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Monday, November 5, 2012

Live review: Center of the Sun, The Milestone (11/3/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Center of the Sun
The Milestone
Nov. 3, 2012

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Basking the glow of two lamps set at the back of The Milestone stage, Center of the Sun shone brightly on Nov. 3, 2012, as the Charlotte band celebrated the release of its debut CD, Machine Gun.

Set amidst a backdrop of thunderous drums courtesy of Benny Gascho, crunchy chords from Young and In the Way guitarists Chris Nolen and Rick Contes and bass rhythms by ex-Grids' Joe Elmore, singer Ally Hoffmann gets dreamy while keeping her head out of the clouds. The music is rooted in rock and some '80s gloom while keeping itself free from overly pop ideas.

Hoffman's lighter tone balances the shoegaze-based music's darker overtones for a sound that's easily accessible and kept the Milestone crowd entranced. "I think a few people were actually gazing at their shoes," one crowd member joked as the set came to a close.

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You get the impression that Center of the Sun would have played for a longer amount of time if the relatively young band had more material. The applause grew louder after each song and the chatter was kept to a minimum between songs as the audience soaked up every note. One item on Facebook that said it was the band's first show — but I don't believe it. Regardless, the songwriting here is solid enough that this quintet should be around for a while and is worth hearing whenever you get the chance. (You can download Machine Gun for free here.)

Center of the Sun's brief but powerful performance was sandwiched between sets by Charlotte acts Late Bloomer, One Another and Scowl Brow. The rock trio Late Bloomer has improved immensely over time, creating a stronger bed of '80s and '90s-influenced indie rock while Scowl Brow never fails to impress with its garage-punk rock supported by some of the most honest lyrics the city has to offer.

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