The Phoenix Effect

Posted January 14, 2010 in Music


Rancho Cucamonga, Alta Loma, Apple Valley.


Chris Hamilton (lead vocals, guitar); Jon Kowalski (bass, vocals); Matt Tolich (drums).


They say they’re into stuff like Anberlin, Foo Fighters, Thrice, Taking Back Sunday and The Almost . . . and yeah, we can hear that in ’em.


Out of the Ashes (2009).



It’s only fitting that The Phoenix Effect’s latest release is titled Out of the Ashes, as it actually dovetails nicely with the story of the Phoenix itself, a mythical bird that lights on fire and turns to ash, as frontman Chris Hamilton explains.


“Instead of dying, it is actually reborn from the ashes of its old life and made into a whole new bird,” he says. “It’s the symbol that everyone has a second chance. Everyone can be reborn into new life. The choice is ours. So, do we simply continue along our current path? Or do we endure the Phoenix Effect and become more than what this world thinks we can be?”


We’re betting he’s pointed at the ambitious end of the spectrum. In fact, the band was born out of Hamilton’s penchant to ignite his rockin‘ flame nearly six years ago, after rolling in a solo acoustic guise. Cousins Jon Kowalski (bass) and Matt Tolich (drums) helped to further realize Hamilton’s vision.


But the Effect isn’t a complete package at the moment, as the act’s been on an “epic search” for a lead guitarist. Still, they’re prepped with a stand-in for this week’s gig, which they can hopefully add to a list of successful dates throughout their history—one of which includes an IE-based gig with John Nolan (formerly of Taking Back Sunday, now in Straylight Run).


“It was really cool playing with somebody with as much talent and experience as he has,” says Tolich.


“Yeah,” adds an enthused Hamilton, “he even had to use my guitar because he broke a string. It was quite an awesome show.”


It’s actually awesome all around, as Hamilton notes that the Effect’s extremely passionate about their tunes, even if it involves lighting up a dose of stage gymnastics. 


“Our live show is a very high energy thrill ride,” says Hamilton. “From the moment we take the stage, the fun doesn’t stop! I actually do a back tuck (flip) with my guitar in the middle of a song. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Come check us out live if you don’t believe me.”


The Phoenix Effect w/The Material, Free Fire and Evolove at The Wire, 247 N. 2nd Ave., Upland; Fri, 7PM. $10. All ages.


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