Nevergreen is coming for you, Utica, and they are bringing a monster sound you should prepare yourselves for right now. This 5 piece rock band from Rochester, NY won’t hesitate to blow your hair back and they’ll charm you while they do it.
“Nevergreen is a blend of progressive rock and reggae for the most part. Little riffs of metal in there, a little bit of hip hop sometimes, but we mostly stick to the rock/reggae stuff. It’s kind of like No Doubt meets Incubus meets RX Bandits. It’s hard to classify, but we kind of like it that way cause we’ve found that we’ve been able to appeal to 5 year olds and 55 year olds and 75 year olds. It’s been amazing. And we’re kind of clean in the way of our lyrics…it could be radio friendly, it’s festival friendly.”
This band kicks. The players in the game are Sara Passamonte, lead vocals, J Passamonte, drums and vocals, Mike Ortolaza and Dylan Emerson on guitar, and Robert Smith on bass and vocals. The first thing you’re likely to notice is how polished and professional their wall of sound is. The prog label fits here because this band is so tight it moves like one beast with several arms and the songs are thick and dark. Sara shared with me that they were “math metal’ before she came along and started fronting them, and that will make sense to you when you hear the band. That makes Nevergreen come out sounding pretty unique in the way they blend their influences. Reggae is a genre that gets bent around and fused with other sounds quite often, but I can’t say I’ve heard it taken in a heavy alternative rock direction too many times before. The combination is punchy like Ska but retains a driving rock beat. “We have a universal appeal. I think it’s important for people, when they hear ‘reggae’, to start thinking outside of the reggae box. Because, we’ll be writing, and they’ll be working on guitar riffs and I’ll say, you guys are going all metal on me! So I want people to know when they see that we say something like rock reggae, just think outside the box as far as what reggae means. They’ll hear it. I think it’s just kind of something for everybody, even within a song. They might hear all different elements.”
If this is the future of pop-friendly radio music, I’m in! I really have no doubt that anyone who attends Nevergreen’s show is going to enjoy them. People to Paradise is my current favorite track and it’s pretty representative of what I like about this group’s sound because it wastes no time at all. The beefy chorus is served up immediately and with force. Sara’s vocal is pointed but very natural sounding and that provides a great contrast to what you might expect to hear fronting a band doing what the guys behind her are doing.
Recently, Nevergreen has played Rochester’s Boulderfest and are most freshly off a gig at the Club side of Water Street Music Hall that has created some great buzz. Last year, Nevergreen’s Boulderfest slot was directly before roots reggae powerhouse John Brown’s Body. The group is no stranger to success in Rochester, and is now looking to branch out more to the surrounding areas on small tour stints.
“We’re at the point where Rochester is comfortable for us…I’d love to line up something (in Utica) before and then immediately after Winter, even try to work it into a bigger trip…little three spot tours between New York City, Utica, Syracuse.” That is exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s build bridges.
“Two years ago I remember hearing there was a festival (in Utica) and last year it was solidified as the big event. There is a lot going on here. I missed the submission deadline and I’m like, ok, that’s on for next year.”
They’re bringing some merch to sling at you. They have two EPs (4 and 5 songs, respectively) and will have their first full length record available also. They are excited to have this project completed and hope you’ll be excited to listen. Other fun miscellanea with the Nevergreen brand will be on hand for your perusal.
You don’t want to miss Nevergreen on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. at Celtic Harp’s outdoor stage. When you are out of your mind with sonic love, remember to mention to the venue people that you would happily come see the band again if they re-book. The part the fans play in this process should not be underestimated, and Nevergreen wants to be your steady.