October 11, 2007
Despite an unfair amount of hype and a mediocre opening act, State Radio put forth an amazing show in mid-October at the Social in Orlando.
Opening was Winter Park, Florida’s own “KG and the Band,” a band with a reggae-esque feel. Their sound was very lively, though their stage presence left quite a bit to be desired.
KG and company failed to connect completely with the audience, and came off as a very immature band. The few jumps that the bass player did seemed random and showy. Overall, as a unit, they looked uncomfortable.
However, the same couldn’t be said for State Radio. It seemed that as soon as they stepped on stage, the crowd became one, moving to the music almost immediately.
From the more reggae-inspired to the almost-punk, right down to the highly political song “Gunship,” State Radio’s songs kept the audience dancing until the last notes dripped out of the PA and the crowd left the building.
Chad Urmston, a former member of Dispatch, formed State Radio in 2002 after Dispatch announced its indefinite hiatus. They have a unique way of crafting their songs; they rarely finish writing them before road-testing them. Instead, they use their live shows as a vehicle for new songs. Because of this, many people who have stood in the audience at another State Radio show (or the final Dispatch show at the Hatch Shell in 2004) knew many of the songs played that night, though in some cases in different forms.
Always the political activist, Urmston took time out of the concert to promote awareness of the situations in Darfur and Zimbabwe, reminding the crowd that we, as Americans, have both the power and the responsibility to effect change in other countries.
Songs like “Ali Ali” and “Asthma Gladness” remind one of classics of the dub genre, while the best song of the night was “Calvado’s Chopper,” a powerful song with an excellent feel and a lot of drive.
The encore song, played on a guitar made out of a can of Castrol oil, was a quiet little number that gave the crowd a moment to reflect on the night.
State Radio is an oft-hyped band, descending from he highly-regarded Dispatch. While they don’t quite live up to the hype, they do provide an electrifying show that is certainly worth the money.