Las Vegas-based rock band Adelitas Way may have been opening for Halestorm at McGuffy’s in Dayton on Saturday night, but they played to the sold out crowd like they were the headliners.
Now touring to support their sophomore album, Home School Valedictorian, Adelitas Way seems to have really found their groove. Led by charismatic vocalist Rick DeJesus, the band performed a well-rounded set composed of songs from Home School Valedictorian as well as from their self-titled 2009 debut.
Over the course of extensive touring the past two years, they have built a solid fan base from the ground up. Plenty of people in the crowd were there just to see Adelitas Way. But the band doesn’t take a single fan, potential or otherwise, for granted. A sign held by a woman in the front row read, “I flew all the way from Toronto, Canada to see Halestorm.” DeJesus reached for it, read it aloud and asked why it didn’t say Adelitas Way too. As he handed it back he jokingly said, “I’d fly to see Halestorm too, but you need to edit that shit.” Later in the set, the sign appeared again, now also including Adelitas Way. Small actions like that, combined with a powerful live performance, have consistently drawn fans into their ever-expanding world.
Many bands can perform well live, but few can entertain as well as Adelitas Way. Drummer Tre Stafford and bassist Derek Johnston formed a backbone of rhythm on which the band’s radio-friendly melodies were carefully balanced. They tread a fine line between edgy hard rock and mainstream sensibilities. New lead guitarist Robert Zakarya consistently busted out a stream of bluesy riffs with a devilish smirk on his face, while rhythm guitarist Keith Wallen filled the other side of the stage with solid backing vocals and enthusiasm. Every chord struck seemed to fill him with energy that just exploded on stage. The highlight of the set was their final number, the fist-pumping anthem Invincible. You may have heard it before, if you watched any televised sporting event in the past year and a half.
Following their set, DeJesus headed right to the merchandise table to take photos and sign autographs for everyone who came up. Any time someone purchased a t-shirt, he was right on top of it, asking “Do you want me to sign that?” Before retreating to the bus for the evening, he used his height as an advantage to scan the crowd for any more fans. He didn’t want to leave before signing everyone’s stuff. Not a lot of bands are that dedicated to serving the fans following a show. DeJesus explained it very succinctly, that they know they wouldn’t be there without the fans.
Home School Valedictorian is out now on Virgin Records and their latest single, Collapse, is at #10 on the Active Rock Chart this week. Adelitas Way is out on the road right now. Check the list below for a date near you.
11/29/2011 – The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
12/04/2011 – Wild Wing – Savannah, GA
12/07/2011 – George’s Majestic lounge – Fayetteville, AR
12/08/2011 – Midland Theatre – Kansas City, MO
12/10/2011 – Club Fever – South Bend, IN
12/11/2011 – Mojoes – Orland Park, IL
12/13/2011 – Riverside Warehouse – Shreveport, LA
12/14/2011 – Club Fire – Jackson, MS
12/17/2011 – Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
Check out other photos of Adelitas Way:
Side Stage at the 2011 Q101 Jamboree
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