Concert Review

Trapt at the Altar Bar

Written by: Valerie Wallach

            The Altar Bar was the hot escape from the cold for alternative metal devotees this past Wednesday night. A small, enthusiastic crowd – mostly clad in black and leather – gathered for the nearly six hour long line-up of hard rock entertainment featuring No Resolve, Righteous Vendetta, Restricted Highways, and Trapt.

Each band flowed seamlessly into one another, building off of each other, and culminating in an unforgettable performance by California natives Trapt – who, of course, professed a love for Pittsburgh. Opening with “Who’s Going Home with You Tonight,” Trapt showcased their newest member’s talents; drummer Dylan Thomas Howard banged out a tight, energetic piece that roused the entire audience into a jumping, fist pumping frenzy. The drum beat was perfectly accompanied by Peter Charell’s relentless talent on the bass. Lead singer Chris Taylor Brown maintained a strong stage presence throughout, often standing upon a platform with pirate-like swagger using his hands and swaying his body to emphasize every word. He dedicated the second song, “Waiting,” to each and every person in the audience – as if he had not won over us already. Colorful, ambient lighting set the mood while a slew of cellphones were raised to record videos. An impressive guitar part played by Travis Miguel (Atreyu) reeled beautifully behind Brown’s intensifying voice and sentimental lyrics. Accordingly, each musician on stage exemplified the notion of a full-bodied musical experience, making evident that every note instilled both an emotional and physical reaction within him; and it was contagious.

“End of My Rope,” “Bring It,” “Echo,” and “These Walls” sustained the fierce, crowd-pleasing set list. Singer Chris Taylor Brown picked up a black electric Gibson for the band’s seventh song of the night, “Experience,” which – in Brown’s own words – is about “giving everything you have to offer.” It began with a soft guitar intro, intensified into heavy drum and bass pieces, and then eased back down to highlight the lyrics as a sing-a-long broke out with the entire audience. “Bleed Like Me” characterized a similar rollercoaster of ascending and descending pieces in terms of volume and speed alike, which made the composition consistently engaging and hypnotic. A few songs later Brown reignited his fans, demanding everyone to “get off the ground” as the audience started to jump and dance wildly without haste. “Love Hate Relationship” led into Trapt’s popular 2003 hit “Headstrong” which got the whole crowd – including me – singing loudly. It was rather cathartic.

Trapt closed the show with “Stand Up” – until the crowd insistently chanted for “one more song!” Minutes later, Brown took the stage alone, sitting on a chair with his electric guitar for an intimate moment that truly demonstrated the gorgeous quality of his voice. Singing tender lines like “I remember the smile that always brought me back to you,” Brown proved that Trapt is no ordinary grunge band.

It was a night of passionate performances, rock-solid musicianship, and raucous pleasure, to say the least. Pittsburgh would be fortunate to have Trapt return again soon.