Play to the Gallery

New Music in REVIEW

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Artist Feature,   From Issue 858   By: Matt deHeus

27th February, 2018     0

If you watch enough bands, it’s easy to come to one simple conclusion:  some acts are simply trying harder than others.  Now that I have been officially introduced the phenomenon that is Play To The Gallery, I am inclined to put them in that circle.

Formed in 2013, the Saginaw based band describes their music in a mix of industrial and mystical terms, bringing together elements of “steampunk,” “post-punk” and danceable modern rock sounds.

It is worth mentioning that Play To The Gallery is “all in” on living up to their name, as their bread and butter is a live show in which they don not only elaborate stage costuming, but also adopt stage persona.  When taking the stage, frontman Christopher Lewis becomes The Barker, while bandmates Stephen Warrington II is The Conjurer, Kurt Schade morphs into The Gadgeteer, Matt Hill transforms into The Professor and Abbey Gradowski completes the combo as The Stargazer.

The band’s sound is a hybrid - mixing electronica with distorted rock guitars under Lewis’s theatrical vocal delivery style.  The songs offer a mix of darkness and mirth, much in the tradition of bands such as The Cure, Bauhaus or Soft Cell, but with the power and grit of more modern rock outfits like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson..

It is this ethos that is captured in the title of the band’s newest CD release, Ring Around The Rosie.  As most know, the children’s playground sing-song rhyme has often been associated with children  mourning playmates that had died from the plague.  How cheerful.

Ring Around The Rosie, which was recorded at Fire Hyena Studio in Saginaw, is another of the well-constructed releases from this area in the last year.

The album opens with “Riot,” which sounds like a potential mosh pit favorite, for those so included.  The guitars are thick and the groove that might make rockers hit the dance floor hard.  It is a good table setter for things to come.

One of the pleasant things about Ring Around the Rosie is the variety of styles and grooves that it visits, all without losing the identity of the band.  The instrumentalists each take turns driving the tunes. Similar to bands like the Cure, Play To The Gallery might take a figure on keyboard, guitar or bass and weave a melody around the pulse it creates, though they are just as likely to then hit you hard in the cranium when it comes to the chorus.

The are “love songs” like “Love Song” and “She’s So Fine” and more poignant “think pieces” like “Latch Key Kids” and “Burn.”  It is a range of styles and competencies that separates more accomplished bands from those that are simply one trick ponies.  Again, this is a product of simply trying harder.

Play To The Gallery is schedule to play for galleries at Rubbles (Mt Pleasant) on 3/10, the Machine Shop (Flint) on 3/31 and Lumberbaron’s (Bay City) on 4-15 at this year's 32nd Annual Review Music Awards Ceremony.

You can find Ring Around The Rosie on Spotify or on retail sites, such as




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