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Live Review: Balance & Composure

By Ohad Amram Staff Writer

Sunday Feb. 24, New York City’s Bowery Ballroom welcomed Doylestown, Pa. five piece, Balance & Composure. This show concluded their 2013 winter tour with openers Daylight and The Jealous Sound. Usually the progressive punk outfit finds itself opening the shows; at least this has been the case in previous years as it toured its debut full-length album, “Separation.” It has opened for such bands as The Wonder Years and Circa Survive.

However, this go-round was different, Balance headlined and with quite the turnout. Despite the New York City date at the Bowery, Balance had sold out the majority of the venues on this latest tour.

As the show opened, Daylight riled up the crowd with its alternative grunge sound and a  stage presence reminiscent of Nirvana. The Jealous Sound, although, was nowhere near as satisfying, neither in sound nor stage presence. However, both bands seemed to have been non-existent or in the least, stark in comparison when Balance graced the stage and plunged into its set list. Since the band garnered a mass following immediately after its grouping in the winter of 2007, it had first released its six song EP, “I Just Want to be Pure.” Shortly thereafter, it released its second EP, “Only Boundaries,” which finally led to its split album with fellow Pennsylvania natives, Tigers Jaw.

Balance, through both EPs, split album and debut album, “Separation,” has maintained its following of older, beloved fans while harvesting the attention of new fans too -- a feat not band bands can accomplish. Yet another feat that the band has accomplished, is its incomprehensible ability to play and sound live exactly as it does on the albums.

The set list consisted of songs old and new. Fan favorites such as “Burden” and “Rope” excited longtime fans as they chanted every lyric in unison. Off of “Separation,” the band harnessed their raw aggression for ballads while playing “I Tore You Apart in my Head” and “Stonehands.”

Jon Simmons, Balance’s front man, found himself able to communicate with the crowd as he does on Balance’s records simply due to how open the singer-songwriter and guitarist is with his audience. It is, without a doubt, the honesty and channeled emotion that fluctuates from song to song that vibes so well with Balance & Composure fans.

Fans at the show appreciated Simmons’ utmost honesty and complete confidence within how personal he was with the Bowery audience. “This next song is about waiting [to] die,” said Simmons, “It’s called, ‘Patience.’” The fact of the matter stands that fans found they were able to sympathize with Simmons’ life as they are able to on every recorded Balance track.

The show continuously grew personal as Jon gave fans further insight on meaning behind his lyrics, stating with conviction, “This song is about my ex-girlfriend.” Such introductions led to a furthered sense of unity between Balance’s lyrics and the audience who proceeded to shout Balance’s lyrics louder and louder in return to the band. By the end of the night, group chants and circle pits assembled countless times with, what seemed, no end in sight.

Sadly, Balance’s set drew to a close after an hour. Exiting the stage, Simmons remarked “Thank you New York City for coming out, this crowd is the best way we could end this tour.”

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