jack tomascak

So, I just got back from Chris Cappello’s first full band show at The Space, and I’m both super sad and super impressed.

I arrived right as The Human Fly, also known as Robert Mathis, was preparing for an adventurous combination of poetry and moody acoustic music. His set felt like a too-brief taste of an interesting and perfect blend of expression narrated by his dark, Grunge-y vocals. Either aspect of his set could’ve stood alone, but together, they wove a madman’s narrative that I’d love to explore. 

Following him was the second performance by Jack Tomascak that I’ve seen, and I have the feeling that each will be even better than the last. He’s a one man post-hardcore band, producing an entire group’s worth of melodic guitar lines and addictive vocals. He made creative use of effects pedals and other recordings, making the set more experimental and varied. The added volume allowed for a nod to Snowing with a Pixies-like sound, alternating from whispers to cacophony in a heartbeat. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in the past few years, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone throw themselves into the music with as much shocking intensity as Jack did.

This was the first time I saw Chris perform outside of school, or with his full band, and both changes added life to an already emotive sound. The mix of old and new songs in the set list made me both eager to revisit his first album, I’m Not Afraid of My Own Name, and await his upcoming release, Could Be Bitter Forever. With the new, electric accompaniment, there wasn’t a dull moment in the audience; the crisp drumming, thudding bass, and screaming guitar propelled their murmurs and yells. The only thing that equaled the raucous or tender delivery was the lyrics, which I identify with almost more than anything else. Anger, grief, fear, frustration and nostalgia have never sounded so good, and have never provided such a warm welcome for the summer. 

I’ve just returned from seeing Jack Tomascak and People Who Love People play The Space on a whim, but I’m incredibly happy about the way I spent the evening. Jack Tomascak utilized one guitar more than many bands make use of all their instruments. By himself, he managed to produce an energetic, varied, tremolo-filled orchestra that filled the room. His music bummed me out in the greatest way; his songs are all moody anthems that leave you torn between sitting out and feeling sorry for yourself, and jumping around with as much enthusiasm as Jack brings to the stage. I’d really like to get my hands on some of his CDs.

People Who Love People came on next and blew the house down, in quality and in sheer decibels. Their sound plays homage to great bands like The Vaselines, Nirvana, BTMI, and of course, Andrew Jackson Jihad. The latter and People Who Love People share the same achingly honest lyrics and vocals and the thrashing acoustic guitar, but People Who Love People delivers them at a frantic pace. The best moments were often when either the drummer added her sweet voice to the mix, or the bassist and lead singer sat on the edge of the stage to strum one of their rawer songs, adding intimacy to an already incredibly intimate set. 

Overall, quite a nice night and nice performers, and an especially nice prelude for Andrew Jackson Jihad’s show this Saturday.