When I began doing concert photography, one of the first shows I covered was at the House Of Rock, north of Baltimore, in 2013. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I were there to see Eye Empire perform, but there were a slew of openers to test our lenses out on first. One of those bands, it so happened to be, was Skitzo Calypso. In fact, I distinctly remember holding the door open for Brad Cox and company as we were making our way into the restaurant, unaware of who it was until later that night. So, how wonderful is it that five years later I had the honor of photographing their return to the stage, not to mention getting to see several other great acts alongside them, at Transcendent Events’ Halloween show on October 27 at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore?
One of those acts is a fairly new band called Rise Among Rivals, whose debut, self-titled EP only dropped in June. Yet, it was very clear from the moment they took the stage that they possess a large and enthusiastic fanbase. And I can understand why: they deal out a heavy-yet-catchy band of hard rock, and it’s executed extremely well. Throw in the fact that they’re all extremely animated individuals, and you have a set which is not only fun to listen to, but watch to boot.
Skitzo Calypso’s return to the stage — after a two year absence — was well received. Particular highlights for me were two songs off their recent release entitled A.L.I.C.E., “Reaching For An Emerald Sky,” and “The Tortured and the Hare,” both of which exploded with energy and drove the band and the crowd forward into the night. Of course, I state that as someone who was pressed up against the stage, banging my head to the rhythm of Gary Holmes’ bass drum. Still, looking around and making sure not to headbutt anyone as I lost myself in the music gave me a decent sense that I was not alone in my enjoyment. One person who was definitely enjoying himself was bassist Tyler Garrett, who was like a man possessed the entire night. He’d scream to the sky and fall upon the floor, all while keeping the foundation in place for the dual-guitar assault of Patrick Sise and Bryan Holmes as they ripped through track after track. Part way through the set, frontman and vocalist Brad Cox took a moment to speak from the heart about the late Chris O’Rourke, former Skitzo guitarist and friend, and dedicated their song “Until My Heart 5tops Beating” to his memory. Though obviously an emotional moment for him, he carried on in his usual manner, literally sweating energy and belting out note after note. Fans were enjoying the show so much that, by the time the end arrived, the band had to convince them to leave. Reluctantly, they dispersed, but certainly happier than they arrived after having received a healthy serving of rock n’ roll, not to mention a bag of Skittles in standard Skitzo Calypso fashion.