Smile Empty Soul is a band that was initially labeled by the press as “post-grunge,” meaning, the bands that emerged after the original “grunge” movement of the late 80‘s – early 90‘s who copped a more commercial, radio-friendly sound. Even though the “post-grunge” movement itself is all but gone, Smile Empty Soul remains and continues to produce hard-hitting, lyrically emotional modern rock, as they have on their sixth and most recent studio release, Chemicals. The band’s recent tour stop at The Masquerade (with tour mates Acidic and First Decree) showed that they have no intention of slowing down or catering to musical trends.
Singer and guitarist Sean Danielson, dreadlocked bassist Ryan Martin and drummer Jake Kilmer got right to it, and ran through six selections from Chemicals: set-opener “Black and Blue,” “Balance,” “Chemicals,” “New Low,” “False Alarm” and the best of the bunch for my money, the emotional “Sitting Ducks.” Many of the songs retain the classic 3-4 minute, quiet/loud song structure that Smile Empty Soul has always employed. A spot-on rendition of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Dead and Bloated” was a surprise addition to the set list, with Danielson shredding his vocal chords on the song’s acapella intro. Other songs included “Sleep Deprivation,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Adjustments” and “Bottom Of A Bottle.”
Smile Empty Souls’ songwriting, melodies and lyrics continue to evolve with each release, and they consistently deliver as a powerful live act.
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