Blue October | 10.01.11

“Charismatic” doesn’t begin to describe Justin Furstenfeld, stalking the stage like it’s his own personal psychiatric ward.


The Pageant, St. Louis


Here in the 21st century, a band having a career lasting more than two or three years is something of an anomaly. With album sales on the decline and major labels nearly a thing of the past, a band dies or survives on the strength of its live attack. When Blue October released its breakthrough disc Foiled, the tumultuous and shark-infested waters of the music business could very well have thrown their ship aground like so many others. However, Blue October has what so many others don’t: frontman Justin Furstenfeld.

With a delivery that mixes Sam Cooke’s gritty soul with the introspective eye of Peter Gabriel, Furstenfield never met a bleeding emotional scar that he wasn’t ready to expose in song. “Charismatic” doesn’t begin to describe the performer, stalking the stage like it’s his own personal psychiatric ward, singing tales of joy and pain that we can all more than relate to. Incapable of having an off night, Furstenfeld is the kind of frontman one doesn’t see a whole lot of anymore. A big voice plugged into a bursting heart, he’s not afraid of the consequences of a true emotional payoff in the gilded cage.
Needless to say, the rest of the guys not only augment Furstenfeld’s storytelling, but provide a varied atmosphere and sonic punch that draws the audience in without overwhelming them. The devil’s in the details, and the lyrics find room to breathe between the rhythm section of drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld, bassist Matt Noveskey, and new guitarist Julian Mandrake, while multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye colors the arrangements with deft precision.

Expect to hear plenty of songs from the band’s impressive discography, as well as tracks from its latest disc Any Man in America. Seeing the band in a huge venue is great, but seeing them in a venue like The Pageant is where they best display their penchant for balancing raw power and intimacy. Once you see these guys live, I promise that you’ll be back. | Jim Ousley

Blue October will be playing with IAMDYNAMITE and Ashleigh Stone at The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis. For more info, call 314-726-6161. Tickets are $25/30.

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