Steelesque has been making headlines as of late. Their debut ep, Johnny on the Spot, is being release by U.K. label, Tuppence a Bag Records, they’re playing the Three Rivers Arts Festival on June 11th, they’ve garnished praise in the Pittsburgh City Paper, and due to their high energy stage presence complete with genuine gratitude for their audiences they have acquired enough street cred to stand on their name alone.
Steelesque works for a number of reasons, not least of which being the solid, well rehearsed rock songs. But there is something else that the band brings to the stage, something a bit harder to notice, and that is balance. There is certainly a balance in rock persona that is easy to spot (here I list the rock persona by appearance on stage from least rock ‘n’ roll to most: 5. Mark Shearman-Bass; with his Penguins shirt and camo cargo shorts he’s content with laying down a slick bass line and leaving the rock ‘n’ roll looks to Rob. 4. Bobby Bell-Drums; it’s easy to forget that he’s back there behind his wooden fortress. This is high praise for a drummer, he locks in the beat and it becomes so natural attention drifts elsewhere. Only when he throws in a quick fill do you realize just how competent a drummer he is. 3. Scott Hazuda-keys/vocals; his fluent left hand shows a well rounded understanding of the instrument and his harmonies are spot on. 2. Eric James-lead guitar; he never noodles, every note has its place and he never upstages anyone which can’t be said for a majority of lead guitarists. 1. Rob Eldridge-lead vocals/rhythm guitar; so rock ‘n’ roll–from his sunglasses to his trademark fedora he’s the perfect front man. Unapologetic yet unpretentious, sincere and gracious, he’s a magnet for the audience’s attention.)
Appearance, though isn’t the only balance that Steelesque provides. The sound itself is a melting pot of dynamic rhythm, precise harmony, and polyphonic swells. This band clearly believes in what they are doing and trusts each other’s skills. They are a brave band, one moment playing to their strength which is the energized American rock song a la Black Crows/.38 special, the next moment morphing into a dreamy ballad, and even have some hippie shit up their sleeve with drawn out lead guitar solos and punchy, Primus style bass.
There is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to Steelesque, and yet there is nothing predictable.