Area band brings originality to stage of Ambler Cabaret

Appeared in "The Montgomeryville Spirit", written by Laura Brunell
May 1991

"It's not just music. It's a sound experience."

If you're looking for an alternative to the top 40 and heavy metal bands that seem to dominate the Philadelphia music scene, check out Echolyn, the West Point-based band that promises to deliver original music to make you think.

Echolyn will be appearing at the Ambler Cabaret May 17 with Baltimore's Y-Not, where it recently finished fours in the cabaret's highly competitive "battle of the bands" competition.

Echolyn formed in late 1989. According to the band, the name Echolyn has no hidden or intended meaning, but rather establishes the band as something unique. Guitarist, vocalist and lyricst Brett Kull said, "If you heard the name, there's only one thing you can think of and that's us. It's not important to us. It's really just a potpurri of ideas."

The group has decided to take thge long road to musicial success opting to stay away from image-making and getting pigeon-holed into a particular style. In fact, the band is hesitant even to name musicians who have inlfuenced it. Kull said one of his main influences if the philosophy of writer Ayn Rand. Keyboardist Chris Buzby also said the literary concept of "carpe diem" or "seize the day" resonates strongly through the band members.

As drummer Paul Ramsey described, "It's exciting. It's driving. It's very powerfull. It uses your brain a little bit."

Echolyn strives to provide its audience with a complete performance experience, using video and lighting to enhance its music.

To drive home their message, vocalist and lyricst Ray Weston ofen dons costumes and acts out lyrics. Said Buzby, "Our shows are a lot of fun because Ray interacts with the audience a lot."

Weston described his performance of a song called Shades. He begins the song wearing an ugly plaid suit that belonged to his father. As the music becomes harder and stronger, Weston strips off the suit to reveal the "punk" underneath clad in black, bleach-streaked jeans and a spotted, black muscle shirt.M

Another tune called The Great Men consists the images of the great men of history with images of modern-day like junkies. It is highlighted by Weston, dressed in his junkie best and a leather jacket, moving through the crowd.

While Weston said his purpose is not to seal the show from the rest of the band, Buzby emphasized that his "performance art" is an imporant component to the show. Said Buzby, "We like our lyrics to be in the forefront. Ray acting them out just helps (the audience) get it."

"I just like to help them realize more by what I'm doing," said Weston.

Echolyn hopes to release it's first, 60-minute compact disc this fall. Ramsey promises it will offer variety and will be progressive-sounding. Buzby, who hopes to incorporate orchestrated tracks on the disc, said the disc will "definietly kick someone in the butt."

Echolyn will appear at the North Wales Day Celebration May 18 in the afternoon. Later that night, it will perform at Dewar's in Willow Grove. Other May dates include Doc Watson's in Center City May 22, John & Peter's in New Hope May 23 and The Hearth in Pipersville May 31.

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