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[LIVE REVIEW and PHOTOS] EMAROSA at The Drunk Horse Pub, Fayetteville, NC

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Something special happens when a band used to larger venues puts on a show in a tiny bar. Emarosa proved that exceptionally well at their concert last Friday, May 19th. 

After the audience endured four opening bands, Emarosa finally made their way onstage. The small but dedicated crowd left the bar and pool tables to crush up to the front. Everyone was rewarded with a much more balanced sound (compared to the openers, Cedar Green), which comes with seasoned musicians. The venue’s acoustics weren’t particularly kind to the band, but Emarosa’s skill was still apparent. Lead singer Bradley Walden was quick to join the audience; by the first song, an awkward crowd surf (thanks to the venue’s low ceilings) had already begun.

After Walden’s initial acrobatics, Emarosa settled into a solid set. It began with recent hits, like “Hurt” and “Sure” but soon encompassed older tracks such as “People Like Me, We Don’t Just Play” and “Say Hello to the Bad Guy”. There was an obvious emphasis on 2014’s Versus and the band’s latest stuff on 131. The crowd didn’t seem to mind, though, if the screaming and energetic shoving is anything to judge by. Emarosa closed with one of their most popular songs to date, “Cloud 9”.

The performance seemed like it had been designed for larger venues and audiences. Walden was in or over the crowd just as often as he was on the stage — crowd surfing, singing from the middle of the pit, you name it. Injections of humor and crowd interaction kept things personal, like when someone shouted up at Walden that he smelled like, “perfection and lemonade.” The singer immediately broke into a grin and embraced it, joking that it would be his new twitter bio. Other band members stayed in their spots for the most part, leaving Walden to just do his thing. He definitely brought a stadium effort to a fifty person room.
The set seemed well rehearsed, but not in a way that made it feel like dull routine. Given the acoustical limits, there was a decent mix of guitar, vocals, and percussion. However, the band lacked attempts at harmonies that would have worked well. Despite this, it was an overall impressive performance from Emarosa.

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