It is without hesitation that I say January 20th, 2017 was an amazing night. Starset held their “Vessels” CD release party in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio with a sold out crowd at Express Live!. There is no doubt in my mind that every person that bought a ticket was in attendance. Walking from one side of the venue to the other was a challenge, with people being shoulder to shoulder all the way across the venue. With support from 8LB Pressure, Harmless Habit, and Liberty Deep Down, not a single band failed to impress.
The night certainly started right with Columbus alternative pop band, Liberty Deep Down (LDD). The energy that came from the band was infectious. Front man Dom Frissora was full of life and vigor as he jumped around on stage, with the rest of the band just as energetic. The band had no problem getting the crowd moving from the start and only excited the crowd more when covering classic Backstreet Boys song “Everybody (Backstreets Back).” The cover left the crowd hyped and craving more.
The next band gave us pure and unrelenting Rock N’ Roll. Harmless Habit stole the audience’s attention from song one. Along with their own rockin’ tunes, the band performed a tribute to Starset members Bates’ and DeChants’ band Downplay with their cover of the bands song “Sleep.” Sending beach balls flying across the hands of the crowd, they turned their set into a party! The party continued when they were joined on stage by Frissora of LDD to perform another Backstreet Boys classic “Larger Than Life.”
Direct support was a band that I have come to know very well, 8LB Pressure. I have seen 8LB dozens of times, but this was by far their most dynamic performance I have seen yet. Their set started in a different way than most with eerie dialogue from “The Purge.” The band dominated the stage with their presence. They blew me away with their energy, along with their stage lighting and smoke dancing across the stage. With a promised surprise for their fans, 8lb Pressure debuted their metal cover of Twenty One Pilots’ song “Heathens.” There was not a single person standing still.
With a crowd pumped up from the three outstanding opening acts, Starset created even more anticipation with a low mechanic hum that resonated throughout the venue. The only lighting on stage was coming from vocalist Dustin Bates’ emulator. As soon as the band finished walking onto the stage, the crowd went wild. Bates had the appearance of a sexy, suave mad scientist, while his bandmates wore white “flight suits” with masks that illuminated their faces with various colors. The light show across the stage as well as what came from the band members’ masks created a kaleidoscope of colors that left me in awe. The drummer alone was a spectacle of elaborate colors and lights. He was enclosed in a plexiglass cube that allowed the audience to see in only when illuminated. With lights coming from the glass cube, his drum kit, and his mask, he was a unique medley of colors throughout the show. Every song was played with passion by every member. The band was accompanied by a violinist and cellist. Both added to the magnitude of talent on stage. Starset’s performance was beyond spectacular. They are absolutely a “must see” band.