Stars Go Dim Cain’s Feb 11 2010

The second half of this showcase began with Radio Radio, who have broken
the rule that you don’t name a song after your band and you don’t name
your band after a song.  They have a very 80s sound.

Chris Cleveland rattled off the set list before the show: “Love Gone Mad, Come Around, Incredible, Catch Me If You Can, Far From Over You, Better This Way, Seventeen, Crazy, You’ve Got me, and Get Over It.  And there’s one that I forgot, before 17 – Not A Lover.  We switched the whole thing up this week.”

It’s so new, that he doesn’t even know it yet.  They are a work in progress; Chris was reading lyrics to a new song at their last Tulsa gig.

Where do they get the best reaction?  “Tulsa’s been great for us; it’s our home base, every show’s been better. We’ve had a lot of support; all the media and the radio and The Edge sponsoring the show tonight – it’s a big help," Chris said. "We have big crowds picking up in Texas, Kansas City, Dallas and Houston. We’re trying to develop our region. Trying to do college towns; Norman, Stillwater, Lawrence, University of Arkansas. We’re branching out to east and west coast festivals.  We own from Omaha to Houston and Nashville to Phoenix, Albuquerque and Amarillo. We have a big motor home with beds, TV and Internet so that makes it easy."

You know you’re a musician when you’ve learned how to sleep on a bus.

“I sleep better going down the road; I honestly do.  It feels like home.  At home I don’t sleep well, but I get on the bus and I’m just out.”

“We’ve played Austin a lot; We did South by Southwest last year and we’ve done shows on Sixth Street quite a bit.  It’s really cool to play old places where Stevie Ray Vaughan used to play a long time ago.  We have a lot of people down there that take care of us.  That’s one of our favorite cities, actually.”

Jeff Coleman played this show on second guitar. He took a solo and had a nice fat tone.

Their sound was much more driving in this big venue.

Chris has a Hammond now, a 1978 model X5, plus his spinet piano which sounds pretty fat. Come to find out it’s just a spinet case, with a keyboard laid in it.

Though they all play well,the drummer most is the most impressive musician.  He’s solid and often plays unconventional bass lines.  He’s obviously composing his own parts.  He’s not just in the background – he knows the songs, punching the accents along with the guitars and bass.

They understand dynamics and pacing.  Some songs groove hard, others are mellow, and the set is paced well.  A couple of songs even have soft and loud sections arranged into them. They have compositional maturity that many bands of their generation do not have.

Chris dedicated a song to his aunt and uncle who have been married 30 years.

This audience doesn’t applaud, they just scream.

SGD did 150 shows this year and Chris did another 150 doing worship stuff; he plays at Asbury United Methodist Church and is involved in the worship team there.

This is not your typical rock band story. Though their music is secular, and of a typical romantic nature, as in the folk tradition, there is nothing of dubious morality. These guys come from the Christian Rock background and they make music to spread joy, not for self-aggrandizement.

Chris is the focus being tall, blonde, good looking, a strong tenor and friendly with the crowd, but the band is a unit. Guitarist Joey does the lion’s share of the composing.

The name refers to before the dawn: as the sky lightens, the stars appear to go dim.  Some people reach stardom and lose their bearings.  This band is poised on the brink of the big time; but you can bet they will maintain their integrity when it happens.

Props to Cain’s sound crew for the best mixing job I’ve heard there yet. It’s tough to make good clear sound in this barn of a building


Photos by: Kevin Pyle