July 8, 2015
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Fabien Castro
Photos by Fabien Castro
Girl Power Rocks!
I indulged myself in three female-fronted rock bands, all from the Dallas area and all super-charged, July 8 at the Granada Theater. I’m talking about Jessie Frye, Drayter, and Flyleaf. For me and more than 500 other fans this was a rock horns-waving night to remember.
First onstage was Jessie Frye. Full disclosure: I had never seen Jessie before, but I have to say that she definitely brought a great show, not to mention a rowdy fan base cheering her name and singing her songs. We need more of that local loyalty in the Dallas music scene. Jessie’s songs mix elements of blues with hard rock and glow with alpha confidence. Her band was well-shaped, balanced, and her songs were tailored for head-bobbing action.
Make room for Drayter. I saw them for the first time last year at the House of Blues, and really liked their set. But back then the band had a different line-up, so I was intrigued to hear what had changed. In a word - wow! This band blew me away! They burst onto the stage full blast with a dual guitar solo in the first couple of minutes that established the tone for their entire set. They flaunted impressive musicianship, all the while wrapping each song with pop-ready, rock-bitten vocals. Drayter combined that raw talent with hooky songs, prompting the crowd to pump their collective fists in the air.
Energy is infectious, for sure. Drayter was having a bang-up time onstage, always running from left to right while lead singer Liv, a statuesque, blonde beauty from Texas, punched every song with Lzzy Hale-inspired vocal potency. There was so much fun and intensity on display that I was literally worn out after their set. This is the best local band I’ve seen in a long time. Last year at the House of Blues they were good, but now they are the real rock deal. Drayter - don’t forget that name.
Finally we have Flyleaf, which needs no introduction. They are amazing! Formed in 2002 in Temple, Texas, and selling well over 1 million albums, they polished off the night with melodic songs, dynamic vocals, and a superbly orchestrated show. Amidst the frenetic electricity onstage, lead singer Kristen May was firmly planted serenading the audience with her strong, resplendent vocals. Flyleaf brought a variety of songs old and new to their really good set. The audience couldn’t get enough.
Flyleaf wasted no time. Opening with the robust hit 'Set Me on Fire," the band took the high-octane baton from Drayter and kept the crowd roaring song after song. Guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya and bassist Pat Seals jumped around like two unstoppable spinning tops. Kristen, entranced in her vocal prowess, hit every note with grace and gumption. The elegance she displayed performing older Flyleaf material was a stunning feast for the ears. She took what was already beautiful poetry, added her dynamic range, and transported cuts such as 'All Around Me" and 'Fully Alive" to loftier heights. As a testament to their longevity and appeal, the songs resonated with the crowd. Every chorus became a chant that reverberated throughout the venue. Flyleaf is back better than ever, and definitely worth the price of admission.
If you get the chance, check out these bands in concert. Hard rocking girl power is alive and well in Dallas!