I’ve had the pleasure of seeing I Was Awake twice to date. The first time was with Appalaches, Deer Leap and West Meets Wess at an ultra-dive basement bar in Boston that misspelled the former band as “Apple Ashes” on their show flyer, and featured an often-sleeping sound guy sporting a Price Valiant haircut. The show was delayed because a friend of the ow Mner had a birthday that day, so said owner decided to assemble a group of guys who looked like models for Rigs of Dad to play a set of all the expected barroom classic rock cover tunes, which puzzlingly began right as the doors were supposed to open for the actual scheduled gig. The second time was when they shared a bill with Coastlands at my go-to venue here in Vermont, which boasts not only a lucid sound person, but also an attentive bar staff, water you aren’t warned away from drinking, and bathrooms that don’t smell intensely of sewage. Despite the wide gap between the presentation of the two venues, one thing struck me both times I saw I Was Awake play: these guys are pros.
There’s certainly a chance that you haven’t heard of I Was Awake before today, but that has nothing to do with their abilities or their presentation. I was wowed watching bassist Kyle Paradis move fluently through complex bass lines, guitarist Dan Goodhue shred back and forth between weighty riffs and lead flourishes, and drummer Sean Cahalin holding it down behind the kit with a notable combination of precision, flash, and charisma. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Chris Harvey also stands above your average local band lead singer; he’s got real chops, both an impressive vocal range and a clear understanding of the difference between being a singer and being a frontman. Although the bands are stylistically much different, my first impression of Harvey was very similar to my first impression of Ty Gurwicz, who fronts Ghastly Sound here in the Burlington area. The moment they open their mouth and let fly that first note, you immediately say “Oh. This is different than what I’m used to.”
It’s clear that others in the Boston area scene have had this experience as well, as I Was Awake is a local favorite amongst other musicians; at the Boston show I spied Philip Jamieson and a couple of the other Caspian members in the audience showing their support for their hometown brethren (both Caspian and I Was Awake hail from Beverly, a little north of Boston, right on the Atlantic Ocean). It’s no surprise, as I Was Awake is a band that puts on a show that would befit clubs much larger than the ones they typically find themselves in.
Still, they seem to be a band that flies under the radar despite releasing some really strong material over the past eight years. So I’m excited to be able to share their new video with Heavy Blog readers today. “Collectors” was originally released in April of last year, and I was actually supposed to premiere this video quite a while ago, but it was unfortunately held up in post-production. But it’s ready to go now, and we’re giving you the first peek.
The quality of the video is not unlike their sound – clean, crisp, direct and well-executed. Its theme revolves around the often-ridiculous side effects seen in commercials for any number of drugs on the market, except in this case these potential afflictions come along with listening to the song. I’m happy to report, however, that even after watching the video several times I haven’t (yet) displayed any of the negative side effects, so it should be safe to proceed.
If you enjoy what you hear with “Collectors,” make sure to visit the I Was Awake Bandcamp page and show your support.