During the almost fifty year history of
Rock n Roll there have been a few shining stars in a crowded
musical galaxy who stood out from the crowd and made a significant contribution
to music as an art form. Reflecting back, these artists stood above the
pack because of their natural talent and ability to create music that not
only has withstood the test of time but crossed the set boundaries of what
defined rock as a genre. We may look back in a few years and see
Jon Crosby as one of these artists. He follows in the tradition of
rock scholars like Lennon, Presley, Dylan, Sting, Reznor, and Rose with
his multi-instrumentation and exceptional voice - set to music created
by a truly gifted composer. Crosby calls his musical creation "Vast" and
what an appropriate name that is. For the music crosses many genre lines
from hard rock to classic alternative, to industrial. Yet all of these
styles blend perfectly to create the "Vast" sound.
Music for People
The second CD from Vast "Music for the
People" places Crosby far ahead of his peers. This year we have witnessed
of rock music going corporate with the music charts seething with mediocrity.
Along comes "Music for People" to remind us that yes this may be a business
but it still should be about MUSIC not marketing.
There are a few people who seemed born
with the ability to weave notes together in a mysteriously genius way.
Such people are often referred to as natural songwriters. You could be
the most gifted musician in history but if you do not have great songs,
your talent goes to waist. On "Music for People" Jon Crosby shows his songwriting
talents by creating 12 remarkably good songs.
The most refreshing aspect of Vast is that
the songs explore different musical avenues. With a song like "I Don't
Have Anything" Vast enters into U2 territory without the monotony that plagues
that band's music. On the other hand, the current hit "Free" lands Vast
in the alternative/industrial realm of Nine Inch Nails. Then with the intro
to "What Else Do I Need" Vast pulls together a convincing combination of
Morrissey and Enya. The list goes on. It is the dynamic sonic feel of all
12 of these songs coupled with strong melodies that firmly place Crosby
in a class all his own.
When it came time to select our top album
picks of 2000, "Music for People" came out at the top of our list. The
CD was honored in our third annual year in review special by being named
best Alternative Album by a major label artist.
can only get better!
The only thing that surpasses Vast on CD
is the experience of seeing Vast live. We caught up with Vast recently
when they brought their musical styling to southern California during their
tour supporting "Music for People". To properly
gauge what it is like to see Vast live, you should take the energy level
from both CD's and multiply it by 10.
Live, Vast transcends well beyond being
Jon Crosby's brainchild. The band comes together to become a musical powerhouse.
The highly technical playing, coupled with an intense delivery make seeing
Vast in concert an unforgettable experience.
From the moment Jon stepped on stage he
owned the audience. With every note he brought
the musical rapture to a new level. With a high energy level performance
matched evenly with letter perfect vocals, Jon Crosby offered the
cheering fans a compelling reason to love this band and their music.
While Jon Crosby takes a good deal of the
spot light , this album really was a group project. Without the combined
team of Justin Cotter on guitar, Thomas Froggatt on bass and Steve Clark
on drums "Music for People" may not have reached such a lofty height. On
stage these four come together with military precision,
never missing a beat and mesmerizing the audience with heavier versions
of their songs.
The technical aspects of the music is well
served by Justin Cotter's guitar playing. Throughout the performance his
leads showcased his vast talents while he tackled various musical feats,
taking the music to a higher plane of existence without hogging the spotlight
all to himself.
Even the most experienced players would
approach performing the Vast rhythm parts with apprehension. That didn't
seem to phase the dynamic team of bassist Thomas Froggatt and drummer Steve
Clark as they provided the underpinning to the music with a skill level
rarely seen in popular music today.
Live, Vast appears to be a totally different
band than the one we hear on the latest CD. The music
comes across much heavier and even the most casual of observers can see
just how much superior musicianship goes into the songs. If this
review comes across as a little over the top, that's only because the live
Vast experience was so impressive.
This generation has been desperately searching
for a musical voice. God help us all if they look to Fred Durst or Eminem
to provide it. Jon Crosby and his band mates with their Vast musical talents
provide a ray of light for music fans and one can hope that the quest for
a voice may soon be over with the delivery of "Music for People"
Jon Crosby - Guitar, Vocals
Thomas Froggatt - Bass
Steve Clark - Drums
Justin Cotter - Guitar
"Music for People" online
sure to check out the brand new official site in Flash @ realvast.com!
Elektra's Vast page with tons of real audio, videos, news, bio, plus lots
Parts of this article originally
appeared on antiMUSIC in the Oct 2000 artist of the month special.