May 22, 2024

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Liliac leads Powerhouse Quartet of bands in an evening: Video, Photos

Sure, you can go to a major arena, or even a stadium, to get your rock and roll fix. But the REAL way to feel the power of the music is to get down to its brass tacks (no pun intended) into the club scene. Saturday night the place to be was the Brass Mug in Tampa, FL, as one of the biggest success stories of the independent scene, Liliac, led a quartet of bands to attack the stage.

The doors for the Brass Mug opened promptly at 6 PM, which barely left enough time for the folks to grab their drinks and stake out a position on the floor. In advertising for the show, only Liliac and their opener, RōZY, were listed on the bill. As it would turn out, two MORE bands were kicking off the fireworks and, if you were not there for it, you missed out on excellent rock.

Liliac. Photo by Earl Burton.

Up first were Florida natives Fyre Insyde, whose backstory is only excelled by the power rock that they played. Bassist Oscar G and guitarist Felix Frusciante were filling out the lineup of what would become the band prior to the pandemic. When 2020 hit, that allowed them a little leeway on their self-imposed deadline for creating the band, which came together when singer Rockstar G and drummer Marc Sweet came on board.

Since the end of the pandemic, the Fyre Insyde has been a wildfire raging across the Florida scene. They brought their Eighties style rock show to the stage to open Saturday’s show and they did not disappoint, with Rockstar G smoothly working the crowd and Oscar actually entering the floor to pluck the bass for the patrons. Through it all, Frusciante kept the fire burning with his solo work, capping off an outstanding opening set.

RōZY. Photo by Earl Burton.

After a brief pause for the bands to change out, The Hand of Reason took on the Brass Mug crowd. Now calling Tampa home after departing from their Seattle origins, The Hand of Reason brought a different approach to the festivities. Whereas Fyre Inside was a straight-ahead power rock band, The Hand of Reason brought a more grunge-influenced alternative sound to the stage.

The brothers Michael (lead vocals, guitar) and David Dhamers (backup vocals, bass) joked with the assembled crowd, “Yes, we do look like the brothers of Ed Sheeran!” but once they opened the mics, their excellent musicianship shone through. They make a habit of hitting many of the local watering holes, so you might want to keep your eyes out for The Hand of Reason.

Decker Fair of the Hand of Reason. Photo by Earl Burton.

A big trend in the world of hard rock has been the advent of the female-fronted hard rock band. These ladies bring powerful voices that soar above the din of the band behind them, making for a juxtaposition of sounds that currently is the rage of the rock world (think Halestorm, Evanescence, The Pretty Reckless, et. al.). The lead and headliner for the Saturday night show at the Brass Mug in Tampa fit into this category while bringing their own very distinct styles to the fore.

Once The Hand of Reason had cleared the stage, the band RōZY (pronounced Rosy) was ready to seize the night. Kicking off a bit of a “family” theme, RōZY is led by singer/guitarist Zoe Flores and her drummer sister Molly. After winning a Houston talent contest, the sisters decided to get serious, appearing on the Vans Warped Tour in 2015 and opening for Godsmack, King’s X, and Creed’s Scott Stapp.

Rockstar G of Fyre Inside. Photo by Earl Burton.

Along with their fellow bandmates Brandon Martinez (lead guitar) and Aris Weathersby (bass), RōZY has begun to make their mark on the music world, and they hammered the Tampa Brass Mug audience with a full-out aural assault. Molly’s vocals were on point throughout the night, and she even picked up the guitar herself, ably holding her own alongside Martinez (“Pretty Lonely,” from their current EP Crybaby, was particularly notable). It is hard to believe that this is a band that has been around for over a decade, and it shouldn’t be long until they’re the headliners for such a tour as this.

Capping the evening of excellent hard rock was the independent band Liliac. Called the “First Family of Hard Rock,” the entirety of the band (save for drummer Aby, who was out of the lineup on this night with tour drummer Paul Barnes filling in) is made up of the Cristea Family. Vocalist Melody, lead guitarist Samuel, and their younger brothers Ethan (bass) and Justin (keyboards), have been literally treading the boards – they cut their teeth on the Santa Monica Pier when they were still teenagers – and they brought their tremendously powerful show out in full force.

Oscar G and Gelix Frusciante of Fyre Inside. Photo by Earl Burton.

To be honest, Liliac brought the house down for an appreciative audience. Over their sixty-minute set, they ran through their album releases (Chain of Thorns, Queen of Hearts, and their newest release Madness) while mixing in their covers of tunes such as “Crazy Train,” “Enter Sandman,” and “Holy Diver.” There was even time for unreleased material to make it into the show, with a new tune called “Prisoner” particularly fascinating.

Conducting the proceedings masterfully was Melody, whose voice cracked the walls of the Brass Mug with its power. What was particularly pleasant to see was that Melody (like many of the other performers for the night) was just as much a fan as those in the Brass Mug were, standing out in the crowd to watch Rozy perform. It was also excellent to see both Melody and Molly from RoZY share the stage on a scintillating version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” which perfectly matched the ladies’ voices.

RōZY. Photo by Earl Burton.

After a four-plus hour workout, it was all over. The members of Liliac did not leave the merch stand until every autograph had been signed, and every photo had been taken, and that is one of the impressive things about all the acts from that Saturday night at the Brass Mug. They embraced their fans, even after delivering a powerhouse evening of rock and roll, and big things (or even bigger, in the case of Liliac) should be awaiting them down the road.

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