Needtobreathe w/ Serena Ryder, Matthew Mayfield
Oct. 8, 2009
The Deal: South Carolina rockers perform sold-out all-ages show at the Visulite, bring along label mate Serena Ryder and Alabama-based singer-songwriter Matthew Mayfield.
The Good: The show kicked off with the lone voice and guitar of Matthew Mayfield. A few in the crowd were familiar with his music and sang along, but much of his low raspy growling voice couldn't be heard above the din.
Ryder opened her set with the a capella "Melancholy Blue." Her bluesy vocals sounded better than the pop songs she played for most of her 40-minute set. That's not to say the pop-rock songs were bad. She puts forth a great amount of energy and definitely has talent for singing and performing with an easy stage presence. Her final song of the night was "Sing Sing," a clapping, stomping singalong that got the crowd going once again, a capella to show off the vocals. It's a good sign that she played songs that aren't on her often-delayed album there's no need to sit and wait for a release.
Needtobreathe hit the stage and performed a number of songs off of its latest album Outsiders. The band noted that it's the first time they've sold out the Visulite and seemed genuinely appreciative to the younger-skewing audience. The band's set kicked off with the title track of the new album and also included a cover of Tom Petty's "Wreck Me," which was performed with Mayfield. Ryder came out to join in on the outstanding harmonies of "Prisoner."
The Bad: People probably don't care about the lights too often, and the Visulite's are usually great, but for all three acts on this night, they were terrible. Sure, I'm speaking from a photographer's point of view, but the opener's lights were dim and Needtobreathe's were mostly non-existent except for a few panels of lights behind them.
A few of Mayfield's songs sounded the same and his voice could sometimes be compared to a constipated Mike Doughty as it sounded like he was trying to force words out. It's not easy to open a sold-out show and he also said his voice was strained from touring.
The Verdict: Needtobreathe are definitely building up a solid foundation and there's a bright future ahead for them. I wasn't too familiar with them before this show, and the Christian rock label might have thrown me off, but there was nothing preachy about it and the talent was easy to see and hear. Same goes for Ryder whose debut hits the States next month. Keep an eye on both of them.
Serena Ryder Setlist
Racing in the Streets
Is It OK
All for Love
Stumbling Over You
Weak in the Knees
Sweeping the Ashes
Little Bit of Red
What I Wanna Know
Prisoner w/ Serena Ryder
Wreck Me w/ Matthew Mayfield
Lay Em Down
Let Us Love