In the twilight of a grueling U.S. tour, Longwave finally rolled in to Ann Arbor last Tuesday night.
With strong critical acclaim and two albums under their belts, Longwave has established themselves as a commanding force in the vibrant New York rock’n’roll scene. “I’m confused as to what the scene is,” says lead singer and guitarist Steve Schiltz, “The rock scene seems to be something that the press has invented, especially in New York.” Although hesitant to associate his band with a particular scene Schiltz does not hesitate to mention his band’s musical influences, citing the likes of Radiohead, the Flaming Lips and the Cure as sources of inspiration for their 2003 release, The Strangest Things.
As Longwave kicked into their set-list, feedback-driven guitar and pounding drums overtook the humble confines of the Blind Pig. The small crowd immediately took to their feet, moved by the commanding beats of drummer Mike James. Synth-guitar sounds began to emanate from the amp of guitarist Shannon Ferguson and Dave Marchese contributed a healthy dose of overdriven bass to the mix. The band created a statuesque background as Schiltz careened across the stage during his wild guitar solos.
The band cranked out their signature space-guitar sound in songs such as “The Strangest Things” and “Meet Me at the Bottom.” A welcome change of pace came in the form of the hypnotic single “Everywhere You Turn” which left every member of the crowd singing along. “Day Sleeper” helped to energize the somewhat lifeless audience, while “I Know It’s Coming Someday” allowed Schiltz’ wistful vocals to resonate through the house PA system. Three new songs were performed giving the fans a taste of Longwave’s ever-brightening future.
The lone problem with the concert was the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm and intensity. Many people stood or sat motionlessly. Much of this is due to the inexperience of the band; crowd control is a skill that takes time to develop and Longwave has not yet honed that aspect of its craft.
However, the crowd was drawn in by the sincerity and honesty of the band. Constant thank yous were offered to the opening acts while their modest clothing attire holds true to their down to earth approach. They lack the vicious egos that tend to come with rock’n’roll success and it was a breath of fresh air to see them perform.