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The Rock Show: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Posted on Monday, October 30 @ 05:36:52 MST by roadrash
 ShowsThe Red Jumpsuit Apparatus took The Clubhouse in Tempe by storm. The guys played with all their might, leaving in their wake a frenzy of excited fans.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
By Sean Wolcott
Photos by Melody Hudson

Ronnie Winter

There's always a sense of the unknown when a band makes their first trek to the opposite coast. Such was the case with Florida's own The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on their first tour of the West. Would they be able to bring it with passion? Would the crowd respond or be apathetic? One thing you could tell when the boys hit the stage of The Clubhouse in Tempe, they felt right at home.

Walking into the Clubhouse for the first time, you can't help but feel like you're in a place made for music and music only. A generous sized stage takes up most of the eastern wall, while the bar in the middle of the room separates the haves and have nots. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus banner adorned the back wall of the stage, right behind the drum riser. Most of the crowd was in the front stage area, waiting patiently for the music to start. The crowd was a bit subdued until the lights dropped and the band showed up.

Guitarist Elias Reidy, drummer Jon Wilkes, bassist Joey Westwood and second guitarist Duke Kitchens took the stage first. Moments later, lead singer Ronnie Winter entered with a nonchalant wave to the crowd. "How you guys doin' tonight?" he asked as he grabbed the microphone, center stage. The crowd responded with a half hearted cheer and the band broke into their first song, "In Fate's Hands."

Ronnie dove into the song head first. Not physically; he wouldn't move from that center stage spot much all night. Emphasis with his hands, or propping one foot on the monitor, was about the extent of his action all night. But, he sang with intense conviction and passion, almost too much at times. He lost the crowd periodically throughout the show. They just wanted to rock. Ronnie wanted to rock them with a journey to the dark places of his soul, as well as guitars. At times the crowd followed, other times they didn't get it. Either way, you couldn't ignore the fact that he felt every word he sang.

By the third song of the set, the band was rocking the crowd during heavy hitters like "Waiting" and "Face Down." Elias and Duke's layered distortion, with Jon and Joey's driving rhythm, kept the crowd moving. These songs done back to back elicited some of the best crowd response of the night. Girls were singing to their friends and even guys hanging out at the bar were singing word for word. A small mosh pit began, but nothing that lasted. It wasn't really the kind of vibe for one at this gig.

Most of the lights during the show were fairly standard - a lot of backlighting, with a mix of red, blue, and green. The best intimate moment came about half way through the set. Adorned in backlit green, Ronnie picked up an acoustic guitar. "I want to thank everyone in this room who bought our new record," he said. "Rock's a dying breed. We're Dinosaurs." Then, the strumming of "Guardian Angel" washed over the crowd. Ronnie's voice built through the song until the crash of Jon's cymbals signaled the rest of the band to join in. The green light faded to blue as the band played to the end of the song, signaled by girl's screaming. It doesn't get more rock than that.

Joey Westwood

Every band has a song that maybe they just don't like, or maybe they're tired of playing. When Ronnie asked "What do you guys want to hear now?" you got the sense that he knew what was going to be requested. They played "Seventeen Ain't So Sweet," but the energy just wasn't there like the rest of the set. The crowd seemed to pick up on that and the response was very weak. However, moving right into "Atrophy" the energy was immediately boosted up and they had the audience back right away.

Ronnie announced the last song of the night as "Grim Goodbye," and began the vocal holding the microphone stand as if it was the very source of his power. The crowd sang back to the band during this song, Duke turned screamer and Elias played his guitar behind his head. Ronnie orchestrated the singing crowd before letting out a final scream, and then exited the stage. The rest of the band followed shortly after, amid a sea of feed back, with Jon leaving last and throwing his sticks to a lucky fan. The crowd cheered until the house lights came up, signaling the end of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' Arizona debut.

Being far from home and with a lackluster crowd at times, the boys gave it their all. They are not a band that has light show tricks, stage gimmicks, or costumes. Their show is all about the music and, at times, the intensity was a bit overwhelming for the average fan. But, for those that want their rock with a slice of vulnerability, Red Jumpsuit won't disappoint.


The Clubhouse
Tempe, AZ


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