LISBON
Like Lennon, they rock.

Drummer Kevin Partridge’s hands burn in a blur while his eyes dance with a mad glint.

Rhythm and lead guitarist Brandon Casper’s fingers fly like Hendrix’s.

Bass guitarist Luc Michaud holds his guitar like a dance partner.

And lead singer Chase Hebert belts out bursting lyrics. Decibels drill into eardrums and all these pistons firing together fuse into an incandescent explosion of sound.

These rockers are Alteria, a local high school band that has made it to the finals of the 19th Annual Rock-Off competition.

Last year they came in dead-dog-last, but this year they triumphantly battled in a grueling survival of the fittest.

“Shock,” Michaud said of his reaction to getting to the finals.

“It’s a step closer to our dream,” Partridge said.

Making it to the finals meant jumping with jubilation and sharing an emotional moment with family and friends who mean a lot.

“They’re amazing people,” Partridge said of the band’s supporters.

For the band, performances go by in the blink of an eye and always leave them hungry to play more – especially when they hear a lot of girls screaming.

These four unrepentant dreamers have a goal of making it in the music business someday. Entertaining onstage reminds Casper of acting but not exactly, he said.

“It’s a rush,” Hebert said.

“You just get into the flow of things,” added Partridge.

“I’m smiling the whole time I’m up on stage,” Michaud said.

“I just love it,” Casper said.

The band formed in 2000, though Casper joined later. With the word “alteration” in mind, they named themselves Alteria after Casper joined.

The four value the friendship, audiences and freedom being in a band affords. “All four of us are very close,” Partridge said.

“It’s art,” said Hebert, also a poet and actor. “It’s poetry. It’s music.”

“Our poetry is the music we play,” Michaud said.

Hot licks

They write their own music and value originality. “It’s all original material,” Michaud said. “Stuff just comes at random moments.” They stay fresh by writing new songs, listening to a variety of different music and jamming together.

They range in age from 16 to 19 years old and attend Lisbon High School. They opened for Jeremiah Freed on their first gig. But most of the time they play schools, halls, clubs and festivals.

Most of Alteria are self-taught musicians. When they started they practiced in what they call “a 120-degree attic.”

During those four months, they rose relentless with the red sun to beat the heat. “You couldn’t play a note without dying of sweat,” Michaud said.

They cite influences such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, 3-11 and Jimmy Chamberlain, among others. The biggest crowd they have played thus far is approximately 300. But they hope for a bigger turnout than that at the Rock-Off finals.

“Audience participation helps,” Michaud said.


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