Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Abraham / Neato


Alex Vagelatos

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 21, 2000

Heads Up! This article is 22 years old.

This debut album by one of the most popular hard rock groups in the area has something in its 46-plus minutes for everyone. A heavy-metal homage to Metallica? No problem, courtesy of singer Dave Schmoekel’s sounding more than a little like James Hetrick.

Clever, power-pop tunes, with Gabe Berry’s chord-machine guitar? Got ’em right here. Impressive changes in dynamics, soft and loud used to highlight dramatic differences among songs, and even within songs? Take a listen. Bits and pieces that remind

the listener of early Cars? Well, there was a difference of opinion on that one in the house Sunday afternoon, but the reviewer gets the last word, doesn’t he?

On

Neato, Schmoekel and Berry are joined by Jason Berry on drums and Beav on bass. One of the best local CD covers in a while features the band members in grade-school pictures, as well as all grown-up. Like the record albums of old, it gives the listener

something visual to do while listening to the music. I think I have the pictures matched up; luckily there’s no test. Gabe Berry, even at that tender age, had the look of an aspiring rock n’ roll guitarist, all attitude and spiked hair. His poor teachers.

The premier track probably is “Cheating,” featured on the new

Extreme Essential Vol. 4 compilation CD. It features all the band’s strengths, most of them already mentioned. Repeated listening makes me think this cut is ready for national exposure. Built on catchy hooks and Berry’s chunky guitar, it strikes just the right balance between

loud and clear. The singer insists, “he wasn’t cheating,” but makes it clear that, “if I’m leaving with a broken heart/ you’re leaving with a bleeding nose.” Repeated singing of the words “no, no, no” and “yes, yes, yes” may leave the listener unsure

of who’s cheating, but not of the potential of the song-writing and playing potential of this group.

“Re-bop” features a nice interplay between Schmoekel’s “re-bop a bop (or something like that)” and, again, Berry’s guitar work. Okay, I really like these guys working together. Jason Berry provides a staccato drum beat and ol’ Beav is steady and tasteful

as usual on bass.

The CD release party for Neato is scheduled for December 21 at Piere’s. If you’ve already missed that, check the band out December 23 at Legends (with Rosemary Gates) and December 30 at Broadripple Place. Judging from

Neato, Abraham is a band you don’t want to miss live too many times.

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