Stepping onstage in support of theatrical rock legends Kiss—and staring into the painted faces of their fanatical legions—would rightfully daunt any fresh-faced band. It would probably scare the hell out of Think, had the Las Vegans not already done it, in far more intimidating environs than they’ll likely experience this weekend at the Pearl.
“Playing in front of 50,000 people was completely different from playing in front of 50,” vocalist Brandon Knaff says of the August 4 concert that saw Think open for Kiss at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota’s Glencoe Amphitheater.
“We were in our awesome trailer with furniture and drinks and chips and a kitchen with a coffee maker and a fridge, and we woke up and went, ‘Whoa, we’re in South Dakota playing on one of the biggest stages in the country.’ We stood in the crowd, watching [fellow Las Vegans] Searchlight. Then we went backstage, and they started counting down the minutes before we went on—‘Three minutes to go.’ And then instinct kicked in when we hit the stage.”
Together the past two years, Think’s core lineup—Knaff, 19; his younger brother, bassist Adam, 16; and guitarist Phillip Seaton, 19—caught their biggest break to date when Kiss’ management team scoped them out during a June gig at LA’s Whisky a Go Go. Soon after, the band, which is supplemented by keyboardist Sam Riddle and drummer Billy Carmody onstage, found itself signing on to open for Kiss in both South Dakota and Las Vegas.
“It’s an honor,” Knaff says. “They’re such a legendary band, and they’ve helped launch a couple bands in the past.” Adds Seaton: “We’ve had hits on MySpace from people saying they loved us at Sturgis, so we feel we made a good impact there. And hopefully, the couple-thousand people [at the Pearl] will be encouraged to listen to the music of an up-and-coming band out of Las Vegas.”
Think’s June debut album, Odyssey—produced by Las Vegas duo Darren Sher and Cris Judd of Lee Grant Productions—showcases a funky alt-rock sound reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During the band’s recent Amplify!! music conference set, the afro’d Knaff bared his chest and threw himself into his performance physically, not unlike one Anthony Kiedis. Still, the young frontman bristles at suggestions he might be mimicking his heroes.
“My style comes from me, just me,” Knaff says. “I do watch the greats and take a few notes here and there, but every one of us tries to go out there and create something totally new and different. I don’t want to be considered a Jim Morrison or Robert Plant, even though they’re great.”
Mighty big names to toss around. But then, so is Kiss, and Think will share its second bill with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on Friday night. “I do step-by-step goals,” Knaff says. “My last goal was to play the Pearl. [Then] I’d like to do something with a label or a distributor and tour Europe or the United States. I think our music is great for every generation, and I think that’s what’s gonna separate us from some other bands.”
Opening for Kiss. August 29, 8 pm, $150-$300. The Pearl, 942-7777.