Reigning from New Jersey, the indie band Steel Train is quietly making a huge ruckus in the underground music scene. I first discovered Steel Train at Bonnaroo 2008. They were one of the first bands I saw after a grueling 6 hour drive, and I was exhausted. My friends beckoned me to see them. I had no idea who they were or what kind of music they played, but I went with it and I am glad I did.
This quirky band stole the title of the best live band for the next 3 days in my book. All the band members were extremely energetic, which was clearly contagious. Being an indie band with folk influence, they bear an uncanny resemblance to rock 'n' roll at certain times in their songs. However, it's their indie and folk roots that usually dominate.
"Black Eye" kicks off with soft bells and bass kicks. Then following suite are rhythmically timed distorted mute slam coupled with "Woohoohohoooo"s. To polish off the introduction, a nice acoustic melodically holds it down in the background. Enters the vocalist, with his coarse, folksy singing style, to set the overall tone of the piece. It slowly picks up for the next 30 seconds, each element of the song changing and evolving subtley to reach the inevitable climax. Not to mention every now and then there are subtle back-up vocals if you listen carefully. When you think it's about to blast away into a frenzy of overdrive guitars, bells, woohoohohoo-ing, they dial it down to a similar state at the beginning of the song.
Eventually, they'll all let it go in energetic blasts of goodness.