State Radio graced a sold out, hometown crowd at Boston’s Avalon Ballroom to an energized set of riff-fused neo-ska-rock that showcased an onslaught of Chad Urmston’s post-Dispatch material, and a few well executed covers.
As Dispatch fans eagerly count the days until the group reunites for a three-night sold out stint at Madison Square Garden, it might be fair to assume that State Radio’s current tour might be overshadowed by the speculation behind their front man’s future plans. However, from the moment State Radio dove into their set, the connection between the guitarist on stage and his Dispatch beginnings couldn’t have been any less relevant.
From the first set-inaugurating notes of “Revolutionaries,” all the way to an explosive encore of The Cranberries “Zombie,” State Radio had their audience worked into a moshed-out frenzy.
As attendees continued to project themselves up, out, and over the crowd, Urmston and Co. continued to drive through a set of reggae-fused fan favorites such as “Man in the Hall,” “Mr. Larkin,” “Ill Advised,” and “Rushian."
One of the most striking aspects of Dispatch’s sound was the eclectic pool of influences they pull from. State Radio pulls from older icons such as Bob Marley and The Clash, while working in a degree of more recent acts like Rage Against The Machine, NOFX, and The Pixies. Their ability to fuse the style of their influences with the modern edge of their contemporaries is the backbone to the formula which has played a big part of their success.
Although their sound abides by technical minimalism, this audiological reality has been carefully checked by a powerhouse stage presence. The best example of this was when Urmston and Chuck Fay (Bass) repeatedly dove into the air and slammed into each other in a context that visually paralleled something out of The Matrix. By keeping their arrangements simple, and their solos sweet and to the point, State Radio’s sound has provided them with a loose, on-stage leniency which has allowed them to work the crowd in a way that’s made their live shows as engaging as they are.
With minimal airplay, and word of mouth promoting, State Radio managed to sell out Boston’s biggest nightclub, and kept its attendees hooked on their every word for close to two hours. They proved that with an appealing sound, and a dynamic live performance, it’s more than possible to keep the music business home grown. It’s for reasons like this, and many more, that State Radio has quickly started to seem like a modernized Sublime for the MySpace generation.