Regional super group Kelen Heller (KH) has been making waves in the Southeast since 2010, and despite lineup changes and delayed productions, the band has managed to rise above. Like phoenixes from the ashes of bands past, KH has risen to super group status through the blood sweat, and tears they’ve invested in their passion. On Friday, May 24, 2013, KH held their long awaited CD/Video Release Party at The Handlebar in Greenville, S.C. This show was a celebration of the band’s latest music video for their single “Never Lived” and the official release of their latest EP LTD (Limited Edition). To join them in their rejoicing, KH invited Greensboro, N.C melodic rockers Vanisher and Washington, D.C’s high energy heavy hitters Super Bob to share the stage. According to KH’s Facebook page, over 200 tickets were sold, at least 35 VIP packages purchased and copious amounts of buzz abound.
Prior to the performances and official start of the show there was the VIP meet-and-greet with the band, and fans got an opportunity to take pictures, get autographed and have some one-on-one time with KH. VIP pass holders were able to enter the main hall early to meet the band and received a copy of LTD and poster (in addition to their limited edition VIP laminate). The guys spent the hour prior to the show kick off cutting and taking several photos with fans who clamored to have some face time with the local hard rock heroes. There was massive energy in the Greenville venue as some waited outside deep in conversation enjoying a smoke, while others enjoyed provisions from The Handlebar’s menu of various meals and beverages. As the meet-and-greet time wound to a close, sound check finished and set ups completed, more people began to show up eagerly awaiting the commencement of events. The music hall opens, fans pile in, the lights dim, and the show begins…
Vanisher kicks off the festivities with their trademark sound, blending cerebral lyrics, intricate strings with precise percussion to create a chest thumping, body moving and (at times) soul-stirring deluge of musical mastery. These guys have also been around since 2010, mostly existing in the underground/local scene until they started garnering some widespread attention. Hailed by MetalSuck.net as a “perennial favorite” of co-founder Axel Rosenberg, Vanisher has been picking up steam infecting the ears of new listeners everyday. Packing a repertoire that includes both the mellow and moving as well as the vicious and gripping, Vanisher is not your typical alt-metal, pigeon-holed whiners. These guys are real musicians with passion, diversity, and determination, and a force to be reckoned with. New to the Upstate SC scene, Vanisher came with a variety of their material from older songs like “Blood Red Sky” and “Seven Years Buried” to their latest release “Blank Horizon” for which they recently released a new music video. As their set went on, it was clear that despite the newness of their sound to the scene, some ears in the crowd were visibly perked.
Next up on the stage were D.C’s energetic nu-metal mix masters Super Bob. Some fans of these eclectic stage pouncers may remember the days of just “Bob,” before a rapper of the same name came along and ruined it for them. For those of the Super Bob era, after the rename and post- “Superfly” video, regardless of name, these guys have always brought massive amounts of energy and excitement to the stage. Not only is their stage presence phenomenal, but their physicality is astounding. Comprised of an eccentric and fully tattooed front man (Matt Santoro), a lithe and spirited drummer-turned-bassist (Drew Recny), and a charismatic and spirited guitarist, Super Bob has always commanded the attention of a room. The band also features an equally engaging and must-watch drummer (Chris Faircloth), who is often referred to as “the spitter” because of his affinity for spitting/spraying water into the air and on his drums during a performance. Super Bob also brought their A-game complete with Matt’s usual strip down on stage (shirt removal-don’t get too excited) unveiling his intricate and dynamic body art, his “blinged out” microphone stand, a powerful set list, and so much jumping around you could get vertigo. These guys leave nothing but sweat in their wake, both their own and the crowd’s from trying to keep up with them. Busting out some of their most engaging hits like “Freak” and “Cali”, Super Bob made sure their first impression on Greenville was a lasting one.
Finally, it’s time for Kelen Heller and the Upstate super group opened with the debut of their new music video for the song “Never Lived.” The alt-metal quintet then proceeded to rip into their set playing both recent and older songs from their catalog. Vocalist Ricky Shuler contributed the echoic vocals that have long distinguished him from other front men in the scene and sought the involvement of the clamoring masses. Guitarists Mark Frey and Efrum Ferguson lit up the stage with their cacophony of strings, bringing the heat that ignited the ears of the throng. Bassist Brandon Moore channeled his inner rock star by working the room, while drummer Kevin Wall was visibly feeling the pain as he trashed on his kit with focused intensity. Bringing back older KH staples like “Dump” and the band’s last hit “Redefine,” the guys prowled the stage like old pros, working every angle and corner possible. A little more jittery than usual, it was clear that Shuler was a little anxious about the special guest in the crowd that night seeing this performance, his mother. Despite his nerves, Shuler delivered a core performance that clearly demonstrated he’d come a long way in his presentation since his church singing days. Regardless of whether or not it was her particular taste, no one in The Handlebar that night had any reason to believe that Shuler’s mom shouldn’t be proud of the charming and talented man he has become.
Once again, the men of KH brought a spectacular show to the Upstate and invited the entire scene to join them in celebration. This makes the second video release for the band and first extended EP release. According to the Moore, the guys are planning to get more studio time logged and new material recorded in the near future for their next release. In the meantime, fans across the Southeast can enjoy LTD and the “Never Lived” and “Redefine” videos until the next chapter in KH story is scripted. LTD can be purchased on iTunes or picked up at the merch booth at any KH show. If you missed this party, you missed not only landmark occasion for a great regional band, but an amazing showcase of musical talent.
You can find out more about all the bands and their music videos via the links in this article. If you don’t know them already, get to know Super Bob, Vanisher, and Kelen Heller today and find out what you’ve been missing!