The Apostles of the Hidden Son are now
...for however long that lasts
It was a Wednesday night and folks in the tiny club piled in to dig The Thieves, a British rock trio that has successfully latched onto pre-glam, pre-arena, pre-punk, pub-style, U.S.-abandoned (for the most part) rock 'n' roll. Everyone there expected some good music, well done. But the intense and pretentious-less set by hometown openers The Apostles of the Hidden Son was rather unexpected. These kids proved that rock music is best served raw.
The Apostles of the Hidden Son is a young psychedelic trio barely outta the nest and barely outta their teens. Regardless, the band hits the stage hard, loud, and extremely raw. It's good, baby; very good, and getting better. But that visceral uncertainty that currently peppers the sound will fade as the band improves with each show and rehearsal.
New bands possess a certain magic; a naiveté and wonder. But the push always seems to be for polish and prowess and accessibility. Those things may sound good, but without grit and edge, they threaten to gentrify the music. It's an ill-conceived concept of better is better. It is within the newness that a refreshing candor remains. Before the attitude, bravado, the preening, and the requisite "everything all the time" sets in, a band strides the boards simply out of desire.
"I just wanted to be in a band," bassist/vocalist Dan Reynolds says matter-of-factly.
"I've always liked old rock 'n' roll," guitarist Brandon Henehan says. "It's just what I'm into."
Let's face it: rock 'n' roll's gonna get used up eventually. There ain't much left. It's already drowning pretty deep in cliché and excess. The leather is getting thin and the blues suede has done worn off. Ain't that a shame?
But the death throes, panic, and ensuing chaos when the survivors realize the great rock 'n' roll swindle really was a swindle all along oughta be fun to watch. And we can all sit and fiddle and watch it burn. That's because it will live on, actually...provided you embrace its brief bursts of creativity in little instances that happen when you least expect them.
Instances like the Apostles that Wednesday at The Bug Jar. On stage each of the three Apostles easily connected with the others... but just barely. They were awesome. The teetering push-and-pull of the band's newness came off as reckless and loose and genuine --- something virtually all bands lose as they grow. But not The Apostles. Not yet, anyway. This band is only three months old.
It all started when various cassettes passed around a circle of friends hipped the kids to bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pentagram, and The Deep. They were particularly caught by lyrics in The Deep's "Trip #76." Lyrics in that 1966 track gave them a name and a reason.
"Brandon was one day like, 'We should start a band called The Apostles Of The Hidden Son,'" drummer Ryan Thibault says.
And it would be as simple as that if the band didn't wind up being as good as it is.
Singer Reynolds climbs to the top of his vocal range and jumps while, creating a substantial P-Bass rumble. The boy plays loud.
Thibault's wall-busting drum solos pulverize and throb begging for arena elbow room. He rolls and explores the whole kit just long enough to summon Gonzo before the music kicks back in.
Henehan is a proficient and prolific player beyond his 20 years. On top of the rhythm section's thunder he traverses the neck incessantly and alarmingly, reminiscent of The Stooges' Ron Asheton's noisy rhythm and blues explorations. It's that beautiful combo of what a musician has plus what he wants to do that results in something completely different. And with the band's seamless segues into each song, it's as if Henahan is playing one 45-minute guitar solo. But he's not fumbling in the dark or showing off, it's just what he does.
"When I practice by myself," he says. "I just play solos like, the whole time. I just kinda developed as a lead player, I guess."
But already he shows the desire to improve and grow; potentially signaling the death of what makes his band so good right now. His previous band, The Teenage Junkies, broke up before this could happen to them.
"It's more technical now," Henehan says. "I like it 'cause it gives me more freedom to do what I want and that's cool." But as he and the band develop, a style and sound will emerge. It will be the band's own, but it will be different from what it is doing now and the members will have to adhere to it. Chances are The Apostles of the Hidden Son will be great if it can last (the survival rate for bands is pretty dismal) and even greater if it doesn't. Still...the desire.
"We'd like to go as far as we can with it," Henahan says. "We practice pretty much every single day."
"We've only had four shows," Thibault says. Those shows have wowed music fans old enough to appreciate the band's influences as well as kids who just want something loud and in your face. Thibault concedes that kids are mostly "into what's now." But suffice it to say The Apostles of the Hidden Son is now. And for however long now ends up being, it's gonna be good.