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TopSpot USA Live Report: Easton's New Singer Settles In, New City Lions Want More Action

New City Lions interviewed by TopSpot USA's Frankie "Famous" Nobile (with microphone) and Sean Russell
New City Lions interviewed by TopSpot USA's Frankie "Famous" Nobile (with microphone) and Sean Russell
Photo by Mikayla Davis

TopSpot USA's Sean Russell, a local music industry player and subject of a recent New Times Broward-Palm Beach profile, tracks down the latest news and adds insight from the front row of local concerts. On Monday, Russell attended the Rocket Summer's performance at Culture Room featuring South Florida acts Easton and New City Lions.

The Rocket Summer's Monday visit to Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room was a "one-off show" in the middle of the band's run as an opener for the Goo Goo Dolls' U.S. tour. As a result of the booking, West Palm Beach's Easton and Broward County's New City Lions got the opportunity to perform in front of a larger audience than they normally command. While Culture Room's production manager Ash Ali's expectations of a sold-out show fell short, it was to be expected after several prior sell-outs including Alesana, the AP Tour and Motion City Soundtrack. Ali explains: "With the type of tours we've had through here, the kids ran out of a money a little bit."

Easton's new singer, Chris "I didn't write 'Fix You'" Martin
Easton's new singer, Chris "I didn't write 'Fix You'" Martin
Photo by Mikayla Davis

Easton's set: With only three bands appearing on the bill, Easton needed

to make a strong first impression. The three-piece band prides itself

on their ability to have a larger-than-life live show. Monday marked

only the second live performance for lead singer Chris Martin, who

joined the band after they amicably parted ways with their longtime lead

singer, Jeremy Michaels. With sweat pouring down his forehead, Martin

looked at home singing tracks both new and old. Former Hey Monday

drummer Elliot James took up almost half the stage with his custom SJC

drum kit, and Marc Ryan was adept playing backwards on the keyboard

during the song, "Sending Letters to Jersey."

Assessment: The less than conventional stage setup paired with four

guitarists, a

keyboardist and a drummer, made it hard to see them perform at peak

capacity. At least the band is aware that each show presents a certain

number of challenges and opportunities for improvement.

Can New City Lions learn to make their synchronized stunts more spontaneous?
Can New City Lions learn to make their synchronized stunts more spontaneous?
Photo by Mikayla Davis

New City Lions' set: Later in the show, New City Lions made a grand

entrance, cutting through pitch darkness and movie soundtrack-inspired

builds. This unique aspect of their performance made it evident why the

same 30-40 fans seem to follow them from show to show. What it didn't

explain was why the rest of the crowd didn't shake their booties, as

guitarist Joshua Card explained in the self-examination of their

performance. When asked why the crowd didn't really dance, he said,

"People are kind of scared to get into shows too much."

Assessment: Whether or not that's a true statement, New City Lions is a

polished act that illustrates their cohesion through synchronized guitar

flips and evenly spread spotlights. This is also their weak point with

the added predictability of their well rehearsed act.

Notes: The future looks bright for both bands. Starting June 1, Easton

will be performing in Vietnam, Japan and Australia. New City Lions will

embark on a nationwide tour in June, as well. They will travel up the

East Coast before manifesting their destiny towards the wild wild West.

-- Sean Russell, TopSpotUSA.com.

Contact him at srussell@topspotusa.com.  


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