Show, album review/RED SUN RISING/THREAD

The guys in RED SUN RISING have a lot to prove. They've hit the road on their first full-blown headlining tour, and released their second full-length album, THREAD. Can they avoid the sophomore slump? Can they still rock now that they've cut their hair and are dressing like hipster dads?

The answer: Hell yes.

RED SUN RISING is tighter than ever, and they're obviously incredibly proud of what they've created with THREAD. I'll share my thoughts on the album, but first, lemme take ya to the magical world Mike, Pat, Rick, Dave, and Ryan created when they brought their rock 'n roll love fest to The Cowan in Nashville on March 29, 2018.

The band charged on stage with "Push," from their first album, Polyester Zeal. Each member full of energy, enthusiastically interacting with the crowd. Singer Mike Protich wide-eyed, possessed by the music, as he danced across the stage...everyone in the room immediately under his spell. This guy is one of the most engaging and talented front men in rock today. You cannot take your eyes off him. I think even Mr. W. has a man crush.

From there, simmering energy spilled over to a boil with hits like "Amnesia" and "The Otherside." The first single from the new album, the epic "Deathwish," brought a huge response. The sing-along at the end of the song is pure magic.

RSR's cover of Alanis Morrisette's "Uninvited" is gorgeous and haunting. It highlights a huge strength of the band: the heavenly harmonies that happen when Protich and guitar player Dave McGarry blend their voices.

We heard several more new songs, which brought somewhat of a lull in the show's energy. Not because they aren't good. The album wasn't out yet, and this crowd was obviously in the mood to sing along. One of my favorite new songs, the rockin' and catchy "Veins" made an appearance in the set, along with "Fascination."

RED SUN RISING can also bring the heavy. This is something that comes across much better live than on record. "Imitation" was super intense, allowing bassist Rick Miller to really show off.

The band closed the show with their #1 song "Emotionless," as we lifted our voices one more time, sailing away from reality--hands in the air--before coming back down to earth.

So since this concert review is, like, a week and a half late, (As much as I'd like it to, writing about handsome rock musicians doesn't pay my bills) I've had a chance to really dig into THREAD, which was released the day after the Nashville stop.

The short version: THREAD is a solid rock album, but I like it better when I'm not comparing it to Polyester Zeal.

THREAD, for me, shines on the heavier tracks: The one-two punch of "Veins" and "Clarity" in the middle of the album is eight and a half minutes of killer riffs and sexy grooves.

The alt-rock leaning "Left For Dead" and "Benny Two Dogs" are so full of feeling. RSR is scary good at conveying emotion, and these tunes will stick with you. "Lonely Girl" is catchy in, like, 49 different ways. "Deathwish" (RSR's "Bohemian Rhapsody") and the bluesy album closer "Evil Like You" show the guys can create something amazing when they get a little weird.

Protich said this is the first time this version of RED SUN RISING has really collaborated and written a full album together. You can definitely hear a more cohesive and consistent sound on THREAD. What I'm missing here are the chill-inducing songs like "My Muse" and "Bliss," that made Polyester Zeal such an amazing listen. THREAD is super solid, but not every song blows me away.

The meaning behind the term "THREAD" is that RED SUN RISING's music can't be cornered into one genre; it's different styles woven together. You can hear that commitment on unique songs like "Deathwish" and "Evil..." It's tunes like these, mixed with those catchy radio-ready bangers, that make RSR stand out.

If rock 'n roll needs saving, these guys could be the ones to do it.

-Mrs. W.