In Concert: Lower 13

The Cleveland Music Festival just finished up for 2011. During the festival sixty-five Rock and/or Heavy Metal bands were given the chance to perform for the festivalgoers in attendance. It was during the festival that I was able to check out a band that I was actually going to be writing about. That band was Lower 13.

Lower 13 is a Heavy Metal band that makes its home in Parma, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland). The band is made up of Patrick Capretta on guitar/vocals, Sean Balog on bass/vocals and Eric Kruger on drums. This trio of young musicians creates a heavy metal sound that is in the classic style of bands like Metallica (no Rap-Metal here). It is this classic Heavy Metal style that helped push Lower 13 into the final rounds of the High School Rock-Off here in Greater Cleveland several times, so it seems that their music really does register with
people who hear it. That was very apparent on Saturday Night’s performance
during the 2011 Cleveland Music Festival.

Kicking off a festival could be a gift or a curse, depending on how many people
show up for the early hours of the event. However, since there already was a
sizable crowd in attendance from the panel discussions that finished up a half
hour before, Lower 13 already had a built-in audience for their initial
performance/kick off for the Saturday Hard Rock/Metal night of the Cleveland
Music Festival. And while it is true that they had a captive audience for more
than half of their set as no other band was performing, Lower 13 only lost
about one-fourth of that audience when the second band began.

As with most festivals, the bands performing during the Cleveland Music
Festival were each given about thirty minutes to perform. It was good to see
that Lower 13 did not waste any of their time on stage as they loaded their set
with some of their best material, opting to include only one new song while
showcasing six others that were released on the band’s 2010 release, Rabid.

Once Lower 13 hit the main stage inside Peabody’s Downunder for their set, it
became clear rather fast why the band is one of the most promising bands in
Greater Cleveland. The play between guitarist Patrick Capretta and bassist Sean
Balog was great to watch; but ultimately, it was drummer Eric Kruger who kept
my attention: Very rarely in today’s music world do you see anyone toss their
hair to the beat of the music anymore; especially since the trend of shorter
hair on musicians became the norm. All three members of Lower 13 performed like
a well-oiled machine while playing the set. It would have been nice if they had
been performing for a bigger crowd, but their young ages will hopefully allow
for this band to build a larger following in the near future.

The band’s thirty-minute set during the Cleveland Music Festival was very good
and over too soon. The good thing is that, if you had the band’s release, Rabid, you could have gone home and continued the experience on your own. For those who are just learning about the band right now, here are just a few highlights from Rabid:

The album begins with the title track. “Rabid” begins with a powerful intro by
bassist Sean Balog. After the ten-second intro, the band launches into the
classic Heavy Metal the band is known for. Guitarist Patrick Capretta handles
the vocals on this track with a very energetic delivery, while Balog adds a guttural
vocal to the song, adding more of a Metal sound to the track.

Balog takes a turn on lead vocals on “My Own Reflection”. The song about seeing
only what’s there features some of the best metal created in a long time. It is
on this track that Balog shows the listener his abilities as a singer with his
straight-forward delivery of his vocals, with a few instances where he lets
loose a powerful growl to remind the listener that the band isn’t playing Hard
Rock but Heavy Metal.

On “Distant Memory,” the band’s musical abilities are showcased together,
bringing all of the instruments to the front. The first minute or so features a
rock sound on guitar and bass to showcase these abilities, and then the band
let loose with a full metal approach about two minutes in.

In concert, you can see how well Lower 13 performs as a band; on the album of Rabid, the band proves they have learned well from the classic metal bands that have
come before them. Whether in concert or recorded, this band demonstrates why
they have such a large following in the Greater Cleveland area. Now, the world
just needs to discover this talented metal outfit.