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Synapses firing

The Receiving End of Sirens have their own Fenway faithful
By SAM MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 8, 2006

STARTING SMALL: They recently sold out Avalon, but not long ago they were playing the Norwood American Legion.
Back on Monday August 14, when Kenmore Square was the usual pre–Red Sox game Tasmanian clusterfuck, a smaller but no less devoted crowd began to form outside Avalon. At four in the afternoon. A full three hours before doors opened, and probably another four, even five, before the Receiving End of Sirens took the stage. The kids outside the club and the Fenway faithful “are the same breed of fan,” said singer/bassist Brendan Brown when I caught up with him backstage. “Look at how fans are for the Red Sox and how fans are for any other team anywhere else. The kids here are just way more loyal.” Attesting to his argument was the time the line started to form, the size of the crowd around the Sirens’ merch booth, and the packed room when the band came on.

After a year and a half on tour, TREOS took the stage to the Cheers theme, and it was clear they were glad to be back. Hailing from Western Mass, the members met at Northeastern, and they honed their sound in dorm rooms. At Avalon, they powered through a set of epic post-hardcore with electronic flourishes, blasting forth three-part guitar harmonies. Their debut, Between the Heart and the Synapse (Triple Crown), is drive-with-your-windows-down, sing-along-as-loud-as-you-can, bang-the-steering-wheel, see-people-stare-as-you-drive-by-but-who-cares-this-shit-rocks rock. And that’s exactly what they delivered at Avalon. They open for Taking Back Sunday in a WFNX free “Disorientation” concert this Saturday, September 9.

What’s interesting is that TREOS have amassed loyal fans across the country. They’re one of those odd “local” bands who garner just as much national attention. And that didn’t come about from being plucked by Fallout Boy and thrust into national superstardom à la Panic! At the Disco. In fact, small shows like the ones here at the Norwood American Legion and the ICC are how TREOS found that national audience. As an unsigned band dealing with the loss of their first frontman, and with nothing more than a three-song EP to support, they hit the road, sold a couple thousand copies of the three-songer, and played all kinds of gigs.

“I specifically remember playing a huge venue in Athens,” Brown says, “in front of two people, not including the homeless dude who snuck in.” But all it takes is for those two kids to tell two more kids and for all of them to check out the band’s MySpace or Purevolume pages. “By the time we made it out to California, we were drawing a few hundred kids.” Unlike MySpace creation Lily Allen, TREOS used their Internet buzz to win fans without suffering any major backlash. They’d taken full advantage of playing those tiny, small-venue shows, where the connection between audience and band is immediate and intimate.

“When we were starting out, no club really wanted to have us, so we would play a lot of halls outside Boston,” says singer/guitarist Alex Bars. “I am almost glad we did it that way, because I feel like it was a way to get more personal at shows than at clubs, talk to more kids at the shows.”

And they still talk to the kids. Before the Avalon show, Alex and lead guitarist Nate Patterson were outside hanging with those loyal fans in line. Although they’re now big enough to headline Avalon, TREOS haven’t forgotten where they got their start: Nate chatted with those fans about playing the Norwood American Legion.

Non-stop touring and burgeoning popularity haven’t come without some major inner-band strife. Casey Crescenzo, who played guitar and keyboards and sang, left the group in May. “We were just different people,” says drummer Andrew Cook, “and it got to the point where it was like, ‘All right, this really isn’t working. We’re either going to break up or we need to figure out what the problem is.’ ” TREOS were no strangers to losing members: early on, frontman Ben Potrykus left because of the increased attention and the pressure of touring. The band took a brief break, Crescenzo joined, and they recorded that three-song EP and kept moving. “It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend,” Cook goes on. “You still love each other on that certain level, but it’s really hard to talk for a while.” At Avalon, it was clear that they’re also handling the loss of Crescenzo.

So what do you do when you’re back in Boston and have some time off? (They head to Europe in October.) You write and record new material. Cook says, “It should be a lot different. Some of the songs we’re playing now are three years old.” With Boston native Matt Squire set to produce (he worked with them on their debut, and he also has Thrice, Northstar, and Rhode Isanders Monty Are I on his résumé), they expect the next album to have a more electronic feel, even without Crescenzo’s keyboards. Cook: “With the last record, we’d written a lot of the songs before Casey had been in there, so a lot of the electronics came as afterthoughts, just to complement the songs. Now, we have the privilege of being able to base a song around the electronics or write an electronic song.” But he adds, “It’s definitely going to be a rock record.”

TAKING BACK SUNDAY + THE RECEIVING END OF SIRENS | City Hall Plaza | September 9 | 5:30 pm | Free |

On the Web
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  Topics: New England Music News , AL East Division , American League (Baseball) , Boston Red Sox ,  More more >
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