Heart and soul

Penrose and friends bring the heat
By CHRIS CONTI  |  August 20, 2008

The Cranston-based quartet Penrose continues to impress, delivering a fervent set at Lupo’s last Friday. The crew has been busy since they swept two categories in this year’s Best Music Poll. The headliners at the all-ages affair had some tough acts to follow, though, beginning with a pair of impressive up-and-coming Attleboro bands — Aston and the more screamo Acadia, who were quickly signed by Boston indie label Robotica Records in 2006 and have released a pair of EPs. Taunton’s Fordoes Me Quite followed and debuted tracks from the forthcoming album Vestalia, and sounded much more intense in the live setting, probably cognizant of the hard-hitting lineup to come. Lead singer Tim White of the Coming Weak was all smiles standing atop the PA as the crowd chanted “T-C-Dub!” between songs and clapped rabidly for the Providence five-piece who recently opened at the Warped Tour stop at the Comcast Center and released their debut EP Consider This late last year. TCW also premiered new tracks from a full-length due out this fall. A standard practice of the evening was the repeated thanks and genuine appreciation to the crowd that closed out the Coming Weak’s set and set the pace for Penrose, who took the stage around 11:15 pm and tore through a vicious 45-minute set. Following a Close Encounters-type intro, drummer/vocalist Mark Fallavollita took the reins and led the way on “Slight of Hand,” chasing down Robb Pearson’s nimble fretwork. The set included plenty from their ’07 debut Azimuth, as well as unreleased tracks and a surprise Spinal Tap-like move early on, hinted at by lead guitarist Pearson via email the day before the show:

“We don’t really want to be known as a band that spends the whole set doing stage antics, but we have a couple of new tricks that will hopefully drive everybody nuts.” And with that I immediately feared some Fall Out Boy stage theatrics or cheesy Taking Back Sunday-type nonsense, like lead singer Don Curtin lassoing a mic cord around his neck. I still don’t know what the hell I saw, but there was Pearson and Curtin, facing each other hunched over shoulder to shoulder and playing each other’s guitars, seemingly fused together while shredding away to the unabashed delight of the crowd, which didn’t show any signs of fading during the four-hour event. Penrose hit harder as the set progressed, closing out with a triple play of big hooks on “Angles and Monikers,” “Azimuth,” and the FM-ready “Our Next Disaster.” 

“The crowd was so energetic all night, so responsive, and they really helped us maintain our energy and pushed us through a great set,” Pearson extolled. “This was probably the best performance that we’ve had as a band since our conception.

 “The fact that we pour our heart and soul into our music translates into success,” Pearson stated. “Our friends, family, and fans understand how this band is the most impor-tant thing in our lives, and because it means so much to us, it translates into meaning so much to them.”

I caught up with him a few days after the show and asked if the band gets nervous playing bigger venues like Lupo’s.

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