05.13 NEW: Hero on Hold debuts EP

By Shane O’Dwyer

If you haven’t heard Hero on Hold’s new EP, you’re definitely going to want to check it out, as well as Cannery Music Hall in Southbridge. I discovered both last weekend.

I walked into Cannery Hall for Hero’s CD release party and found black walls, seven round tables and plenty of open floor for people of all kinds to fill. Even better, I was about to embark into a journey of great music to fill my ears.

I sat at the back of the venue as Hero on hold prepared to celebrate its long-awaited (three years!) EP, with many of its fans. This band holds members such as Matt Hearnlaye on guitar, Tom Racine on vocals, Chris Mullins on bass and keyboard, and Dan Racine as the percussionist. I had known little to nothing about this band or what I was about to view on Cannery’s stage. But before Hero On Hold stepped onto the stage, a A Simple Complex took the stage. I was impressed with the quality of this band. The female vocalist was a great performer with a great set of musicians behind her setting the mood. The guitarists made their way to the crowd as they played. I found this interesting because the band gave the crowd music right at their fingertips, allowing for the live music to be more personal. I feel as if we may see this band shine in years to come.

Hero on Hold came out playing hard, and lead vocalist, Tom Racine, shouted into the microphone beginning the ride into the night. The band went on to perform great songs, keeping the crowd interested and happy throughout the show.

The group took a risk and covered Elvis Presley’s famous “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Being a longtime Presley fan, I knew I would either hate the performance or love it. All in all, I simply loved it. Hero didn’t perform a boring cover; it took the song and gave it a Hero On Hold style, which I really respected. On songs like “Hold Me Down” and “I Walk Away,” the crowd ate up the band’s performance.

Mid-show, drummer Dan Racine played an amazing drum solo. The solo gave off a Black Sabbath-Native American feel that really caught my ear. Hero On Hold finished up the show with the song off their new EP, “Welcome to Hell”. The song attracted to me because it sounded great, and the crowd completely loved it. A Simple Complex joined the band on stage and danced as Hero performed.

When the show ended, I could only clap and smile, for I knew I had just witnessed a great band.

Hero on Hold has been playing for 3½ years, and the self-titled EP took three years to finish as the band strived for perfection. Tom Racine and Matt Hearnlaye created the band, and added the additional members on to complete Hero On Hold. The band cites Nirvana, Green Day, The Offspring, Shinedown, Korn and Amber Pacific as influences. Listening to them perform, I could hear those influences in Hero’s music, but as the night went on I realized, sure Hero may sound like these bands, but it is not like them. The diversity that Hero On Hold plays is awesome, and that at the end of the night, it doesn’t sound anyone else. There simply a Hero On Hold sound.

For more information, visit facebook.com/heroonhold.