Chris Conley, local bands light up Lost Horizon with acoustic show

Chris Conley plays old favorites and new songs at the Lost Horizon, with help from a few local acts.

Saves the Day frontman Chris Conley's singing is a laborious process. When he reaches up for the high notes, his face scrunches up, resembling an overbearing grandmother looking for a child's cheeks to pinch.

For all that work, however, his uniquely high-pitched, emo-drenched voice crooned the audience at the Lost Horizon on Saturday during an acoustic show at the typically heavy rock venue.

Kayleigh Goldsworthy of Syracuse rock group The Scarlet Ending and Jamie Boucher of local pop-rockers Give Us Jersey also performed, showcasing two of central New York's promising up-and-coming bands.

Conley reveled in the intimate setting. He didn't have a predetermined setlist, and instead played only audience requests. Occasionally, he would dismiss a suggestion because it required a bass guitar or percussion, but hinted with a coy wink that he'd play it when the full band came back in a few months.

He also dragged an audience member up to sing "Let It All Go," a track off Saves the Day's newest release, Daybreak. The audience member also sang the guitar solo with a slew of fabricated onomatopoeias.

And Conley took all requests. He would occasionally pause to note how old some of material was-- some dating back to the mid-1990s-- before performing the song with just as much energy as a decade prior.

Though it's been 13 years since Saves the Day released its debut album, Conley looked as vibrant as ever. And though he admittedly forgets some of the lyrics to his older material, he carried a youthful energy and the same striking golden-brown swoop haircut that breathed life into the Lost Horizon crowd.

Before he performed, Kayleigh Goldsworthy of The Scarlet Ending debuted her solo material, fresh from a road trip up from her new permanent residence in Brooklyn with nothing with nothing but an Upstate diet of coffee, beer and a hot dog before playing.

Upon seeing Scarlet Ending bass player Aaron Garritillo, Goldsworthy smiled and joked, "You can come up here and play air bass if you want."

But it was a night to showcase her solo talent. Her material, separate from Scarlet Ending, consisted of folksy four-chord songs rich in storytelling and driving rhythm.

Her family and band members were also in attendance, seated just offstage, but still well within earshot. In a brief moment of sibling rivalry, Goldsworthy jokingly shot back at her sister after a few comments, yelling out, "This is my show, not your show!"

And her show was a hit with the crowd. Her vocals were near flawless, and her songs were soulful.

Jamie Boucher of Give Us Jersey was fighting a more uphill battle, however.

When he surveyed the Syracuse crowd to see who had heard of his band, a local pop-rock group, there were few who had. And the performance converted few.

Boucher showcased good vocal range, but did little to distinguish himself amid generic major chords and big choruses that failed to stick.

But, the performance encapsulated the venerable Conley, the impressive Goldsworthy and the raw Boucher, and showcased the frontman of one of the foremost alternative rock acts still touring.

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