Material: Music by The Kepler Mission has slowly transcended a boyhood dream that was once shared by the band’s co-founders, while they were attending high school together in Napa, CA. John Theodore and Kyle Biane started a rock band that was influenced by post-punk music during a time (the year 2009) when the demise of emo threatened to destabilize the entire genre. Since then, The Kepler Mission has expanded their lineup to a five-piece ensemble that threads the vocal cadence of the emotional hardcore genre with alternative rock and nu metal chord progressions.
Musicianship: All five members of the band shared in the responsibility of creating their most recent album, End of An Era. Tracks from the contemplative record are permeated throughout with sentimental lyrics and emotional displays of alternative metal. At this show, the introspective experience of their music evoked both positive and heedful responses from several members of the audience that filled the space at the Whisky A Go Go to its maximum capacity. As lead vocalist, Theodore sings with a vocal euphony that is comparable to Maynard James Keenan from Tool and Geoff Rickly from Thursday. While the instrumental sections provided by his bandmates sound similar to the instrumental interludes that are often utilized by bands such as Mars Volta and Chevelle.
Performance: The gentle emotions of Theodore’s voice slowly seeped through the imagery of a blue stage light that seemed to cover his entire band with ambiguity. The Kepler Mission performed a six-song set list that included an encore, at the behest of their receptive audience. This affectionate show was complemented very nicely by a consistent dialogue from Theodore, in between songs, regarding his deep lyrical content.
Summary: So long as their current lineup remains intact, the emotional accessibility of frontman John Theodore will continue to serve as the partisan’s gateway to Toby Mason, Kyle Baine, Hyke Shirinian and Jamie Waite. That's because he is the band’s primary songwriter, vocalist and marketing strategist. The Kepler Mission’s sound is composed of elements that could potentially make their music a mainstay in alternative rock. But the measure of their success may depend on the depth of Theodore’s connectivity with their growing fanbase.
Venue: Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, CA
The Players: John Theodore, lead vocals, guitar; Toby Mason, vocals, guitar; Kyle Biane, guitar, keys; Hyke Shirinian, drums; Jamie Waite, bass.