Monday, March 30, 2015

Balloon Ride Fantasy album release show - Pittsburgh Winery - March 28, 2015 - Photos and Concert Review

Photo credit: Long Hong
This Saturday evening at the Pittsburgh Winery, Balloon Ride Fantasy celebrated the Record Release of their full length self-titled LP.

Five-piece Pittsburgh rockers Wicked Chief opened up the night with an overall unmemorable set that really didn't serve to translate their sound well to a live show. The best song in the set was their only new song of the night, aptly named "New Song". One issue was that you could hardly hear the keys and so you begin to wonder why Wicked Chiefs even need someone on keys when it's always drowned out by everything else.  The crowd was appreciative of the set and I'd be interested to hear more new songs from Wicked Chief as the most promise was found in their new song, but their live show needs better sound mixing first.

Balloon Ride Fantasy came on after to perform a great set that was a mixture of their latest songs from their LP and songs from their EP. They're a 6-piece fantasy rock band, comprised of two people on vocals, two on guitars, two on keys, one bassist and one drummer. Any time you have more than 5 members in a band, it always interesting to see how well all the different musical components work together as a whole. For Balloon Ride Fantasy, every piece is ever present in their sound and you appreciate how they've crafted their sound to utilize every instrument very well.

Their set consisted of songs that range from incredibly dance-y to moodier tracks, all infused and injected with a great synth sound that was invoking the crowd at the Pittsburgh Winery to get out the seats and dance along. They opened strong with "Automaton", from their new LP, and had a great flow within their set from song to song with breaks that worked well for both their changes and allowing the audience to catch their breath before continuing on. Other notable songs were "Spellcaster", their Bowie cover and the single off their Balloon Ride Fantasy LP, "Species". There was no traditional encore because, in the words of their vocalist/guitarist Chris, they "literally don't know any other songs."

A lot of credit goes to Jordan, on keys and programming, for his work with the lights during their set. They were timed to match the tracks they were used in and it really transformed the look of the stage of the Pittsburgh Winery to make the stage all their own. Speaking to the band after their show, I learned they were working to add more fixtures to their stage show to further evoke their style. I very much look forward to seeing how they work to tighten up their set and show and would encourage anyone to check out future shows from Balloon Ride Fantasy.

-- Long Hong