Material: It’s an odd name, Neverwonder, and yet it’s oddly appropriate because you never have to wonder what this Los Angeles based band is about. The brainchild of the two brothers who make up the rhythm section, guitarist Wise and Swiss vocalist Grisel are fairly recent additions but it feels like they’ve been in the group for years. From the moment the band strikes the opening notes and beats to the opening song, it’s clear that this is a talented and tight hard rock/metal unit. Songs such as “Spell” (which Grisel tells us is the first song this foursome wrote together) and the glam fun of “Movin’ On” have a driving rock vibe that, combined with Grisel’s powerful vocals, offer a sound that sits somewhere in the middle of Heart, Fleetwood Mac and Doro.
Musicianship: No complaints here. The fact that the rhythm section is composed of siblings translates to a solid spine for the other two to work off of. Wise has proven to be a thrilling addition––his buzzsaw intro to the aforementioned “Movin’ On” recalls the decadent and delicious Sunset Strip of the ‘80s while, elsewhere, he proves to be more then adequate at the art of the riff. And then there’s Grisel, who has a classically trained voice, with a Stevie Nicks/Pat Benatar thing going on. Not only that, but on the power ballad “Fortress,” she proves to be an excellent acoustic guitarist, adding a whole other dimension to the sound.
Performance: While Andres Ramos puts every bit of his energy into his drumming, and his brother and Wise pull out some impressive rock guitar poses and facial expressions, the performance aspect of this show is really all about Grisel, who starts the night in a Stevie Nicks-esque dress (to hammer home the influence). Whether she’s pacing the stage and staring down everyone in attendance while belting out the tunes, or strumming the acoustic guitar, she’s a charismatic and gifted frontwoman.
Summary: Dipiazza’s in Long Beach is a fun place to watch a show. The pizza restaurant-turned rock bar is always lively, the crowd baying for quality rock & roll. If Neverwonder are to progress to headlining venues bigger than this, they’ll likely need some songs that are more memorable. But for now, they’re building a fanbase, they’re having a blast, and they’re getting better all the time.