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Live in Rockford, Illinois, 2005

Review by Mike Korn

There was going to be a kind of chill over this event before it ever started. Just two days prior (if that), the brutal hand of random violence reached out to rob the metal world of Dimebag Darrell Abbott, shot down while performing in Ohio. The senseless loss of such a giant in such a manner was on the minds of everybody at the Elixur Club this night. As the cliche goes, though, the show must go on and I think there is no better way to celebrate the life of a heavy metal messiah than jamming and headbanging in tribute to the fallen. A massive crowd turned out to do just that and the result was one of the better shows to play in Rockford this year.
Let's establish one thing immediately: Nonpoint is a nu-metal band. Nu-metal is in a rapid tailspin these days and usually with good reason, but one of the unfortunate things that happens whenever a genre collapses is that good bands get tossed out with the bad. I sincerely hope this fate does not befall Nonpoint. In fact, I have respect for them because they are clearly playing what they want to and not altering their sound to desperately cling to a couple more years of life. They don't need to change their sound radically because it works quite well. Especially in the live setting, which we saw clearly tonight.

This is a VERY entertaining live band, where all four members contribute to the total package. Of course charismatic frontman Elias Soriano takes most of the stage. He has such a smooth, melodic voice that he could easily be in many other kinds of music but he has chosen hard-edged metal as his home. Smooth as that voice is, he can inject some anger into it. Thankfully he avoids the oh-so-typical soft sensitive vocal that jumps into a deep growl trap. Whipping his long dreads around with intensity, he held the audience's attention very well, with the exception of a couple of awkward long pauses.

Guitarist Andrew Goldman and bassist KB seem to be equal partners in stagecraft, which is pretty unusual.  You don't often see the bassist taking command of the crowd as much as KB does. I have to take a minute to mention hulking drummer Rob Rivera. This dude reminded me of some of the football players I went to high school with. He's just as big and he gets himself so pumped up that he actually leaves his stool to stalk around the stage. In a very unique and rather cool twist, Rivera's drumkit faces the left side of the  stage instead of straight ahead. That not only allows him to get up and rumble along the stage in between songs, but gives the crowd a close up view at how he plies his craft.

The set was a fiery one, with the band feeding off the crowd's enthusiastic response. The fans readily sang  along with tunes like "The Truth", "What A Day" and the remake of Genesis' "In the Air Tonight", which is enjoying a lot of airplay. I hate that original more than just about any other song I've ever heard and  while it will never be a favorite for me in any format, at least Nonpoint rendered it listenable with strong guitar and powerful tribal drumming. I have to say again, I am not a nu-metal fan at all and
Nonpoint's music is not the sort of stuff I should be enjoying, but I have to suck it up and admit the band  is a very likeable one...friendly, rowdy, mischievous. They nailed all those qualities home with a sizzling  double encore of "The Same" and "Rabia", the two best songs from new CD "Recoil". The first is just so heavy and catchy while the second melds Spanish lyrics perfectly with some real angry music.

I'll always be a die-hard thrasher and metal traditionalist, but I bow to quality when I =see it. Nonpoint has got quality in spades.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at
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