Around 10:30 PM, on Tuesday September 28, I was wandering around the San Lorenzo neighborhood, in Rome, trying to find the FELT Club. Eddie was supposed to go to see one of the nights of the music contest We A.R.E The Festival there that night, but had a last minute emergency and wasn’t able to go, so I went for him. I finally found the venue—I had gotten off the bus too early—and made my way to a room at the back of the club, where they were having the concert.

The first thing that struck me was the room the concert was in. In the center, there were a good number of small tables orderly arranged in rows, each with two chairs and a candle in the center of the table. On each side, there were booths, also with a candle on each table. Even though this might seem too fancy for a rock concert, it actually proved to be a great fit for the night.

Fabrizio Celea and his band—whose name I sadly did not catch—opened the night with amazing sound and tremendous amounts of energy. Celea, in my opinion a shorter, Italian version of Bruce Springsteen, had good songs and interacted with the audience really well, but I think he suffered from a microphone that was a little too loud and a rather sparse audience. He was the lead singer, and played the guitar along with two other guitarists, creating a great, powerful and explosive sound. They had an impressive ability to play together, keeping everything clean and avoiding messiness. A talented bassist and a drummer who delivered great rhythms but who could have used more originality backed the Celea up, and each member had good stage presence.

Their music was a mix of Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith, and was punctuated with fiery licks from the lead guitarist Marco. Their set ended with a phenomenal power ballad, and they ceded the stage to the next band, Colmena.

What I was about to hear, I was completely unprepared for. After the 3-guitar rock explosion I had just enjoyed, when I saw only two guitarists, a bassist, a singer and a drummer come up, I wasn’t the most enthralled person. Nor was excessively excited when I heard the singer’s broken voice as he checked the microphone volume levels. However, 10 seconds into the first song, my breath was taken away. The lead singer, Daniele Masci, launched into a song and completely took me aback with the beauty, emotion and strength of his voice. He balanced grand displays of passion and more muted emotions with just the perfect tact, every now and then leaping into an impressive falsetto. The lead guitarist played with intelligence and didn’t overdo anything, delivering just the right amount of terrific solos. Although some songs I didn’t particularly enjoy, it was only because of the melody, and each song was performed with the highest quality. For each song that didn’t rock my world, there were five others that completely enchanted me.

Colmena’s allotted 45 minutes flew by in an instant, and the only disappointment I had was not seeing any of their CDs for sale. Maybe next time!

Colmena @ FELT Club