A return to the stage was the spark that long-running New York City hardcore band Burn needed for “From the Ashes,” the group’s newest EP and first new music since 2002’s “Last Great Sea.” They’re hitting the road this fall to support the release, and on Sept. 18 they’ll play downtown Wilkes-Barre venue The Other Side.
The first 7-inch vinyl pressing of “From the Ashes” sold out entirely, prompting a second pressing following the initial July 15 street date. Ahead of the release, guitarist Gavin Van Vlack wasn’t sure how the new songs would be received.
“Releasing new music can be really scary,” Van Vlack said. “There’s a fearlessness that has to go into it because you’re sitting there, you’re listening to this song and you’re going, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’ but in the back of your head you’re going, ‘What if I’m the only person who thinks this is cool?’ It’s really scary, but when you see that reaction from the crowd, even if it’s that one person that you touch in that way, that’s the reason.”
Van Vlack said that crowd is an integral part in the band’s live show — he described them as a “high energy” band by reputation, and said that’s reflective of their audience.
“One thing I can say is we consistently have these awesome audiences that give that energy back,” Van Vlack said. “The thing that makes hardcore great is the audience is really part of the show. We’re coming with a definite kind of energy and that escalates with the audience.”
With influences ranging from country star Waylon Jennings to Bad Brains’ Gary “Dr. Know” Miller and influential jazz musician Wes Montgomery, Van Vlack brings a unique, melodic approach to hardcore. Before he could find his own voice among fellow guitarist, the long time musician had to first learn the language.
“Music is a language and it’s being able to voice that and voice your influences,” Van Vlack said. “Saxophonists will speak differently to each other than guitarists will talk to each other and it’s kind of being able to pull that influence so it comes across and makes sense. I’ve always had a love for melody and I always think that it’s kind of got to be there for a song to make sense.”
Van Vlack’s musical accent and inflection provides a certain sound that defies conventional hardcore guitar work and forms one of the sonic pillars Burn is built upon. Later this year, the band will enter the studio and build a full-length for Deathwish Inc., but later this week they’ll set up shop in Wilkes-Barre. If you’re ready for a reciprocal exchange of energy, Burn is ready for you.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
Who: Burn, Blind Justice, Westpoint, Maniac
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 18
Where: The Other Side, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
How Much: $15