“Wow!” I remarked to myself as I hustled into Trees Dallas last weekend. “I’ve never seen this place so packed!” I was to cover RED, whom I’ve heard good things about yet never managed to find the time to check them out. Therefore, I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty excited to get the opportunity. Unfortunately, I had missed all of the openers this night, because I was also shooting a show over in Fort Worth, and the sets were timed just barely far enough apart for me to make it back to Dallas and cover these guys, too. Thank goodness I did. When I walked in to my favorite Dallas venue, I was immediately surprised by the sheer size of the crowd! All singing along, word for word. In fact, I may have underestimated the scope of the fanbase RED was going to amass. Not only that, but they really had a visually stunning show already in progress!
My first glimpse was of the stage, dark and shrouded in smoke, lending quite a sense of mystery to the whole affair. Then they kicked on the almost blindingly bright white stage lights! You could only see silhouettes of the four on stage. From then on, with an almost cinematic feel, they blew the roof off the place. RED’S singer Michael Barnes was impressive, with a strong, decent range while Guitarist Anthony Armstrong laid down some lovely, rocking tones. As you’d expect, Brother Randy Armstrong on the bass was just pummeling you with a thunderous line that really fills out their sound nicely. And, I’d be remiss to leave out drummer Dan Johnson; rock solid behind the kit, he was.
After a couple songs, and me squeezing/pushing/contorting through the almost foam pit-like crowd, they stopped, and took a moment to promote a cause they are concerned about. The extremely nice and helpful lady (who shared her spot on the end of a bench, so I could get a clear view) told me she had seen them four or five times already, and this was the first time they took the time to really convey a message. That message was concerning the lack of clean drinking water for children in Africa. RED’S offer tonight was that everyone who donated would receive a free copy of their new album Of Beauty and Rage. Michael then asked the audience if they were thirsty, and proceeded to douse the crowd in water. I figured out immediately upon walking in, I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the front of the stage, so I was at least safe from the shower, and had an excellent spot up on the balcony to watch the crowd erupt with excitement!
They proceeded to rock out, with more smoke and lights and colors than I thought were even possible. One thing I’d like to mention is how cool the fans were! On multiple occasions I was tapped on the shoulder and offered a better spot to shoot a few frames from. Everybody was incredibly friendly, the staff was on point, as usual, and the band had so much energy. The place was hopping!
In the end, it was a great night. It was wicked cool to be able to check out a new alt rock band, meet some cool people, say hey to the totally rad staff at Trees, and even pick up a cool Trees T-shirt, which I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time (Thanks Taylor!). If you get the chance to see these guys, do so. Though be sure to get there early so you can carve out a good spot; because if you’re late, you’ll be in the back of the room. These guys can fill a venue for sure!
LIVE REVIEW/PHOTOS: RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD/ARDENT OWL MEDIA