Screaming for Silence review

Celeste Welshhons

Screaming for Silence, along with openers Stone Park Ritual, Mistaken for Halos, and For the Broken provided a cozy, down-to-earth show April 5 at Vaudeville Mews.

This was one of those shows where you would have had to have hide in the corner in order to not be personally greeted by at least one member of all four bands. When I had a little sit down with Zeb Christensen, lead vocalist of Screaming for Silence, I was surprised to find out that he actually personally knew many of the concert goers at this particular show due to his strong Iowa roots. Another surprising thing he told me was that Screaming for Silence is in fact the tallest band in the world. Zeb himself is a whopping 6’6”, and the shortest member is 6’2.”

The opening band, Stone Park Ritual, was okay. They definitely seemed like they were still very new to the scene. The vocals were a little murky, but lead singer Nate Black has got one of the longer growls that I’ve heard. The highlight of its set was the cover of the song “Youth Gone Wild,” originally performed by Skid Row. A lot of the fans migrated from the crowded bar toward the stage during this song but came back to the bar afterward.

Next up was the band Mistaken for Halos. Its set was one of the bigger surprises of the whole night. For being a band with just more than a thousand likes on Facebook, it was fantastic. From the beginning of the first song, vocalist Aron Crosser did everything he could to bring everybody up to the stage. It worked. There were maybe a couple of people remaining at the bar by the time it started the second song.

His voice sounded much more crisp. The lyrics were easily deciphered — if you really wanted to try. Just to prove how much fans really mean at this stage of the game, Crosser struck a rock star pose for a fan trying to get a good shot. None of the songs were easily recognized as far as knowing the title, but the beat was easy to follow and the overall stage presence of the band was superb.

The third band, For the Broken, had one nice hit with the fans, but its set was otherwise a miss for me. When it walked onstage, I was immediately reminded of preppy teenage girls, thanks to lead singer Adam Montgomery’s huge bug eye sunglasses. The rest of his look was equally as odd with the addition of a fur coat and not-at-all matching hat.

The lead singer was not the only thing that looked odd for its set. The very tall, latest addition to the band, Mike Kennedy, simply played his bass and did not look like he was having any sort of fun. Maybe that’s just his thing, but it didn’t sync with the high energy of the rest of the band. Even with its odd stage presence, the band did manage to fit one hit into the set with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat it.”

By the time the third band left the stage, I was getting pretty nervous as to what Screaming for Silence would sound like live. All of the previous bands were within the harder genres, but they were still very diverse.

The band filed onstage and all faced the back while its intro track played and much to my dismay, didn’t sound so hot when the first song began. I had a terrible feeling that Mistaken for Halos was going to be the high point of the show, and it was all going down from there. Front man Zeb Christensen quickly fixed the problem, however, after the second song.

Compared to the other three sets, Screaming for Silence seemed to take the stage for a noticeably lesser amount of time. But, for the time that it was up there, it was fantastic in every way. The instruments didn’t drown out the vocals, you could still hear Danny Irwin’s backing vocals over Christensen’s lead, and the highly intoxicated fans were having a blast. There was lots of singing along as well as some serious head banging, especially during the band’s first single, “Separate.”

“Helpless” and the cover of Eddy Money’s song “Take Me Home Tonight” were big successes and brought everybody to the front, including one super fan with a tattoo of the band’s logo on his lower arm. During “Take Me Home Tonight,” Mistaken for Halos’ Aron Crosser joined the band to provide a second vocal track, and the aforementioned fan also stepped up to perform with the band.

As was mentioned in the preview for the show, the band did start to perform a different cover song before breaking into its usual but cut it after getting less than a minute into it. The song was “Edge of Seventeen,” also known as “Just Like the White Winged Dove,” by Fleetwood Mac.

The quality of the Screaming for Silence’s set was far superior to that of For the Broken and Stone Park Ritual. It was comparable to that of Mistaken for Halos, but the high quality vocals that sounded almost exactly like that of the recorded versions of the songs won that race for me.

I strongly believe that Screaming for Silence has the potential to make it to a massive level of rock stardom within a few years, but it will have to work for it. If it keeps on the track it is going, it will be there in no time.

Screaming for Silence was a treat to see live, and if you happened to miss this show, it will be back in Des Moines on April 30 at the House of Bricks for an all-ages show.