Show review: Null Paradox, a Year Later. Stunning.

Stunned. That’s how I feel after the show by Null Paradox. Judging by the response of the audience, we weren’t the only ones. It’s as if their show were some type of extreme example of a 3D movie. 4D anyone? We tried to find the ticket booth for the next showing but to no avail. Talk about leaving “them” wanting more, we wanted to see and hear the whole thing again. Several times.

It was almost a year ago when we first happened across Null Paradox and it’s just incredible what a year has done for them. Last year I wrote “Passion wins. Null Paradox is a band. And a book. And a tale. Several tales as it turns out.” I had no idea that their show was so much more. Words don’t seem adequate to describe it, but I’ll give it a try.

Nine artists now make up the show. Added to the experience is a second singer, second guitarist and two narrators; one for the Orange side of the stage/audience and one for the Purple side. The telling of the tale between the narrators, band and by the audience is amazing. It’s a complicated tale that’s spun from what seems to be a simple premise–will you choose the love of your life or your destiny. Sometimes it’s maddeningly complicated but the inspired vocals, musical performance and narration keep this whole rollercoaster ride on its track and making sense.

The maddening part is that on the one-hand, you want to understand every word that is spoken and every lyric that is sung. We were sitting on the edges of our seats trying to comprehend, to really understand not just what they were saying but what the layers of the story were communicating to us. On the other hand, the vocals and band are tight–just sitting back listening to the music in that trance achieved by a first class band and sound system is another option. And they make you choose your experience depending on the side of the audience that you select. And interact with them. And, and…and!

The production is completely together now–band, narrators, production, sound, lights. It’s excellent arena quality sound and lighting in an intimate setting. The production and equipment is now able to reveal what we suspected at their show last year–Null Paradox sounds even better live than on their fine CD. I just can’t say enough about Crystal Sherry’s vocals now that they’re clear in the live mix. Rachel Matz compliments her perfectly on backing vocals. Dave Ziozio’s palette is huge on drums–musically, technically and sonically. The rhythm section is tight and sounds like Ziozios, Tom Libertiny (bass) and Dave Buzzeo (rhythm guitar) have been playing together forever. Some of the arrangements, including the creepy “My Sweet Hell” sound like they have been reworked and Eric Prater’s (keyboards) duets with Sherry are now much more intimate. The thundering monster that is Chris Mick’s lead guitar bellows when he’s making a point and is remarkably subdued in songs like “Small.” To top it off, or is it tie it together, or is it lead the whole thing?–Andrew Lark’s (Orange/Love) and Steve O’Brien’s (Purple/Destiny) narration adds considerable depth to the performance as they give you a taste to key parts of the story combined with their dark but hilarious interaction with the audience.

Ord Festival” continues to be my favorite song performed live. As good as it sounds on CD, the energy is much higher live. And “Freedom” has really come into its own with the huge beginning that’s effectively diminished to a quiet acoustic guitar, bass and drums backing Sherry’s beautiful voice. Then the whole song takes off again with Matz adding a lot of color and power to the chorus.

The Null Paradox CD was played non-stop on the drive back and we’ve poured over the lyrics trying to gain more insight into the story. Everyone is looking toward the upcoming book for answers. I’ll be first in line to buy it and learn how the book, music and live show tie together.

And, and, and…I’m still stunned! You really need to see the show to appreciate how huge it is and the depth of the story.

Mike Vet, Music Vet

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