Better times

The Spectrum

Even on a bad day, Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer still lives up to his reputation as the good guy of rock.

Touring for his latest album, Of Men and Angels, Avary has broken his two-year silence and thrown his creative genius into high gear.

Traveling with the Goo Goo Dolls, The Rocket Summer chose to spend their day off entertaining the dedicated fans of Buffalo at Club Infinity Wednesday night.

Although the opening acts of The Reign of Kindo and City Under Siege were talented, they were local and rather unknown, failing to get the crowed truly pumped for the headliner.

But once the lights went out and the multi-talented Avary took the stage, concertgoers had no trouble getting into the show.

Although a band backs him on stage, Avary is a virtual one-man band. He is the sole performer on his album, commanding drums, keys, guitar, and bass.

Avary took the time to let his fans experience his true sound in this show, as he systematically went through each instrument, playing and then looping them until it was only him on stage, singing and playing the guitar.

"I just loved the idea of making something from scratch, and when I was young I put out a CD, and I just played all the instruments, and it slowly just became my life. I didn't think that was what I was going to do forever; it was weird. I don't know. I enjoy it; I'm kind of like a mad scientist when I get into the studio,'" Avary said of his jump into solo recording.

It's lucky for his fans that he did.

Peppered with a cross section of his work, the show hearkened back to the lighter songs of the past while highlighting his more serious, though upbeat, tracks from Of Men and Angels.

"I think it was just where I was," Avary said of the deeper nature of the album. "I still think it is a really optimistic record. I think a very helpful record … It's not, ‘let's just skip around and sing about [anything].' I love it though … I was sort of going through some things in my life. To me it's that good of a record because it's so real."

Known for his friendly, down-to-earth demeanor, Avary takes the time to relate to his fans on a level not usually seen in his performances. With a planned trip into the audience, Avary bounded into the crowd and sung among them, letting them crowd surf him back to stage. Yet, when his guitar malfunctioned in the next song, he threw himself back into the fray.

"When life gives you lemons, jump into the crowd," Avary said.

The singer kicked out song after song. Tried and true favorites, "Do You Feel," "Save," "Brat Pack" and "Break It Out" were punctuated with "I Need a Break … but I'd Rather Have a Break Through," "I Want Something to Live For," and "Walls."

After an hour of playing, fans were still enthralled in the show. Sending the band away, the Texan native took requests from the audience, playing bits and pieces of everyone's favorite songs, including the full length of "Nothing Matters," never before played live.

Half an hour later, the band was beckoned back to the stage to wind down the night with the beloved single "So Much Love" and, the closing track of Men and Angels, "Light."

Although he may be coming off of hard and harder times, Avary has a talent and dedication that is never lacking, giving his fans something to cheer for.