Dylan Rose hasn’t played a lot of acoustic shows. The couple he does recall happened when he toured with James Durbin years back and would do the occasional unplugged radio station promotional event.
For most of the past decade, he’s been rocking out hard with his metal band, Archer Nation. In particular, they’ve become road dogs in the past five years, gigging as much as possible, slowly growing their international audience.
“Super loud Marshalls, ridiculously thrashy drums and a huge wall of sound,” lead singer and guitarist Rose explains. “I’ve developed a vocal style that caters to that. I can sing like Megadeth or whatever, but singing Beatles stuff is a lot different than screaming in a thrash band.”
When the pandemic hit, Archer Nation shows were no longer an option. It was a particularly tough moment for Rose since his band had finished their most successful tour to date in late 2019, a European tour with Annihilator. They were ready to hit the road again in 2020 and build on that momentum.
When shows started to come back this year, Rose jumped in eagerly but had to do so as an acoustic duo with Alisha Ripatti, which he called Ripatti and Rose. It’s been a unique, but fun, challenge for him.
“Obviously I could never bring Archer into a wine bar. So, let’s play some of these other places I’ve never been to before,” Rose says. “There was a palpable excitement that people had to actually see live music and see one another, even if you are sitting in tables spaced out.”
The duo has been gigging as much as they can, and now that restrictions are continuing to ease, Rose is bringing a full band to play at Felton Music Hall. But it’s not Archer Nation. It’s his new band, Dylan Rose Band, a five-piece group. Ripatti is a member. They play a lot of genres, and metal isn’t one of them.
“Archer Nation is very much a metal entity. We’re not going to throw in blues-rock or a folk tune into the set anytime soon, but I love playing different music,” Rose says. “The most satisfying part of this whole thing is challenging myself in ways that I haven’t had the time to do in a long time.”
The project didn’t start as a proper band. With nothing to do and no creative outlet, Rose started getting together with a group of friends to have weekly Friday jams. These were people in his bubble, so it made perfect sense. Since there was no end goal to the process, they all jammed out on songs they didn’t normally play.
“I grew up on the Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. I wanted to tap into more of that other stuff I enjoyed playing,” Rose says. “Make use of the time that we had last year not being able to do anything.”
But it did become something. The group made its public debut on April 20, a livestream event at Santa Cruz Boardroom. On May 20, they will play live and in person at Felton Music Hall, their first official non-livestream concert.
The Dylan Rose Band and Ripatti and Rose are closely connected because they share much of the same material.
“It’ll be this symbiotic thing. If Ripatti and Rose play somewhere, some people are already coming up to us in the last couple of months, and they’re saying, ‘I’d love to hear you guys backed by a full band.’ That conversation segues nicely into ‘Well, we do have a full band.’ I’m trying to play both off each other and cover all the bases and see if we can cross-promote.”
Coming out of the pandemic, Rose now has essentially three projects. So it’ll be more of a challenge of juggling his different outlets than anything else since he’s excited about all of them.
“I’ve been on the Archer Nation touring grind. It got really busy in 2015 and hasn’t relented since,” Rose says. “I haven’t had time to sit down and be like, ‘I like that solo in “Comfortably Numb,” let’s play that song real quick.’ So it was a really cool opportunity. We can play music from anybody. It could be a country tune, a blues standard, an Etta James song, or anything. We just let everybody spread their wings and learn and grow as musicians together.”
The Dylan Rose Band performs at 6pm on Thursday, May 20, at Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. Free. 831-704-7113.