More often than not, your first impression of a band comes from the radio, your friend's MP3 player, or some other predetermined source that delivers the songs to you in their carefully polished, studio recorded form. Of course the exception to this would be that occasional band that delivers your initial encounter live from the stage. If they can win you over in this forum, you're undoubtedly going home with the album and all those studio gems they spent countless hours crafting and perfecting. Moral of the story: You can hide behind the editing of the studio, but the stage doesn't lie.
My introduction to Reaul came from the stage on the Joliet stop of Black Stone Cherry's recent tour. The Indianapolis based band was tabbed to tour the land with them, and as far as opening acts go, the fit was spot on. The openers always have the hardest work to do at a show, but Reaul was up to the task and handily set the tone and electrified the room with the tunes off of their 'Casino Heart' EP. What I have found as I've delved deeper into the Reaul world is this: whether by MP3 or by stage, the energy level from the band is pouring out of every song.
'Casino Heart' doesn't stand still for a second, at every turn guitars and vocals are soaring as drummer Nate Metzler slams through the tracks. Opening the EP is the fast paced 'Second String Lover', a track that does it's best to win you over musically and through lead singer Rick Connell's declaration that "We could be more than friends!" as he begrudgingly makes his case that he's tired of being the backup. Keeping with this feeling of desperation and urgency, the next track "Circle City Lights (Drive)", flys along like you're whipping past street lights on the highway at 100 MPH. Thanks to its clean guitar and slick vocal effects, I found myself looping back around to it for a few more laps every time I listened to the album
"My Casino Heart" finds the tempo of the previous two songs, but also features some nice pace changes that give it a little different stance thanks to Dave Kriebel's confident guitar and the driving bass line of Michael Neeley. This same attitude and feel is found on "Chasing Daylight" which falls perfectly in the track order as the two songs could easily blend together. "Forever Starts Tonight" comes off as an ironic title since it marks the finish line of the quick "Casino Heart" journey. It wraps up the EP on a familiar note as it's hard to miss the influence of Fall Out Boy on the track thanks to the strong, soaring vocals.
'Casino Heart' is only five tracks and doesn't even quite make it all the way to the 18 minute mark, but the brevity is irrelevant given how catchy these finely tuned songs are. In my book, as great as the album is, it's even more impressive how phenomenal these songs and Reaul sounded live. Hell, if it was enough for the opening act to get the whole room bouncing, how wrong could I be?
Creating good music is only a part of Reaul's mission as they make their name in the music world. They are also supporters and advocates of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). To find out more about the cause and what they're doing to help, CLICK HERE
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