Nick Santino & The Northern Wind and This Century At Chain Reaction


DECEMBER 19- As a 22 year old, the idea of going to Chain Reaction makes my head hurt. For those that aren’t familiar with the venue in Anaheim, it’s one of few all ages venues in Southern California, which means lots and lots of teenagers and no alcohol for the older kids.

The set up in the small club makes it difficult to hear anything happening on stage if you’re standing on the sides. Needless to say, it’s one of my least favorite venues, but I’m glad I decided to suck it up for Nick Santino & The Northern Wind and This Century for the Up Close and Personal Tour.

After an excruciating amount of opening acts, there were literally five of them (another reason I hate this venue), Nick Santino finally hit the stage. Nick was the lead singer of A Rocket to the Moon before the band decided to part ways in early 2013. Nick’s solo venture is a complete change of pace from A Rocket to the Moon, going from pop rock to a more folky-country sound. This was clear from the very beginning of his set, which started with “Story You Should Tell.” The Nashville inspired sound came right through with not only the music, but also the lyrics as he stood on stage with just his guitar.

Nick has an ease on stage, which made his set that much more enjoyable to watch, even with all the “slow sad songs” (his words, not mine) he performed. Nick told stories before many of the songs to explain where they came from or what they’re about. He had the crowd laughing between every song, often by making fun of himself, or friends in bands which the crowd recognized. Before singing “Too Good,” he warned the crowd, “keep your best friend as your best friend, don’t try to do anything.” The song, a sad and beautiful ballad, kept a theme present in many of Nick’s songs: heartbreak. Even more beautiful and sad was “Goddamn,” which Nick prefaced with, “this song is about not getting the hint and not knowing when to move on. I guess that makes me sound kinda crazy.” His honesty onstage, while talking and singing, made his music vulnerable, and believable. In a time where musicians often take the entertainer route rather than be a musician, Nick Santino’s music and ability to stand alone without the smoke and mirrors is refreshing.

Nick brought former bandmates Eric Halvorsen and Andrew Cook on stage to sing a fan favorite, “Baby Blue Eyes,” from A Rocket to The Moon’s debut album. The crowd was clearly excited for the mini-reunion. Although the genre of music may be different for Nick Santino & The Northern Wind, the romantic lyrics were clearly written by the same guy. Nick has easily created a style of songwriting unique to himself, and which will only continue to mature as his career takes off — and I’m sure that it will. Nick also had more uptempo songs, that were obviously influenced by Johnny Cash, like “Miss Virginia” and “Never Coming Back.”

After Nick’s set, headliners This Century followed. The four member band was down to three, with keyboardist Alex Silverman’s absence. Lead singer Joel Kanitz addressed this after a fan shouted, “Where’s Alex?” with, “Sick, sorry this is kind of a last minute acoustic thing.” Joining Joel on stage was drummer Ryan Gose, who played keyboard for the song “Running in Circles,” and Sean Silverman on guitar. Their “last minute acoustic thing” was good for the band, as the acoustic sound impressed me much more than their recorded album. The band played songs from both their albums, but with a majority from their May 2013 release, “Biography of Heartbreak.” Yep, the night continued with more songs about unrequited love and heartbreak. The girls in the front row sang along every word to every song, including a slowed down version of “Tip Toe.”

Judging from the crowd, Nick and This Century’s music caters to a younger demographic. It’s clear why the bands chose a place like Chain Reaction to perform, but the entire time it seemed that the show would have been better suited for a place like The Mint, where you could enjoy the music while having some drinks and dinner.

Check out the pictures from the show below:

Photography by Rosemary Vega

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>