Jason Riedmiller

PHOTOS: Smile Empty Soul, September Mourning, and Rise Among Rivals at Stage West in Scranton, 03/06/19

PHOTOS: Smile Empty Soul, September Mourning, and Rise Among Rivals at Stage West in Scranton, 03/06/19
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

The Oblivion of Souls Tour haunted Stage West in Scranton on Wednesday, March 6, presenting an intriguing mix of rock music sounding both familiar and new.

Following an opening set by Scranton rap metal group Alpha Audio, Rise Among Rivals from Maryland hit the stage with melodic hard rock songs that could easily make them the next big thing. Catchy and full of energy, these up-and-comers will surely be performing in arenas soon enough.

September Mourning, a concept band with a dark culture aesthetic, was next, though they started their day at Comics on the Green in downtown Scranton, meeting fans and playing an acoustic set in the shop to promote their “September Mourning” comic books. These comics published by Top Cow/Image provide the superhero backstory for singer and co-creator Emily Lazar and her evil “Reaper” bandmates:

The character of September Mourning is a human-reaper hybrid who feels the need to give some human souls a second chance, and thus toys with Fate. Empowered by supernatural gifts with no memory of her past, she is driven to protect humanity from Fate and his Reapers. To expound on this narrative, Lazar is working with iconic comic book artist Marc Silvestri, who formed Top Cow Productions and is known for his work on “Uncanny X-Men,” “Wolverine,” “Cyberforce,” “The Darkness,” and “Witchblade.” Together, they are creating the story of September Mourning in graphic form to accompany and enhance the musical message.

While this does add to their music, those who were unaware of the lore at Stage West still seemed to enjoy their theatrical presentation:

The headliner was Los Angeles post-grunge band Smile Empty Soul, whose hit singles from their self-titled, gold-selling debut are often played on the radio to this day. Fervent fans who never got to see them back in 2003 were thrilled to shout along to the youthful anger of “Nowhere Kids,” “Silhouettes,” and “Bottom of a Bottle” all these years later. Vocalist/guitarist Sean Danielsen still sounds great with his grungy voice, and his two newer bandmates clearly have love for this music that now spans seven studio albums and several EPs, including their latest, “Oblivion.”