Pop rock band The Stolen stopped at Sunrise’s Anonymous Guitars on Aug. 3 on a date of their summer tour with indie/rock band Avenues. Local bands Mike Valdes and the Noise and Deafrabbit provided support.
The night started off with Mike Valdes and The Noise, a pop rock band from Miami. They proved that a live performance doesn’t have to elaborate to be great. Their stage set up was uncomplicated: a keyboard, a plugged in acoustic guitar and a simple drum set. Their heartfelt songs evoked images of sitting around a bonfire with a group of good friends.
Towards the end of their set, one of the songs had a great guitar flourish at the end that seemed to take Valdes by surprise. In response, the guitarist (whose name remains elusive) said, “I was feeling fancy.” The band’s single, “Letters”, was the fastest song of the set in that it was more drum driven and got some clapping action from the audience. They also did a cover of The 1975’s “Chocolate”. They stamped their own brand of humor on it by inserting a “that’s what she said” joke after one of the lyrics.
Valdes and The Noise are one of the few local bands who’ve announced that their music is available on Apple Music. They also took a unique approach with their download cards: interested parties were given a small, white chapbook held together with a brass tack and an off-white tag that had the word “dreamer” handwritten on it. The first page had the lyrics to their song “Letters” printed on it and on the inside page, a download code for their music and an explanation of the concept behind their newest album, “Dreamer”. Following that, more lyrics were printed on each page.
Deafrabbit, a shoegaze/alternative band from Hollywood, Fla., played next. They seemed to be the odd band out as their set ranged from an instrumental track, a melancholy spoken word track, and a song called “Bobby” that had a great guitar line. They also played a game of “musical instruments” as vocalist/guitarist Bry Beller switched to drums and bassist Christopher Gil jumped to vocals. Gil showed a remarkable talent for vocals that made me want to see him sing more. “Right” had some nice harmonies and showed an ability to switch between clean vocals and screaming. Beller continued to show a self-deprecating sense of humor as, when they had to take a mini break to tune their instruments, he told the crowd he had a few “lame jokes” to tell them while they waited. This continued when he started talking about their single: “This song is not very good, but…” and it had great vocals. Their set also featured an Underoath cover.
Avenues, a two-piece indie rock band from Connecticut, played next. Their stage set up was even more simple than Valdes and the Noise’s: just a plugged in acoustic guitar and drums. While some acoustic acts’ songs tend to blend together after a while, this was not the case with Avenues.
Their set had a very upbeat, almost beachy sound to it and the songs’ beginnings and endings could be clearly differentiated from each other. Singer/guitarist Brendan Sullivan did, however, have his eyes closed most of the set which made it hard for the crowd to connect with him. They also showed camaraderie with tour mates The Stolen as they dedicated the last song of their set to a member of the band.
Headliners The Stolen closed out the night. The band consists of Dom Cuce on vocals, Rob Chiarappa on guitar and vocals, Kevin Smart on bass, Mikey McDonald on guitar, and Mike Chiarappa on drums. They showcased personality when they sound checked with “one, two, pop punk” and when they joked that they could be found on Christian Mingle, Tinder, and Farmers Only, saying that the last one especially would get lots of traffic.
Their high-energy set featured a 1975 cover, single “Chardonnay”, and “Motion Sickness”, among others. “Chardonnay” and “Motion Sickness” were the standout tracks of the set. “Chardonnay”’s opening riff sounded even better when played live and throughout the set, Chiarappa showed serious talent. There were some great harmonies on the song as well. Cuce’s vocals were especially great on “Motion Sickness” and drummer Chiarappa is so intense when playing. It was great to watch.
Fans can catch The Stolen supporting The Big Time on their fall tour, coming to Orlando’s BackBooth on Nov. 21 and Jacksonville’s Jack Rabbits on Nov. 22.