Envy on the Coast
Rock N Roll Pizza – August 31st 2007
I get a lot of CDs in the mail. People mail me CDs, I give them a listen, write a review and move on. But when "Lucy Gray" by Envy on the Coast hit my CD player I had to take note. I have heard nothing but rave reviews of this band. I set up an interview at the Warped Tour and arrived with great anticipation. The group, barely in their twenties, accomplished more in a single year than most bands could hope to accomplish in the lifespan- touring with some of the more notable groups of the day including Head Automatic and Circa Survive. Unfortunately for me, no one showed up. I stopped by the tent, everyone was gone.
So having had a less than awesome time at the Warped Tour, save for meeting the wonderful men of Meriwether (of whom you will hear a great deal shortly) and seeing the always amazing boys of Chiodos (probably the nicest band in existence, or that ever was) I decided to get the hell out of there and not look back. Lucky for me Envy on the Coast came back to Portland a few days later with the Receiving End of Sirens and Emanuel.
Arriving early I made a phone call to the guys to set up an interview and then review the show, their Tour Manager, Larry, met me outside and began escorting me in. After a brief altercation with the doorman (I'll call him Hayden for reasons of my own) I decided to just meet with the group outside by their van and have a brief chat. Outside I spoke with singer, Ryan Hunter, bassist, Jeremy Velardi, and rythm guitar player, Brian Byrne, all of whom (despite their best efforts) seemed tired and famished. But who could blame them? Playing Warped Tour is a feat unto itself. You wake up at the butt-crack of dawn, run like hell to secure a tent space, set up all your stuff, then kids show up and you have peddle your wears to them until you play, set up your gear, play, break down, then sell more shit.
Once all that is done, you pack up the van and haul ass to the next city to do it all over again. To jump from that tour to another tour without a day off is enough to exhaust anyone. But Envy on the Coast takes it all in stride, sucks it up, and we chatted for a good ten minutes. Heading back in to the venue, and dealing with Sr. Hayden again, and entered the bar area of Rock N Roll Pizza and took a seat, waiting for the first band to hurry the hell off the stage. Thankfully I made a new friend, Matt, and played pool through the first two bands which is probably the only thing that kept me from leaving. After being schooled by Matt, and severly distracted by his engaging girlfriend, I sauntered over to the stage area to watch Envy.
Watching this band play, you can almost immediately see how touring has influenced the groups mannerisms and music. The singer loves Darly Palumbo, his voice and the way he moves is immpecibly similar to Glassjaw's troubled troubadour. But the great thing is he doesn't try and copy the style, rather he takes it and makes it his own. The same thing can be said about the music, there's elements of many styles in there but they all have a common thread. Bands nowadays rip off each other, or whatever is popular that month, send it to Victory, tour for two months and then break up over musical differences.
Envy on the Coast really understands the dynamic of letting a band influence them, but not ripping them off completely to sound like a knock-off Atreyu or Avenged Sevenfold (a la Escape the Fate). The most bewildering thing about this band is how savvy they are for being barely in their twenties… some of the group isn't even old enough to drink! But the group put on a stellar show, and from the crowd response (and the less than welcoming response Emanuel subsequently received) it seems as though Envy should have headlined (I didn't stick around for the Receiving End so I'm assuming Envy did better since every single person in the audience knew every song and was singing along). Catchy pop lyrics, over well played rock guitars with a hint of indie-pop, and heavy almost metal drums, all combining into a sea of memorable hooks have made Envy on the Coast what they are today… let's just hope it stays that way.