Chevelle & Black Map: Kick off new tour at The Fillmore SFChris Kentzell
Chevelle, the well known American rock band from the Chicago suburb of Grayslake, Illinois started out in 1995 and has sold over four million albums in the United States. Their first studio album Point #1, was released on Squint Entertainment; followed later by their second album, Wonder What’s Next (October 8, 2002) and contained long lasting fan favorites, “The Red” and “Send the Pain Below”; ended up certified Platinum by the RIAA after a debuting fourteenth on the US Billboard 200. Their third album, This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), was released in 2004, and debuted at No. 8 and hit certified Gold. Chevelle went forward releasing seven albums by 2014. Their newest release and eighth album, The North Corridor, was released on July 8, 2016 and has been noted as being the band’s “heaviest, darkest, and most aggressive effort in over a decade.”
The band brought their recognizable sound song structure and well-known stage show to a sold-out Fillmore with unmistakably happy, head-bobbing, long-time fans. Chevelle had our full attention and the entire room sang along with every tune. The guests seemed to be really feeling the 11 years of long time gratitude for the music, and after the performance they gave on this first day of the tour, I’m certain this performance will have only positive feedback from all who were fortunate enough to be present on this night.
Black Map took the supporting role this night.. One of the Bay Area’s own, and quickly becoming more and more known by the minute by fans near and far. Black Map features three musicians, Ben Flanagan -vox/bass, Chris Robyns -drums (Far) and Mark Engles -guitar (Dredg); who each in their own right command a presence and place in their latest project. They have a quality many bands try to achieve and seem to do it effortlessly; to be able to convey an arena size sound with all notes hitting their keys, heavy guitars, and just the right areas of space to create an atmosphere. Robyn is always a highlight as well, with his hard-hitting grounded rhythms.
Black Map, started out in San Francisco and have been steadily on the rise. I had an opportunity to interview Ben prior to the show and the interview follows this review if you’re curious! Black Map hits their fans with their EP Driver in 2014, followed up shortly thereafter with their first studio album And We Explode; on the horizon is their latest album In Droves, scheduled for release March 10, 2017 through their current label eOne. If you get a chance go check these guys out, it may be the first time you see them, but will certainly not be the last!
Review/Interview/Photos: Jen Cash
Line Edits: Leah Storkson
Interview with Ben Flanagan of Black Map
Jen: Jen Cash here with Ben Flanagan of Black Map
Ben: Hey there
Jen: Tell me a bit about this latest tour supporting Chevelle:
Ben: Tonight kicks off the first show of the tour, we’re excited to start at here at home and in such an historical venue, being able just pop over to the venue is just very rare on tour. This is our fourth time out with Chevelle, they’ve really taken us under their wing and they’re a great band and really great guys. Dinosaur Pile Up from England are great too and were excited to see them.
Jen: Let’s talk about your new single “Run Rabbit Run” which is out now and is hitting the charts and on the radio…
Ben: It’s our opening song on the record, and we wouldn’t have placed it there if we didn’t feel it should be in a spot like that; were very proud of it, it’s one of the most energetic and powerful songs we have; tonight will be only the second time we’ve played it live.
Jen: Give me a lil background on “Run Rabbit Run”’s creation, where did the song derive from, what’s it about?
Ben: It’s about what happens if we follow the crowd.. and don’t strive for art or passion, settling for security and not following our hearts so to speak. One of my biggest fears is sitting in a cubicle, becoming a drone. It’s just about sticking to your guns, to your passions.
Jen: Let’s talk about this latest tour, where are you headed and what are some places your are all excited to hit this time an why?
Ben: Being on the road is always great, but it’s not just about hitting the big cities, New York and LA are awesome and there’s some success there but we’re really excited when we stop off at the smaller obscure places too. Tonight we start at home, we get to sleep in our own beds, which is nice, then tomorrow we head to Sacramento, so that’s easy then there is a lot of brutal terrain, lots of driving… chasing the tour bus. I really love America dearly and getting to see so much of it; it’s not just New York or Los Angeles, it’s all of it, hitting places like Niagara Falls, Sioux Falls, Billings, in the cool little pockets, this time it’s Boise, Boulder and Spokane, places we haven’t been to in a couple of years.
Jen: Let’s go back and talk a bit on the newest album in the works.. “In Droves”; so I hear this is slotted to be out March 10th 2017, and I know from speaking to you three previously that its been quite the endeavor; sounded like you spent a lot of time this this one. Tell me how you all feel about this latest release and what fans can expect.
Ben: Yeah, we spent a lot of time of this one. We were in the studio working for a while and were about half done and ended up going out with Bush in Summer. It was refreshing though, because it allowed us to take some time with it; we could listen to it on the road on our headphones and in the van. I was still working out the lyrics to many of the songs and it gave us the time to just sit with it, and that process was different. It ended up being a three and a half month process; it’s more dynamic than the last album and we are really proud, and happy with it. It has heavier moments and then has spacier more ethereal moments which are different from where we went before.