AUGUST 21, 2003
Passion and Rock:
The Rare Talent of a Band Called Stage
By Autumn Thatcher

n Tuesday, Aug. 12, Eve 6 played at DV8. Though the band members provided an entertaining show, one could not help but notice that their opening act, Stage, had them completely dwarfed.

The members of the dark, loud rock band Stage try to break free of their confining moniker by frollicking in the desert.  

Void of roadies, the quartet appeared to be stagehands, setting up for Eve 6. It soon became apparent that the mysterious group of guys on stage, was in fact a band. Stage was quiet in its presentation and began with slow guitar playing as a low-yet-powerful voice began to penetrate the crowd, coming from a shadowed face underneath a dark, hooded jacket. Suddenly, the lights beamed. Guitarist Greg Meyer transitioned from slow and deep strumming to strong chords while lead vocalist Ryan Stahr flooded the room with a voice filled with so much passion that all the crowd could do was stare, wide eyed and open-mouthed.

The band members soon revealed themselves to be Stage, simply put and haphazardly discarded. Their name was out there, and that was it. They continued to perform, playing powerful music that emanated from each individual. The sincerity evoked through Stahr's voice was heard through the instruments of Meyer, bassist Petr Anselmo and drummer Justin Parker. The band proved itself to be unified in a love for music. Seeming to care little about making jokes, Stage focused on playing songs, giving the fans the opportunity to overcome the initial shock of such a unique sound at an alternative/punk show, and settle into a warm appreciation for the performance.

The sounds of Stage reveal the roots that tie the band to music. Influenced largely by the appreciation and admiration for the Seattle-based grunge-rock scene, Stage carries forth the deep meaning found in the lyrics of these bands, revealed through dark instrumentation and Stahr's voice, which in itself sounds like Nirvana's Kurt Cobain meets Bush’s Gavin Rossdale. Self described as a rock-and-roll band, Stage is the polar opposite of headlining band Eve 6. Stahr reveals that, "Our mission is obviously to be as big as we can be,” thus explaining the reason behind touring with Eve 6.

Since it worked under the same head manager as Eve 6, the band was invited to tour with the more recognizably soft alternative band. Though Stage recognizes the musical differences between the two bands, the band members were nonetheless happy to accept the opportunity to tour with Eve 6, claiming that they "will go out with anybody that will have us," while saying that they maintain a complete respect for Eve 6 members and the performance that they give their fans.

Declining an invitation to move to Los Angeles and be produced by a major record label, Stage chose to stay close to home in New York City and build a fan base there. The tour with Eve 6 allows the band to do on the road what it has been doing in New York City for the past 10 years. It gives the band members the opportunity to play in front of sold out audiences, letting their music reach those who may not think to listen to the darker rock style of Stage.

The self-titled debut album reveals both the talent and the passion of the band. Though Stage has maintained a fairly low profile, they do have a single that can be heard on radio stations in Utah. “I Will Be Something” was released to radio in late March, when the album came out. According to Stahr, the release was “a moderate success to today's standards.” Stahr maintains that their whole philosophy is to "stay on the road” and to “tour and let the people decide.”

Judging by the performance given in Salt Lake City and the audience’s reaction to the band, the people are definitely reaching a positive decision. Stage hopes to “make more fans and more fans until everyone really knows who we are.” In doing so, the up and-comers are continuously advancing to the next level of the music world, which explains the inspiration behind the band’s name—advancing to the next metaphorical stage in life.

The passion found in Stage’s music is an element of music that appears to be void in many of the mainstream bands today. Rarely is the love for what they are doing expressed through the performance of a band. Stahr and the his bandmates prove to be a rarity in music, making their music priceless in itself. The show in Salt Lake City could have ended after Stage's performance because after that presentation of true love and sincerity, anything else looked like a joke.


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