Seven Day Faith at Hard Rock Cafe (2009)

SDF

In the winter of 2004, one could say that Niagara Falls-based power-pop quartet Seven Day Faith had reached the pinnacle of local prominence.

They had two full-length albums, a string of delectably saccharin hits on Buffalo’s Kiss 98.5, and a spot opening for Avril Lavigne in front of 20,000 people at the station’s annual Kissmas Bash. They were an act on the rise, an engaging group of twenty-something dreamers who combined the melodic sentimentality of Bon Jovi with the hard-partying haste of Motley Crüe to create what sounded like the Boy Band of the Sunset Strip.

So why, then, nearly five years later does the name not permeate the eyes and ears of every fervent 14-year-old girl from here to Seattle?

While some might attribute their dissolution to mismanagement, dwindling interest, or just plain bad fortune, their performance at the Hard Rock Café last Friday night leads me to believe that they were no longer jelling together on a creative level.

At numerous points in the set, it seemed as if they were all traveling in their own musical direction, only to reconvene at a time when the song was in need of a bombastic finish.

Songs such as “Wake Up” and “I Can’t Stand It” that usually sound crisp and clean instead came off as muffled and uneven, so moderate fans may have been left with a somewhat distant feeling of what the band is really like.

Then again, lead vocalist Rob Bilson, guitarists John Rosini and Rob Burgio (both now of Ransomville), and drummer Rob Ferenc have played together sparingly over the last few years, so was anyone really expecting a well-oiled musical machine?

Don’t get me wrong, they definitely brought it on certain songs (“Forever and a Day” and “Nobody Else” come to mind), but the intangible aura of cohesion that all great bands possess didn’t appear to be there. Rosini and Burgio rip seamlessly through the fretboards yet feel like they’re in two different bands and Bilson no longer sounds emotionally invested in the material, so maybe their time together has indeed come and passed. I can say that Ferenc’s extended drum solo provided the evening with a much-needed kick, because rarely is the rhythm section given total control over the proceedings.

Was it their best work? No, but they sure as hell played with more pep than Theory of a Deadman did at Crue Fest, which, in my book, has to count for something. I prefer to think of the first time I saw them at Club Infinity back in 2004 and how revved up they were on stage, because there’s something inherently likable about such a radiant homage to 1980s arena rock that makes you wonder where it all went wrong.

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