From The Pit To The Crowd: Theory (formerly Theory of a Deadman) with Leaving Haven

On May 20th, Theory (formerly known as Theory of a Deadman) had a tour stop in Orlando, FL at the Hard Rock Live. The band was touring on their sixth studio album ‘Wake Up Call’ that was released on July 27th. Theory, the Canadian rock band who formed in 2001, is well known to the Orlando rock community. The band performed multiple times at our local one day festival titled Earthday Birthday and always put on a great performance. I was excited to get the opportunity to see them once again. As well were a large number of Orlando fans as the Hard Rock was quite full for the show that evening.

First to the stage was the band Leaving Haven. Local residents of Orlando, FL they formed in 2010 and released their debut album ‘Bad Lucky Glory’ in 2012. The album gained very positive response and reviews which allowed them the opportunity to go on tour to promote the album. They also had the opportunity to perform multiple times at Earthday Birthday, have been featuring on the Native Noise show at our local rock station WJRR, and even opened for 3 Doors Down. Tonight, Kent Lefebvre (vocals), Michael Strippoli (guitar), Luke Melsenti (guitar), Madison Macko (bass), and Benjamin Melsenti (drums) were ready to rock the crowd and get them warmed up for Theory.

They opened up with “Miss Emma” which was a single release. I never had the chance to see Leaving Haven perform live nor listen to their music. And right off the bat, I was impressed. Kent’s vocals are quite impressive ranging from some clear vocals to power screams. Musically, Michael, Luke, and Madison intertwine and blend very well together. Benjamin works hard behind the drums to produce solid hard rock sounds. They followed with “Medicated” from ‘Bad Luck Glory’ which brought out a harder rock sound and started to get the fans truly engaged with them. They slowed it down with “Left Undone” also from ‘Bad Luck Glory’. And even though the song sounds and feels like a ballad, it retains the band’s hard rock sound. What truly caught my attention was Kent’s vocal performance and how easily he changes his range without any effort.

Leaving Haven had the crowd’s attention for certain and fans were cheering and applauding after each song. The band was also very playful on stage with Michael, Luke, and Madison all sitting down on stage and still playing. You can see this is band that enjoys being together on stage and wants to leave you with a lasting impression. And that they absolutely did. They finished off their set with “Four High” and “Never Miss Me” also from ‘Bad Luck Glory’. When they finished, the crowd cheered loudly and there were smiles all around on stage. You can check out their music on their website here.

Theory was now ready to take the stage. Tyler Connolly (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Dave Brenner (guitar), Dean Back (bass), and Joey Dandeneau (drums) came to the stage to a huge roar in the venue. The band appeared surprised by the crowd reaction and started off into “Lowlife” from the 2011 album ‘The Truth Is…’, which was a #1 hit for the band. Theory sounded amazing from the start and were performing with such passion. Tyler played this beautiful red guitar while singing from the mic stand. The crowd was singing along to every word. The followed up with “Bitch Came Back” also from the 2011 album. Afterwards, he moved over to the keyboard to perform “Straight Jacket” from their most recent album ‘Wake Up Call’. Dave was rocking it hard through their songs. Dean strummed away on the bass with a fury. Joey ferociously bangs away on the drums playing them so fast and with such expression on his face.

Theory was going through a great selection of songs from their catalog. They truly blew me away when they played Chris Isaak’s cover “Wicked Game”, which they published on ‘Wake Up Call’. Any of the songs for the band to cover, this was the perfect one for Tyler’s vocals. He perfectly performed the song and Theory puts their own style into it. Hearing them perform it live gave me goosebumps. They also played two of my favorite songs through the middle of their set. The first was “So Happy” from the 2008 album ‘Scars & Souvenirs’. It’s a great rock song around someone being happier when they separate themselves from a destructive relationship. The second was “Santa Monica” from the 2005 album ‘Gasoline’. It probably rates as one my favorite song overall from the band. It opens with a very memorable string of notes from an acoustic guitar and as soon as the crowd heard them they cheered. Tyler even said before they started it was a song they don’t play very often at shows, but it is constantly requested by fans for them to play it, so they decided to do it on this tour. The band gained popularity when it appeared in the video game ‘Indigo Prophecy’.

As they neared the end of the show, they performed the crowd favorite “Hate My Life” from ‘Scars & Souvenirs’. This is definitely the biggest crowd sing along songs as they sang along word for word, and I was one of them too. And when Tyler sang  “Put your middle fingers up in the air” the whole crowd did and when he sang “Go on and say ‘fuck you'” everyone in the crowd screamed “fuck you”. An amazing moment that even brought a smile to Tyler’s face. Before they performed the next song “Rx (Medicate)” from ‘Wake Up Call’, Tyler spoke to the crowd about the nonprofit organization Shatterproof that raises awareness for drug and alcohol dependence and supports affected families. He urged people who feel they are need to contact the organization and they displayed Shatterproof’s website that you can find here.

The band closed out the show with their #1 hit “Bad Girlfriend” also from ‘Scars & Souvenirs’. The hard rocking song had the crowd dancing on the floor and then cheering and screaming loudly when the finished. Theory provided such a wonderful and amazing show to the Orlando crowd that night. I look forward to the next time they come back around to rock us out once again. If you have the opportunity to catch them on this tour, absolutely go see them.

Bernard Cana

Bernard is a photographer based out of Orlando, FL. He started photographing models 5 years ago and felt the need for a change of pace. In July 2016 he was introduced to band photography and immediately found a passion for it. Bernard primarily covered performances at local venues. He joined DreadMusicReview.com in October 2016 as a photographer and writer covering both bands on tour and local bands. If you are interested in having Bernard cover your shows you may reach out to him here: E-mail: bernard.cana@dreadmusicreview.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/talonkanephotography Instagram: www.instagram.com/talonkanephotography

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