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From the Pit to the Crowd: A Brilliant Lie and Dreamhouse with The Year I Disappear and Picking Up Pedro

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Thursday night shows at The Haven aren’t uncommon and are a nice way to pre-kick off the weekend. On January 5th local band A Brilliant Lie and touring band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin were performing. A Brilliant Lie is a solid local band and their shows are always high energy. I also had heard good things about Dreamhouse so I wanted to see and hear them firsthand.

I arrived around 7:30 PM for the 8 PM start time. I had at least another photographer friend who would be there. I saw Sarah right away and ran over to say hi. I first met her at my first House of Blues shoot for The Pretty Reckless in September and we’ve been friends ever since. We caught up on what was going on in our lives and what shows were going to shoot next. I find we have different tastes in music, so I don’t get to see her at shows as much as I’d like.

Picking Up Pedro, a local Orlando band, hit the stage first to open the show. Members Brandon Purvis (lead vocals, bass), Thomas Lee (guitar, backing vocals), and Jeff Miller (drums, backing vocals) have a good time on stage. Their music is geared towards making it lively and fun. The band also likes to joke around on stage with each other. Thomas is very fast on the guitar but not heavy handed for a metal sound and instead you get nice sounding notes and high pitched wails when necessary. Brandon has some nice vocals that fits well with the tone of the band. Jeff’s drumming is solid and keeps everyone on track.

They completed their short set and as they were breaking down, The Year I Disappear started setting up. During the break I saw another friend of ours named Roxy sitting at a table, so I went over to say hello and asked her to join us. She’s also another photographer that I met at that same The Pretty Reckless show. She came over to join us and filled us in on what she’s been doing. We also met another photographer named Kayla, who we got to know.

The Year I Disappear were ready on stage to start up their set. They too are an Orlando local band who describe themselves as pop punk. Their members are Tony Murphy (vocals, guitar), Jeff Nichols (guitar, backing vocals), Tim Adkins (bass), Trenton Vincent (lead guitar), and Mark Willberg II (drums). They opened with a song called “Qualia” from their EP Bottom Feeder. I could definitely hear the influences like The Wonder Years, in their music. The band meshed well together on stage with Tony’s vocals resonating through the venue.

They also played “Understood” and “We Made Plans” from their EP. One of the things that impressed me about them was their lyric writing. The songs told stories you felt engaged with and left me wanting to hear more. The second was how easily the band played together not missing a beat the whole set. You can tell they practice hard to perform so well on stage together.

They finished their set with a good round of applause and started their breakdown while Dreamhouse started theirs. As we all gathered back together from photographing the band, I reviewed some of my pictures. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles The Haven is never the easiest place to photograph. They cycle through usually one color of either red, green, blue, or yellow. And maybe, you’re lucky enough to get some white mixed it for some variety. Sometimes I choose not to press the shutter button when a band is in red and wait until they hit another color. Other times the red looks good that I’ll take a bunch of shots.

Dreamhouse was on stage and ready to rock. Sarah and Roxy came here specifically for them and I can tell they were excited. They started off with “Clever”. It’s a fast song providing a light hearted and fun sound. Brianna Jackson (vocals) makes it look easy singing on stage while dancing around with the rest of the band on stage. They followed it up with “The Current”. Brianna’s vocals were chilling that it gave me goosebumps. The band has a good stage presence keeping active, jamming, and bouncing around the stage. Dreamhouse’s sound can be defined as a pop-punk but I see them more as more rock similar to Evanescence. The band also graced us with a cover version of “Voices” originally performed by Saosin. Though it was a short set and wished they could have played longer. They were very entertaining and Brianna’s voice is a pleasure to hear.

Next up was the band I was also excited to see, A Brilliant Lie. The local band led by Tara Lightfoot (vocals, guitar) truly stands alone in the Orlando local music scene. They’ve already produced four EPs since their inception, multiple tours, and continue to produce good music. Also, you never know what to expect from them on stage with their high energy and fun loving demeanor. And just like that, they were ready to start.

The band opened up with “Taller” from their Waking Vessel EP. It’s a high energy song and Tara rarely stands still while belting out her high pitched vocals. She amazingly hits notes I’ve never heard other female vocalists hit. It’s not just range, it’s the power which she does it with. Chris Lane (drums, backing vocals) bashes out some hard hitting sounds at a unreal pace. They followed up with “Rise and Fall” from their Threads: Spinner EP. Matthew Movens (guitar, backing vocals) and Jason Lemrond (guitar) riff away through these songs with such grace and speed. David Traver (bass) strums away hard and heavy moving and bouncing on stage. You can tell how much this band enjoys the music they play.

Photographing them is always a fun time, yet a challenge. Tara had told me once that getting a picture of her face without her hair covering it is near impossible. There’s truth to that because she moves around so much her hair is almost always covering her face. Matthew and Jason are always jamming on their own sides of the stage, so it’s not too difficult photographing to get them. I just like to catch them at that right moment of them playing. Since Matthew does backing vocals, I sometimes have to photograph around his mic stand. David since he moves a bunch I had to just wait for the right moment to snap the shot. Chris, luckily, isn’t hidden in the back like most drummers because his drum set is always set sideways. For photographers, this is a blessing because you can actually see him!

The true reason I feel A Brilliant Lie stands out is not just their music or personality, but it’s their writing. Their songs are all so unique and lyrically wonderful. Two of my favorites from them are “Always at Odds” from their Threads: Cutter EP and “The City, The Sound” also from Threads: Spinner. And if you listen to both you can hear how unique both of them are, but you’d have no doubt those were songs from A Brilliant Lie.

By the end of their set the crowd was roaring for more yet spent. It was definitely an entertaining evening and the bands all put on a show to be remembered.