By Selina Iglesias
Noiseheads, an alternative/rock band from Pensacola, simply describes themselves as a band that “likes to make noise.” They did exactly that at the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Studio on the evening of April 9 for Season 7 of StudioAmped, a televised concert series featuring regional bands and their original music. Each StudioAmped performance is recorded by a camera crew and will premiere at a later date in WSRE’s primetime television programming lineup as well as online.
Surrounded by StudioAmped logos and bright colorful lights, Noiseheads began their concert at 7 p.m. and performed an hour-long “unplugged” version of their debut album, “1994,” which appeared on AlternativeNation.net’s Top 10 Albums list in 2013.
Named after the year Kurt Cobain died, “1994” normally has a grunge-type tone, but for StudioAmped, the band wanted to do something out of the ordinary.
Equipped with an acoustic guitar, violin, keyboard, bass guitar, drumset and percussions, Noiseheads rocked the Amos Studio with a Nirvana-like vibe that left the hair on my arms standing and inspired the crowd to bob their heads along to the music.
Some songs were played with all the band members, while others were played with specific instruments, providing a unique look at the band’s production.
“Most of the songs off the album we played tonight, and then we actually played a couple of new ones and a couple that are not on any album we’ve ever done before,” said lead singer Nick Gray. “We just wanted to make tonight special. We didn’t want it to be us going up there and playing our normal thing.”
The band consists of Nick Gray on vocals/guitar, Greg Nicholas on drums/vocals and Joe Gray on bass/vocals. For their unplugged performance, Noiseheads featured some special guests: Paula Beswick on violin, Christina Cusack on keys and Chris Cantin on percussion.
“We were really excited that [Noiseheads] chose StudioAmped to experiment with the idea of unplugging and performing ‘1994,’” said StudioAmped executive producer Billy Harrell.
After the show, the band was friendly, extending hands and exchanging smiles with members of the audience.
Gray felt satisfied with the performance and would consider doing an unplugged album.
“I think that there’s something for everybody that we can try to do [with an unplugged performance],” Gray said. “As far as doing [acoustics] again, we’d love to.”
Gray’s favorite song to perform was “Cherry Red.”
“That song is the heaviest song on our album,” Gray said. “We thought it would be really cool to strip it down and just have an acoustic guitar and violin and play it with the same amount of energy, but it kind of turns into this beautiful piece of music rather than it being a hard rock punk song.”
Noiseheads took pride in their experimental performance and worked hard to provide old fans and new fans an exclusive experience. It took over 60 sheets of sheet music to produce “1994” unplugged.
Noiseheads’ performance did what music is supposed to do: make listeners forget the world around them and experience a number of emotions all at once. Sitting in the red cinema-like chairs of the Amos Studio, I was completely blown away by the effect the music had on me.
Kristen Broussard, who attended the event on a whim, had the same reaction.
“I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did,” Broussard said.
The constant cheers, whistles and loud applause of the crowd after every song were sure signs that Noiseheads was a success. Those who attended got a rare opportunity to hear “1994” outside of its normal sound.
“That live performance…I don’t think we’re ever gonna do that again,” Gray said. “You’re never gonna find those six people together again, so it was something that was special.”
For more information about the other singer/songwriters going to be featured on Season 7 of StudioAmped, go to wsre.org/studioamped.