Leaving Eden’s Rock and Roll Weekend

Hard rock fans can count on plenty of action this weekend, thanks to two big shows in Nashua, and the return of live music to a Manchester venue.  A local quartet preparing for a big push in support of a new album will feature prominently, and a new band with a lead singer who is familiar to local music fans will also perform.

On Thursday, February 3, Death Angel, a group with roots in the Northern California metal scene that spawned Metallica and Testament, headlines a five-band show at Nashua’s Amber Room.  Two days later, the biggest rock music event in years not held at the Verizon Wireless Arena happens as Hinder, Saving Abel and My Darkest Days top an all-day show with at least five other bands at the Armory Ballroom in Manchester.  The venue, located in the Radisson Hotel complex, hasn’t hosted a show of this caliber since the mid-1990s.

The rock and roll weekend closes Sunday, February 6, as Taproot tops another multi-band bill at the Amber Room, including New York noir rockers Me Talk Pretty and Leaving Eden and others to be announced.

Leaving Eden is also appearing at the Armory show; the quartet recently completed work on a record that represents a major step for the 8-year old band, according to guitarist and principal songwriter Eric Gynan.  “We’re excited, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” he said as the band gathered around the phone for a recent interview from their Haverhill practice space.  “We’ve done a lot of recording, but never formally released anything. Technically, we’ve probably made eight CDs.”

The new disc, Tied & Bound, features forceful melodic hard rock, which relies heavily on the vocal interplay between Eric and his wife, lead singer Carole Gynan.  The two met when Carole auditioned for their previous band, Redhouse, around 10 years ago.  “No, we didn’t start dating right away,” says Carole with a laugh.

The band honed their sound by booking as many shows as possible. “The biggest thing is playing concerts,” says Eric.  “That’s why we play anywhere, anyhow; it doesn’t matter – we’ll play.  If you’re sitting in the basement, that’s where you’re going to stay.  People think they can do a bunch of stuff online and make a buzz, to me it’s not real, it’s virtual. You can only do so much there.”

Former RA drummer Andy Ryan, who joined the band late last year, provides more than rhythm to the album. He came on board quickly and assimilated immediately, playing live and heading into sessions in short order. “It was a day to learn the songs, a day for a show, and then a day for the studio,” says Ryan.

“I feel like Andy and I played in a past life,” says Eric.

“There’s something going on,” agrees Ryan.  “In my transition from band to band, drummers can be like the Spinal Tap thing, but this was something instantaneous, and the music has been completely different for me since I joined.”

On the album, Ryan’s drum fills are often used as a lead instrument.  “I complement the song as much as I can, but just the way the band works, things that I do off the top of my head seem to work.”

That’s no accident, says Eric, “All these songs had that element already to showcase the drums. I’m a drummer as well – that’s my favorite instrument as far as listening to a song.”

Following the New England shows, Leaving Eden will head to California for a series of shows and “A-List parties” at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Casino. A spring and summer run through Europe is also planned, including a stop in the UK for the Bulldog Bash biker rally, held in William Shakespeare’s hometown at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Also appearing at the Manchester Armory show is Gone For Days, a new hard rock band fronted by Chris Taylor, who recently left Vegas Temper to focus on making original music.  The band includes Nashville music veteran Jesse Wayne Hatch on guitar. Taylor said in a recent email that the two met “through a mutual long distance management relationship, and soon started writing songs and recording demos over the Internet.”

The online collaboration proved fruitful enough that Hatch soon made plans to relocate to New England and start a band with Taylor. Rounding out the band’s lineup are former Dogfight members Tony LaScoya on drums and Mike Querci playing bass.

“The music and sound came together extraordinarily fast,” says Taylor. The Armory gig will be the group’s first live show.

The promoter of all three shows, New England Concerts, hopes to continue producing events at the newly revived Manchester venue.  “I do have a lot of plans for the Armory Ballroom,” says NEC President Bernie Goulet.

This story appears in the February 3, 2011 issue of Hippo Press