I was 18 the first time I ever saw Sevendust play. At the time, they were really heavy, and a little heavier than what I listened to at the time. I was impressed with their live show though. Over the next couple of years, I kept seeing them open up for other bands and I was always blown away by their energy. In 2001, the band released Animosity and I was hooked. They had found that balance, between really heavy and something more than that. I have been a fan since.
This year, they did something a bit different. Since 2004 when they released a live acoustic record, fans have been asking for more of that. They answered that call with their new album, Time Travelers and Bonfires. This album was acoustic; 6 new songs, and 6 re-worked Sevendust classics. It's a beautiful record. They have been doing an acoustic tour on that album, and on June 8 that tour came to Starland Ballroom.
I came to the show expecting what I always get when I see them play: an incredible live show. I was not really prepared for how fantastic it really was though. It was a full band playing. Basically, they just replaced the electric guitars with acoustic ones, but it wasn't a delicate set by any means. But when you take it down a little, you are able to really hear how incredibly talented this band really is. The vocals of Lajon Witherspoon sounded absolutely fantastic. Even beautiful at times. Clint Lowery sounded fantastic with his vocals as well, even singing lead on a couple of songs. And of course Vinnie, John and Morgan made sure that it wasn't just the singing that stood out. Everyone was in top form.
I know that everyone in the room that night will remember this show for a long, long time. In between the 16 Sevendust songs on the list, they also threw in a couple covers like Jesse's Girl and Don't Stop Believing. The room was a sing along for the whole night.
Beyond everything else, it was great to see a band that really loves music, and loves their fans. They have played Starland so many times, and though they hail from Ga, Sevendust feels like NJ is home. And they feel like a hometown band to their fans here. They even record their last couple of albums in the Garden State.
I am proud to have watched this band grow over the last 15 years. LJ said that they were going to do this 'music thing forever.' I know that I will be there, singing along with them, as long as they let me.