was most impressed, grabbed a shot with his cell phone, and uploaded that Synner’s picture on Gemini Syndrome’s Face Book page.

Synner

Brian Steele Medina GS01 updated

BRIAN STEELE MEDINA – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 Touring with the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Device and Drowning Pool: Gemini Syndrome is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  I wish the guys the best of luck and hope that we’ll be seeing Gemini Syndrome on the festival circuit again next year.  Only next time, I’d like to see them on a bigger stage, at, let’s say, 9 pm!

For more information: http://www.geminisyndrome.com/

Nonpoint would close out the night’s performance and they brought it! They always do. These guys are a well-oiled machine and veterans of both the big stage and the small venue. It doesn’t matter to them. Either way, Nonpoint always puts on a memorable show.  The combined energy of vocalist Elias Soriano, drummer Robb Rivera, guitarists Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit, and bassist Adam Woloszyn is a commodity that Five Hour Energy only wishes it had.

Playing a fifteen-song set list that spanned their 18-year career, Nonpoint provided their new fan base with what they wanted and satisfied their oldest fans cravings for their early favorites.  My personal favorite was the new single off their 10th release, The Return, in “Breaking Skin.” This track shatters the mold for Nonpoint and may seem commercial to some, but it showcases Nonpoint’s song-writing skills.

 

ELIAS SORIANO – NONPOINT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Other highlights of Nonpoint’s set were “Pins & Needles,” “That Day,” and “Bullet With A Name.” I know its cliché to love a band’s biggest hit to date but “Bullet With A Name” is a classic and a memorable song from the past decade.  It’s also the perfect way to end the set as the chorus stays with you long after you leave the venue.

ADAM WOLOSZYN – NONPOINT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

I have no doubts that Nonpoint will continue to be road warriors in the upcoming year in the clubs and on the festival circuit; showcasing their new music and expanding their fan base.

For more on Nonpoint check out http://nonpoint.com/

 MORE TRAVIS FAILEY PHOTOS

NONPOINT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

JOSE URQUIZA – 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

ALESSANDRO PAVERI – Gemini Syndrome (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

NEIL KUHMAN – 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

ELIAS SORIANO – NONPOINT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

DEX DIGGA 3 YEARS HOLLOW (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

MIKE SALERNO-GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

BRIAN STEELE MEDINA – GEMINI SYNDROME (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

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