Number One Gun in full stride at Senator
When the house lights came on after Saturday night’s show at the Senator Theatre, a flood of eager kids filled the lobby to secure some Number One Gun merchandise. The band was selling 10 different T-shirts, six buttons, four stickers, two hats, one CD, one sweatshirt and one wristband. If the obvious local market for NOG merch is any indication, then this Chico rock band seems on its way to something bigger.
Along with Cabrini Green, Briertone and Pax 217, NOG played to a 300-plus crowd before it headed to Southern California to play a couple of shows.
The bands, except Cabrini Green, fall into the Christian-rock genre, taking rock sensibilities and fusing them with lyrics that subtly relate to issues of faith.
Cabrini Green opened the show, in its first performance. The band, led by former Number One Gun guitarist and Chico local Ben Tietz, blasted through a four-song set, which consisted of thundering drums and a mix of loud and soft dynamics.
Tietz danced across the stage, throwing in a smattering of leg-kicks and a windmill or two, in the style of Who guitarist Pete Townsend. He also threw his guitar around his body in the middle of the song and caught it without missing a note, a move Tietz was notorious for in his old Chico band Either. The audience seemed to enjoy this new band, which will likely become a new scene favorite.
Briertone lead singer and guitarist Adam Pasion seemed like he was trying to use his music to exorcise demons onstage. He jerked and pointed his tattooed arms toward the audience, while his hollow eyes peeked through his jet-black hair. Some of the band’s songs turned into hell-billy shuffles but were disguised with distorted guitars and crashing drums that echoed through the cavernous theatre.
Before a note left Pax 217 lead singer Dave Tosti’s mouth, he took a sip from his bottled water and paused for a moment before spitting and spraying the audience with the liquid. The crowd didn’t seem to mind the Gallagher antics, despite the temp in the frigid theater, and they especially enjoyed P-217’s hardcore, testosterone-drenched music.
NOG headlined, performing a short set of road-tested songs from its two CDs, along with a handful of new songs. The band’s sound was tight and well-rehearsed, which benefited the frequent start-and-stop dynamics of the songs.
Lead singer and guitarist Jeff Schneeweis mentioned that the band has been recording and working on a new album for Tooth and Nail Records, which should be available in the summer.
After chants of “One more song,” NOG returned after its energetic set for a two-song encore, but just before the band began playing “Celebrate Mistakes,” Schneeweis responded to a request being shouted from the crowd—"Write a new song right now!” To which he replied, steam rising from his head, “I don’t know if we can do that.”
The climax of the set came when Schneeweis broke into “Starting Line,” one of the band’s most popular songs, to end its encore. The majority of the attentive junior-high-and high-school students stood bobbing their heads and pumping their fists, while a few bodies collided in the 10-person mosh pit.
With all the sweat and effort the band puts into its music and with its following of fans, Number One Gun seems capable of just about anything.