This was my fifth time seeing the Ohio band Red Sun Rising in concert and the first time as a show headliner. Having just wrapped up opening for a leg of the Godsmack/Shinedown tour, it’s exciting to watch the growth progression of this talented group as they begin this new chapter in their musical career. Often, concertgoers frequent smaller, local venues to hear new music of which they might not yet be familiar. However, this time I saw a large contingent of fans who most definitely knew who Red Sun Rising was and who were determined to get as close as possible to the guys both during and after the show; a dedicated fan base in the making.
The band formed in 2006 and is comprised of Mike Protich [vocals/guitar], Ryan Williams [guitar], Dave McGarry [guitar/vocals], Ricky Miller [bass/vocals], and Pat Gerasia [drums]. With two solid albums to their credit, Red Sun Rising had two singles from Polyester Zeal reach #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart while their more recently released album Thread hit #3 on the Heatseekers Album Chart (a ‘breaking and entering’ chart which highlights sales by new and developing artists).
Red Sun Rising often uses the hashtag #WeAreThread in an effort to describe their musical style. They’ve said that their influences are like “threads in a fabric and they cannot truly be described as one particular genre.” I’m going to take that “thread” genre analogy one step further in an attempt to accurately describe their sound that night. It was as if each musical element was woven together like a beautiful tapestry. Dave, Ryan, and Ricky’s guitar lines intertwined and blended with each other, sometimes artistically and sometimes in driving, hard rock fashion, depending on the song. Pat’s percussion interlaced the song’s melodies with a variety of artistic beats and accents, always keeping the songs interesting and moving forward.
And then there’s THAT VOICE. Mike’s vocals are rich in tonal dimensions with an expansive range. He can vacillate effortlessly between a powerful, heart grabbing sound to a gentler, quieter tone highlighting his artistry as a truly accomplished musician. The added dynamic of the beautiful harmonies by the backing vocalists also contributed to the richness of the band’s sound.
Two other components that can make a show even better are stage design/presence and song selection. Red Sun Rising chose to accent the stage with soft pendant lighting creating a warm golden glow that made the venue seem even more intimate. Ryan, Dave and Ricky covered the whole stage and interacted with the crowd, while Mike would often focus his gaze on a single fan and seem to sing to just them. As a headliner you can be more creative with song choice and arrangement, and the band did a great job balancing the setlist with songs that really showed their diversity and chops. It introduced fans to some of their music that isn’t as well-known but definitely worthy of more play time.
Veins/ Amnesia/Emotionless/Clarity/Uninvited/The Otherside/El Lazo/Blister/MyMuse/Evil like You/Stealing Life/Deathwish
Philanthropically, Red Sun Rising is passionate about the organization Musicares, which provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. The band often mentions their support for mental health awareness initiatives and a portion of all of their ticket sales is going directly to the organization. On social media the band has had a very open conversation with fans regarding suicide awareness and prevention. In a recent interview with Billboard Mike said, " Just seeing people be that open and public about it is really moving -- and that's what we wanted to do. It's debunking that stigma that you can't talk about it and letting people see there's other people like them that have struggled with mental health issues. I think it's important to just make that outlet available to people."
Make sure to experience Red Sun Rising’s video of their song “Stealing Life” which features people who have been impacted by suicide. The song is one of the band’s masterpieces, beautiful in melody and message. Red Sun Rising continues their tour through December. Make sure to get your tickets early, as shows are now selling out! For upcoming tour dates, click here.