In Concert: Honor By August at The Pirate’s Cove

When I go out to see a concert, I usually stay away from those shows that feature big name artists. For the price of one ticket for someone who can fill a stadium or arena, you can most likely see six or seven concerts featuring independent bands or artists. And it is these artists that seem to put on the best shows, as they are still trying to make a name for themselves. One such band that is currently on tour is Honor By August.

Honor By August is a quartet that is made up of Michael Pearsall on lead vocals and guitar, Evan Field on lead guitar, Chris Rafetto on bass and vocals, and Brian Shanley on drums and percussion. The band has released one EP (2006’s Photographs) and two albums (2007’s Drowning Out The Television and 2009’s Found). The band is currently on tour in support of Found and an upcoming EP, and that is the reason the band came to the Cleveland area. The last time Honor By August came to the Cleveland area, they opened for Red Wanting Blue at The House of Blues. This time, however, the Washington D.C. group headlined the show. And while the show took place inside The Pirate’s Cove, a venue that holds a mere fraction of what the House of Blues holds, the small Monday Night crowd was there to enjoy the music. Even though there wasn’t a large amount of people in the crowd, those who were in attendance were very attentive; just the types of audience bands like to play to.

When Honor By August took to the compact stage inside The Pirate’s Cove in Downtown Cleveland, it was already 10:45 PM. Even though this would not be that late on any other day, it was for a Monday Night concert.

The band played several of the songs off of their newest album of Found, including “Awake And Alive” and the album’s title track. They also played some of the tracks from Drowning Out The Television, which included “Only In Photographs”.

One of the best things about Honor By August is seeing them live. When the band plays their songs in concert, they do slightly different arrangements than the ones found on their albums. The most interesting part of the performing process that the band uses is the way that they enter into a song. The intros to their songs are what set the live songs apart from the studio versions.

During Honor By August’s set, the band invited Jason Young, the drummer for The Ruse, up on stage. With Honor By August, Jason did a live version of “Time To Go,” a song he performs with his side project of Heartour (pronounced “Hear Tour”).

It was during their set that Honor By August also played “Don’t Give Up On Me,” a song that is on a new EP that is currently being pressed. So keep your eyes and ears open for new material from Honor By August.

The night’s festivities began with Dying for a Second Chance. The five-piece outfit out of Akron, Ohio kept changing their lineup throughout their set: Sometimes, the band was a quintet with both male and female vocal; other times, it was a quartet without the female keyboardist; and sometimes, a quartet with the singer just handling the vocals. The twenty-five minute set showed the band performing different styles, different sounds and different feelings. If the members of Dying for a Second Chance can gel what is there into one viable sound, they will go far.

It was Luna Halo who performed the night’s most interesting set of music. The Nashville, Tennessee band split their time on stage between their own brand or rock and roll that can be found on their 2006 self-titled release (which features their single “Kings And Queens”) and some cover songs such as: “Human” by The Killers and “Take On Me” by A-Ha, a song that the members of Luna Halo never actually played together until that time and place. But as the band threw it to the wind to see what happened, the audience was treated to a great version of the 80’s song. Although the band is currently without a label, Luna Halo is hard at work on material for a future release.

Of all of the bands that performed on Monday night, the band that may have actually been the best known to the audience was The Ruse. In fact, the audience seemed to connect best with the Los Angeles, California band as they went through their 40-minute set of music. The Ruse spent most of their time on stage performing music from their album Love S Ex Confusion, which included a live version of their single “I Can’t Stop”. As the album has just been released, The Ruse is on tour currently promoting it.

The Monday Night concert for Honor By August inside The Pirate’s Cove was a great way to discover some great independent rock bands that deserve to find a larger audience. To discover the music of Honor By August, go to www.honorbyaugust.com. For more information on the opening bands, click on their links.