Featured / Live Pics / Live Show Reviews / Music News / Photos / Reviews / May 13, 2018

It’s not every day that hometown favorites, Red Sun Rising, descend into Akron, Ohio, for a night of singing, dancing, and general shenanigans with the locals. However, on May 5, 2018, Mike Protich (vocals/guitar), Ryan Williams (lead guitar), Dave McGarry (rhythm guitar/backup vocals), Ricky Miller (bass/backup vocals), and Pat Gerasia (drums) did just that. A sold out crowd at Musica welcomed the guys home for a night that few will forget. 

Ramping up the crowd with their usual brand of intensity right from the start, Mike Protich and friends “Push”ed the intimate club to its limits. Energy and passion radiated from the stage and soaked into each and every person standing in its wake. The crowd around me seemed to know every word, singing even louder, at times, than the folks on the stage. It didn’t take long for Protich and McGarry to start sweating while they ripped through some of the best songs from their catalogue, like “Otherside” and “Death Wish.” The crowd held their hands up, palms facing the crowd, beating the air alongside Protich in a sea of sweat and lyrics. It was magical. 

When the notes for “Uninvited” strummed up, for the first time all set, the crowd stopped slamming it out and took a calmer turn. Back and forth, hands in the air, fans swayed and sang every word to the band’s massively successful cover of the Alanis Morissette track. I even saw a few people wipe away tears, a true testament to the power of Protich’s emotionally-wrought vocals. I prefer their version to the original, to be honest, and it seemed all around me found that hearing it live beats the hell out of hearing it on the radio. And it does, every single time. 

Ramping the energy back to a fever pitch, the band tore through “Left for Dead” and “Fascination.” It seemed Akron wasn’t ready to let these guys go! Begging for more, the crowd wasn’t ready when the band played, “Imitation,” so being the good Midwestern boys they are, they gave the people what they wanted. With “Emotionless” as their encore, it was clear that Red Sun Rising was happy to be home. 

As it was my first ever Red Sun Rising show, I was ready for anything. I am SO glad my first time was a hometown show. From watching McGarry, Williams, and Miller completely shred the shit out of their strings to seeing Gerasia do what he does best behind the kit, and of course, watching Protich soak in every single moment, it was clear I was part of something special.

There’s always a certain magic when a band comes home from a long tour to play in front of their families and friends, classmates and community members. It was neat to stand in the middle of all of the melee and hear people sharing stories of the band members. Hearing those around me reminisce about “the way the boys used to be” really warmed my cold, black heart and showed how strong the band’s tie is to their hometown. There’s something unique about being in the presence of those who have supported the chart toppers since their early days. That kind of energy can’t be replicated.

I was honored to be in those moments, feeling the passion and love that the band has for their city, as well as the love their city has for them. One would never guess that Red Sun Rising is used to playing bigger stages in front of a sea of faces, some they may never meet, as they personally did all they could to make every single person in the crowd at Musica feel like they were part of something great.

Watching them interact with those faces they recognized showed how humble and respectful of their roots they are. It impressed upon me a certain responsibility, a duty to never forget where I came from, and to support my local bands as much as possible. One day, they may be captivating crowds around the world. And, I’ll definitely want to be able to say, “Well, I knew them when…”

Red Sun Rising Setlist
Death Wish
My Muse
Left for Dead
Lonely Girl