Headlining a benefit for the family of venue friend and local business owner, Silvio Dibello, local singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Neptune and his backing band served up a memorable mix of pop, electronica, rock, and even some musical theatre undertones. Regardless of the small space, the band expanded the room into an arena. From the carefully-placed banter native to seasoned vets with meticulous sets (choreographed audience clapping, singalong participation, and, yes, even a few “Hello, Secausus!” greetings) to the seemingly improvised vocals, Neptune worked it.
The concert served as a promotional appearance for Neptune’s new EP, Shūt 4 the Mūn, which audience members could purchase ahead of its digital release date (slated for October 2013). In addition to handling lead vocals, Neptune wielded a guitar; he also counts drums, piano and trumpet in his musical repertoire. It’s worth noting that on recordings, it’s Neptune covering all parts, which is quite a feat considering how much production seemingly goes into creating such complex, lush arrangements.
Though the club was packed for other acts on the bill, it was clear that most of the eager crowd was there solely for Neptune. Beginning with the new EP’s title track, the band segued into “old classics” like “Freedom” and worked in a few ballads, dedicated to Dibello. Neptune removed his sunglasses for sincerity, briefly reminded the reveling room why any of them were there at all, and quickly bounced back to his synth-soaked tunes. “Seeds of Separation,” in particular, was clearly an ignition for the audience and band alike, with its pop-laced vibe, despite the title’s depressing implication.
Chris Neptune is ostensibly like hundreds of other young performers on the scene attempting to carve a piece of the pie. What sets him apart, however, is the seriousness with which he delivers. First-time concert-goers could identify the craftsmanship in not only the music, but the production. Early in the show, Neptune addressed his fans, asking, “Can you feel it?” There was nothing rhetorical about the question; everyone definitely could.