Never Settle For Anything Less: Lights Resolve Rocks Mr. Small’s Theatre on 8/7/09

One of the first things Matt Reich, the lead singer/guitarist from Lights Resolve, told me was that they are a live band versus a track band.

He wasn’t kidding.

When the New York based three piece, comprised of Matt, drummer Neal Saini and bass guitarist Luke Daniels, did not stop for one second. From the time they took the stage until the last reverb of their final song had faded they were playing the part of larger than life rock stars well enough that it was hard to believe they were only playing to a room of about two dozen people.

But, according to Matt, the band wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best they can be. He explained that his biggest musical influence is legendary rockers U2 because “they don’t settle.” His admiration for their continued development and constant push, even now, to break now ground, has led him and the others to make that one of Lights Resolve’s primary goals.

One of the other big cues the band takes from U2 is a sense of equality among the members. In fact, Reich explained to me that equality and friendship is what Lights Resolve is based on. The band formed following the departure of a previous lead singer and the three remaining members were left to re-evaluate what they wanted out of music. And they have come back, better than before, with Reich taking over lead vocals and pushing himself to improve his already impressive voice.

Matt was no stranger to music, though. He explained that he got into music originally in the 3rd grade when he and his classmates were instructed to pick an instrument they wanted to learn but also to have a second choice prepared, since odds were they wouldn’t get their first. Matt tried to trick the system, putting down his first choice, trumpet, as his second choice. However, the plan backfired and Matt wound up the only male in his school band who played clarinet.

But it paid off. Eventually he wound up as first chair. And that bit of exposure to playing an instrument lead him to start playing guitar at 12 and then begin singing at 23. Now 26, he’s fronting a band that has opened for Panic! at the Disco, The Used and Straylight Run and is constantly playing other dates in order to get their name out there.

The band will be taking a short break from touring, however, following the remaining dates on their jaunt along the East Coast, ending with a headlining show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. Theyll be headed to a house in Florida to write a full length album. But they don’t plan on being off the road too long since they told me they were planning to tour again in October.

The writing break is necessary, though. According to Matt, the band is so focused on their live show while touring that writing becomes difficult. But the experiences from the road influence their music, especially the people they run into along the way. But a lot of their time is spent traveling, listening to ambient music such as Sigor Ros, which Matt said was extremely inspiring, especially while driving through desert areas. “Looking through the front window, it’s inspiring…landscaps and landscape music.”

Well, during the day, at least. When they need to get pumped up and stay awake, Luke tends to pop in some Taking Back Sunday, as he’s a fan.

The band’s van, by the way, does NOT have an MP3 player hook up, so they are reliant on CD’s. Meaning, if you want to burn them something they’d appreciate it. Though they appreciate their fans anyway. Unlike some bands who might ignore what’s being said about them online, or write it off as bs, Lights Resolve does take what they see people saying, both positive and negative, and figure out how they can use the praise and critique to make themselves a better band. Matt described the fans as “what lets you operate,” and summed it all up as “If we didn’t listen to our fans, it would be bad.”

To that end, the band remains active online at sites like Myspace, PureVolume and Twitter. They also have a Buzznet, which I have been promised they will be updating (and I hope they realize I will hold them to that), that they signed up for because of a high school friend of Matt’s who these days goes by the name of DJ Rossstar.

That’s a lot of talk, you might think, but what about the show? Well, as I already said, U2 is one of the band’s biggest influences, so it makes sense that they’d take cues both musically and performancewise from them. Taking the stage with colored warpaint on their faces, they played like they love what they do. More of Matt’s bottled water ended up shaken over the audience than in his mouth and at one point he stood on the barrier leaning over and getting audience members to sing into the microphone, kissing male and female attendees on the forehead and cheek and shaking sweat over everyone in the first row or so. His hand gestures were dramatic but natural looking and he occasionally wields his guitar like a weapon.

Okay, now, what about the MUSIC? Well, the only remotely negative thing I can say is that the music was occasionally a bit repetitive. But it was hard to notice that through the energy and pure talent of the three men on stage. And considering the band is headling on limited material, it’s not entirely unheard of (see also: Panic at the Disco on the Nothing Rhymes with Circus tour). No matter what, I was bobbing my head, clapping my hands and having one hell of a good time. I never found myself bored by the show, which I have had happen with other bands I’ve covered.

All in all? Lights Resolve is well worth going to see if you can catch them. If you’re interested in hearing what they’ve got to offer, check out their Myspace page and watch out for their new single “Dreaming of Love” which comes out on iTunes on August 11th. They’ll also be shooting a video for “Dreaming of Love” in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Oh, and in closing, Matt would like me to say,

“Don’t forget to scrub your behind. Lights Resolve loves cleanliness.”