Three cellists take the stage. The crowd hushes. The band plays. Their fingers do not move—they flow. Not a babe cries; only the sound presides. The band is Break of Reality, a cello-rock group founded at the Eastman School of Music in 2003. The band comprised of three cellists and a percussionist: Adrian Daurov, Laura Metcalf, Patrick Laird, and Ivan Trevino. Laird and Trevino remain as the only two original members of the band. Last Friday, the band returned to their alma mater to perform a 10-year anniversary concert at Kodak Hall that none in the audience would forget.
The concert began with the band sticking to its classical roots, but contemporary rock flair dominated the atmosphere as the show progressed. Sudden changes in tempo took the audience on a fun, unpredictable journey. At one moment, the band could absorb the audience into an awe inspiring, classical sound. At another, the mold would be broken with the unconventional rock style of cellos interplaying with the driving percussion.
The third song triggered gasps of recognition from most of the audience as the band played their cover of the Game of Thrones theme song. The Break of Reality version retains the normal, anachronistic blend of the contemporary and the medieval, but leans more towards the latter in the way that it draws out nostalgia. The presence of the cello as the primary instrument provides a new twist on the theme that is both more fun and emotionally provoking.
After intermission, the band ramped up its rock style with Trevino taking to the drums. Metal became a dominant flavor in the primarily progressive rock style of Break of Reality music. The band now captivated the audience in a different way, this time with an even more powerful and upbeat energy. Each subsequent song was met with thunderous applause, but the band saved the best for last.
The last song, from their upcoming album Ten, started slowly. Each cello began separately, collectively adding a coherent complexity to the song. Each layer seemed a song in itself, yet each complemented the others in a beautiful and unified manner. The song gathered power as the cellos united. It approached its climax with a fire that riveted the gaze of each audience member to the stage. At the peak, Laird took his cello to the front of the stage, dropped to one knee, and let loose. The cello rocker’s solo brought the audience to a standing ovation, begging the band for an encore that they willingly granted. The beautiful atmosphere of Kodak Hall and the band’s stellar performance combined to make a memorable and electric concert. Break of Reality easily reminded the audience what Eastman graduates are capable of.
Break of Reality’s music is available on iTunes and Amazon. Their next album, Ten, will be released on March 10th.
Ely is a member of
the class of 2017.