Back in 2010, I met a band at the now defunct Moon called Stella Rose.
It was a high-energy, over-the-top experience with frontman Stephen Beatty as a poster boy for hedonistic rock ’n’ roll excess. But Stella Rose is no more, and Beatty has matured over the years. He has gone from the guy most likely to be a cautionary tale to a responsible artist who teaches middle school arts.
His (relatively) new band, Un Chien (guitarist/vocalist Beatty, bassist Taylor Craig Mills, keyboardist Kris Knight, guitarist Rachel Gollay and drummer Jerrett Lyday), is carving out a decidedly different niche in the Funkytown music scene.
Stella Rose was percussive and driving, while Un Chien is more about textures and an overall sound that allows each instrument to fill a different sonic space, resulting in a more or less solid wall of rock. The intensity is there, but the band takes a different path to arrive there.
Stella Rose was the interaction of three bigger-than-life personalities; Un Chien is more of a unified effort. You see, Stella Rose without any of its three members could not be Stella Rose. But with Un Chien the music can stand on its own — and as such, it should hold up better in the studio.
The band is working on a collaboration with the Art Institute to produce a music video for the last song it performed, The Dreamer. It’s based on the movie (and book) Communion, a story told from the aliens’ point of view, rather than the person being abducted by aliens. The song was my favorite of the night, although with the sound at the Wild Rooster being what it was, I couldn’t really discern what the song was about. I look forward to hearing this one in a more controlled setting.
I look forward, too, to hearing much more from Un Chien. The band may not be about the personalities, but the musicianship is still first-rate, especially given the relatively short time period the members have played together. Mills has been an A-list performer in Funkytown for a long time. Knight knows his way around a monophonic Moog synthesizer, and the textures that he adds to the experience are tasteful yet mystical. Beatty’s performance is better thought out and more precise than I’ve heard from him in the past.
The talent is here, and it will be well worth watching to see where this winds up.