The Band You Need To Hear: AttaBoy

 

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AttaBoy Concert Review(October 12, 2016 Leetonia High School)

Remember the days when musicians had to load up in a van, drive many miles, set up their own stage and lights, and then play their concert, instead of recent times when the acts would just join a reality show to perform?  This method was how many major acts got their start, either playing in bars, gyms, or parking lots, building the fan base from the ground up.

AttaBoy is one of those bands that is doing just that, but also putting on an energetic live show with great songs. I recently got to see their live show twice in a day (they performed a short set during the day for Leetonia, Ohio Schools for students during the school day before performing that night), and they impressed me. The band’s day set was completely different than at night (the night show was more of a normal concert- lights, smoke machines, and some cool effects as well), where the day set was to introduce their music plugging the night show.

The lineup of Ryan Payne (lead singer/guitar/piano), Jeff Edgel (guitar/piano), Melanie Morris (bass, vocals), and Christian Morris (drums) performed songs from their current CD “Vitals,” which was an entertaining show for all ages, not just for the mostly youth crowd. Payne is not only a great singer, but an engaging front man; dancing and getting the crowd into joining him in the songs, while Edgel’s guitar work was solid throughout. Melanie’s backing vocals was also strong, along with a steady bass line. Drummer Christian Morris was a wild man throughout the show with his energy, stick tricks, and solid beats, while helping work the crowd by helping them swaying their arms to the songs and singing along with them, taking some of the pressure off of Payne. The band’s love of playing music was infectious and genuine throughout the show, which is rare in most acts in any genre. It was refreshing to see.

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The show was not all a high powered party throughout, as Payne gave time to talk about his faith and testimony, asking the crowd to consider asking for help in dealing with situations, and to challenge the audience to search and see for themselves about God and Christianity.  Most of the crowd was not a Christian audience, so this part was a nice touch for those that are fans of their Christian foundation, but it was not forced like other typical Christian acts.

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Overall the show was very entertaining and even started a few minutes late, due to the fact that the band was still handling their merchandise table (as I said they do it all themselves, from the set up, driving the van, controlling the lights and sound on stage, managing the merch table, and even staying afterwards until everyone got their needs- from photos to signing pictures and just talking to the crowd). As soon as the last person left, they went straight to work tearing down the lights to move on to their next gig-total grass roots effort. The band even told the youth that their policy is pay what you can for their CDs-if you have $5 or $20-just to keep fans happy in getting their music out.

The band had some fun interactions with the crowd, including bringing up audience members to have a lip synch battle and held a contest who could post the best photo of the night onto their social media page to win a free CD. The closer, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” was a crowd favorite to sing along to as well.

 

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But how is the CD “Vitals” for those that cannot see them live?

“Vitals” starts off with “Set Sail”, which has a catchy guitar hook that sticks into your head throughout the song. The song kicks off the mostly positive themes throughout the CD with lyrics like “It’s time to leave the lost battles behind/Hey I’m ready to start again.”

The song “So Good” is currently my favorite track on the album. This also was a crowd favorite during the live show. The song encourages the listener “Let’s live like it’s so good to be alive.” This is a fun Pop song. Payne’s voice reminds me of Nate Ruess (formally of the band Fun) and has a great Pop sound to it.

The unique “Come Alive” has an Industrial vibe to it, along with a Pop feel. The opening bass line reminds me of “Running with the Devil” by Van Halen, and kicks into a heavier song. I could compare it to a Pop version of Nine Inch Nails in the vibe, but that doesn’t do the song justice (and because I’m not a fan of NIN). This is one of the more creative songs on the CD.

“Dance The Night Away” is a song dealing with people, especially the youth, not conforming to society’s expectations. “We refuse to live this masquerade” and “We were made to need each other/Everybody come together/We can bring this night to life.” The song is a unifying song that encourages that everyone has a place in the world.

Another favorite of mine is “Every Time,” which is perfect for me due to the soft Pop/ 1980s feel to it (me being a lover of 80s music as evident by this page). This song has the Christian theme, with the lyrics “You’re the hope reclaiming this life/Every Time I get a little lost/You find me.” The piano and guitars in the song are softer than some of the other songs, which just compliments the feel, not overpowering, and could have been on any 1980s Pop or AC charts back in the day.

“We Are More” has a memorable sing-a-long hook to the song. Lyrics like “We want to find ourselves in something that will prove/We are more/So what’s it gonna be/We’re fighting for our lives to redefine identity.” Once again, a theme of people finding their identity in society is themed in this song.

The piano heavy “Not Alone” starts out as a normal song, but double times in the bridge, which brings a creative aspect to what may feel like a basic song at first. The song turns into a surprising different style, which is unique.

The ballad “Help” starts out mellow but increases throughout the song, which isn’t a typical mid tempo song, which complements the theme of the lyrics.

My least favorite song on the CD is “Shut It Down,” which lyrically is about a school on lockdown. The song has a Punk/Ska feel to it. The drumming on the song is technically sound and nice to study, but the song itself did not resonate with me. It is not a bad song, and the youth audience will like it, it just is not my type of music compared to all the other songs on the CD. It’s not a weak song, just compared to the others, it wasn’t a favorite.

Overall the CD is really good and creative. It is not a simple Pop Christian CD, in fact there is no preaching in the CD. Many listening to it may not even know the members are Christian, which when interviewing the members, they made it an effort to not alienate to just a Christian audience. The songs are mostly run around 3-4 minutes (the total time is a little over 30 minutes for the 10 songs), which is great-no unnecessary solos or extended choruses. I always believed in leaving the listener wanting more, not waiting for the fade out to end for an extra 3 minutes (like early Bad Company songs). The lyrics are solid and positive, which more bands need to have in today’s culture in my opinion. I encourage you to check out this band, and follow them.  This act would be great for community events looking for some great music and positive messages.

For everything about the band, please check them out at www.attaboyonline.com, where you can follow everything about them, including all their social media pages. I also want to thank Ryan, Melanie, Christian, and Jeff for taking the time to give me the information I needed for the review.

Track Listing : 1.Set Sail  2.Every Time  3.Shut It Down  4. Dance The Night Away 5.Come Alive 6.We Are More 7.Help 8.Not Alone 9. When You’re Lost 10. So Good

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