Stage Presence: Rebreather (Ohio Heavy)

We couldn’t do a series about Stage Presence without featuring these guys. Today we explore the art of stage presence with Rebreather!

Rebreather has been making loud, visceral, heavy music since 1999. Their home is Youngstown but they’re claimed by the whole of Ohio. Rebreather’s discography is long and varied, and you should familiarize yourself with all of it.  Rebreather EP, their latest album, was self-released in September 2018. It’s their first release since reforming in 2017 after a long hiatus. Rebreather is Barley Rantilla (guitars, vocals), Steve Gardner (drums), and Steve Wishnewski (bass). Learn more about Rebreather, see more videos, hear more music, and keep up-to-date with their news and shows on their website.

For Youngstown natives who love heavy music, Rebreather is part of our musical heritage. Trevor and I were coming of age musically at the same time that Rebreather was first taking the stage and blowing people away (literally and figuratively). It’s something to be able to say “I was there in the beginning.”

It’s great that, regardless of the line-up changes or time away from making music, Rebreather has kept its sense of poignancy and urgency. Time didn’t cause them to languish; instead, they reformed and renewed.

A Rebreather performance is powerful.

Have you been to a Rebreather show? Probably. But if not, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Rebreather at Westside Bowl
Rebreather at Westside Bowl. Photo by Trevor Richards.

This is what you see: tall stacks of amps lining the back of the stage, a white backdrop behind the drums for visual projections, the musicians close together in a line – the drums pushed up to almost the edge of the stage, flashing lights from the projections and strobe lights, and three musicians who are entrenched in the sound.

This is what you feel: sine waves, vibrations, and – if you’re standing directly in front of the kick drum – heart palpitations (ouch).

This is what you hear: heavily distorted guitars, extremely distorted vocals, hard and trippy drum beats, grooving bass lines, and – after the show – ringing in your ears (especially if you didn’t wear earplugs).

We’ve seen Rebreather many times at many different venues. To me, their best performances have been on small stages. The closeness required by a small stage seems to make everything else feel larger than life – the amps, projections, movements, and sound. They have a powerful live performance, and that “larger than life” experience seems to best capture the art of stage presence for Rebreather.

Thanks so much to Barley, Steve, and Steve for taking the time to talk with us about the art of stage presence. We really enjoyed hearing about their experiences and what they want the audience to feel. They put on a powerful performance – loud, visceral, heavy – every time. If you’re in the crowd, you’ll know.

Live and interview footage for this video was filmed and edited by Trevor Richards and comes from a 4/12/2019 show at Gooski’s in the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Get more info about our Stage Presence series here, because more Stage Presence videos are coming! Subscribe to this blog and the Of Music and Mind YouTube Channel so you don’t miss any! Be well!