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Rusted Root reunite for the better

   Amidst breakup rumors, Rusted Root brought its unique sound back to Syracuse, NY and tore the roof off of the Landmark Theater. Without a doubt, this band is alive and here to stay, a statement this reviewer did not think he would ever say. Sponsored by Le Moyne College, this was a show not to be missed.

   Daniel Cage tried his best to open the show but the late arriving audience showed little attention. While moving through songs off of his debut CD, Loud on Earth, Daniel showed off his voice, similar to that of Ed Roland of Collective Soul. The high point of his set came during the finale, his first single "Sleepwalking." Daniel came down from the stage, walking on the back of the seats trying to get the crowd to participate in a sing along. The laid back college crowd did nothing to help this talented new artist.

   Once the full crowd was in place, the lights were dimmed as Rusted Root walked onto the stage. This was one of only a few dates Rusted Root had scheduled after a long hiatus. With various solo projects, many fans believed the band to be finished. Joined again by Jenn Wertz, the band seemed to be rejuvenated by her presence. The first song played may have surprised some but the band started with what first brought people to the band, their hit single, "Send Me on the Way."

   With a setlist sticking mostly to their first major label CD, When I woke, the band tore through their old material and put new life into them with various jams and the addition of a few piano/keyboard solos. Reaching back to their independent LP, Cruel Sun, Root cranked out "Cat Turned Blue," including the special sampling of the beginning lyrics of Bob Dylan's classic, "All along the Watchtower."

   Other highlights included the tremendous duets of Jenn, and Liz Berlin. The two have tremendous voices and showcased them on, "Holding Onto Thunder," "Little Girls' Solidarity Song," and "Too Much," which featured Jim Donovan on bongos. Rusted Root also brought out a new song, "Welcome to my Party," which was a highlight of the show. The band slowed the set down again as lead vocalist Mike Glabicki did a solo rendition of the song "Scattered." As the set winded down, Rusted Root did what it does best, they jammed. With a viscous drum and percussion solo the band did not miss a beat. Once bassist Patrick Norman strolled across stage and picked his bass back up, the band had the fans at a huge high. With a tremendous rendition of "Ecstasy," the band pulled off what appeared to be the end of the show. After a short break, the band pulled off a stunning reappearance, and even more encore song, "Beautiful People."

   The only disappointment of the show was the crowd. The very laid back crowd did not give this great band its due respect. With the announcement that the band is currently rehearsing for an upcoming CD, one can only hope to catch them in concert. Rusted Root, welcome back and welcome to our party!

Scott Hamilton
Editor, EMPYRE Lounge

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