Shades of hardcore


Greyscale, in Reno for only three months, has already accomplished what it took two years to do in New York.

Greyscale, in Reno for only three months, has already accomplished what it took two years to do in New York.

Photo By David Robert

Swirling lights, loud music, dark club. What’s new? Reno’s newest “boy band,” that’s what. Well, they are new to town, there are five of them, and they do have a bad boy or two, but that’s where Greyscale’s resemblance to New Kids on the Block ends. They actually play instruments and write songs, for one thing. That and their sound is a little more … let’s say, crunchy.

Melodic and driving, this hardcore band formerly of Long Island, NY, has come out West to cut their teeth on Reno’s nightlife. Currently in production with their first full-length CD, Greyscale has been together for about three years. They spent a lot of that time promoting themselves and helping to cultivate as much of a hardcore scene as possible in New York. The result is a highly polished entertainment machine.

Greyscale is Jon Middleman (bass), Matt Kelly (guitar), Kristian Raimo (vocals), Larry Coleman (guitar) and Tom Senior (bass). The band members felt it was time to pursue their music full time and that they needed more relevant exposure. According to Raimo, in New York there was a lot of love but simply not enough interest.

“Not enough happened, to not enough effect,” Raimo says, “so we moved out here, into our manager’s closet.”

They were drawn to the West by a variety of things: the typical metaphors, the fact that they are from the East Coast, the fact that their manager, Craig Belis, landed a steady job here, and they were broke. However, the lyrics in “California” ascribe the itchy travel feet to something else:

“I understand—it never rains/I think some sun will ease my pain, so there’s no doubt/ I’ve packed my bags. I’m heading out.”

So far, Reno has shown them exactly what they were looking for—an active music scene, beautiful scenery and weather, cheap living, low taxes, friendly people and 24-hour fun; each of the band members have some of their own reasons, but they all agree on the last. Middleman puts it succinctly: “We’re used to some things being 24-hours in New York, but being able to go out at 7 a.m. on a Sunday and buy alcohol, that’s special.”

As a band, Greyscale is impressed with the opportunities that exist in Reno. The musicians have found themselves amid a receptive scene and have turned on clubs and fans to their ambient rhythms and punctuating melodies. In New York, their experiences as a working band put them in a far more competitive, even backstabbing, arena. But in Reno, the creative spirit has been validated.

“The bands are a lot less ego-oriented,” Coleman says, “They’re all down.”

“There’s a sense that something new and great is really happening here,” Raimo adds, “not just for musicians, not just ‘cause it’s booming … but there really is just this great vibe in Reno.”

Although they’ve only been in town since the beginning of March, Greyscale has managed to book shows at most of the live music clubs in town and has played with a lot of the competition. They’ve been able to accomplish in three months what took them two years to do in New York. Their sound is as polished as anyone’s around, and they’re here to stay.

“This is the new home," Raimo says.