Forbidden fruit

Far From Eden grows progressive rock at Oregon Express

By Mike Ritchie

Photo: Kimberly Weiss and Far From Eden play Oregon Express April 15 photo: Jennifer Taylor

Sometimes a band finds its niche by refusing to fit in. Sometimes striking a balance between “too heavy” and “not heavy enough” is a good thing.

Blending an addictive homemade brew of loud, progressive hard rock, seasoned with a southern spiritual groove, Far From Eden is one of Dayton’s most unclassifiable bands. Audience members will have figure out Far From Eden’s genre for themselves, Saturday, April 15, at the band’s Oregon Express show.

Despite its undefinable sound, Far From Eden has more than a few musical influences. Clutch, Concrete Blonde, and Black Sabbath inspire Far From Eden members to pick up their instruments. Les Claypool, Dream Theater, Dillinger Escape Plan, and The Black Dahlia Murder guide their musical output. After 2016’s debut Galactic Insurgents EP, the band is recording new songs and tweaking older ones with an album release planned for the end of the year.

They enjoy playing with the diversity of their sound, and the differences give vocalist Kimberley Weiss and her bandmates the chance to adjust their delivery as needed.

“[Our genre] depends on who you ask,” guitarist Nathan Goff laughs. “Don Thrasher [of the Dayton Daily News] calls us metal. If you talk to someone in the metal scene, they’ll say, that’s not metal. It’s a weird sub-genre with nice, clean vocals versus a scream or yell.”

Choosing not to scream, Weiss instead breathes out incantations as fellow guitarist Rick Lazear, bassist Josh Vetter, and drummer George Tucker provide ritualistic music as a backdrop. Driven by the word tapestries of Goff, Weiss sings bluesy rock, mixing Dorothee “Doro” Pesch, and her version of Janis Joplin and Alanis Morissette. Weiss gains motivation and power from how the band plays.

“I like playing with heavier bands because I can bring more stage presence. If we’re with a mellower band, I tone it down,” she says.

Weiss is open to trying a heavier, growling style, if taught correctly, but Goff insists passion and intensity is delivered without it.

The intensity of Far From Eden’s music can sometimes take a toll on the band. A few years back, they took a hiatus but found chemistry and comradery again.

“We quit for a while, then came back and added some things,” Weiss recalls. “In 2013, we started back and ended up with this crazy crew. It took a series of circumstances to get where we are now. This lineup has been together since July of last year.

“It just feels too good to worry about anyone else’s thing, and do something else,” Weiss continues. “Right now, we’re doing a bunch of writing. We’ve written two new songs and pieces of six or seven other ones.”

“For a brief time, things overlapped,” Goff explains. “The writing was just so much more involved and enthusiastic. There was a certain motivation, chemistry, and drive that slowly over weighed what we were doing with the other project. It’s now the main focus of our art and energy.”

Now that they’re back together, the band stays busy with projects in and around Dayton. Recently, they’ve opened for ex-Megadeth guitarist Jeff Young, shared the Rockstar Pro Arena stage with Smile Empty Soul, and played the opening of Trojan City Music store in Troy. They are also planning shows at Hank’s Pub, The Courtyard, and Oscar’s Bar and Grill, with the intent of eventually hitting Bogart’s in Cincinnati and Alrosa Villa in Columbus. In the future, they hope to play with out-of-town talent.

“We want to invite friends from Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus to do a show in Dayton, and hopefully they’ll reciprocate, and we’ll get on the road a bit,” Weiss says.

As for their upcoming Oregon Express appearance, Far From Eden is looking forward to the gig.

“The O.E. is an exciting show for us. We’re playing with Dark Backward for the first time. We’ve been trying to get a gig with them for a long time,” Goff says.

With Far From Eden’s crowded schedule, mistakes will be made. After making it 14 years without incident, Weiss finally had her “Spinal Tap moment,” recently falling off stage at Oscar’s.

“I can’t believe she made it this many years without falling off the stage,” Goff jokes.

Weiss was in the moment on the band’s last song, and, wearing heels, stepped off the edge of the stage into a cup of water, crashing into her mic stand. She kept singing the entire way through.

“You have to take those moments and turn it into something cool. First time for everything—I was overdue,” she laughs. “We’re all far from Eden, far from perfection.”

 

Far From Eden plays Saturday, April 15 at Oregon Express, 336 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. Show starts at 9 p.m. Dark Backward, Scarecrow Sideshow, and the Gringo are also on the bill. Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and up. For more information, please find ‘Far From Eden’ on Facebook or visit OregonExpressDayton.com.

 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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