Blind Ambition

Before Braille is after success, but will it endure major stumbling blocks on its way to indie credibility?

Before Braille's Aezra affiliation has come with its share of luxuries, as well. The band is receiving tour support and distribution by BMG. And despite the hassles in mixing the album, The Rumor is the album Beyond Braille wanted to make, right down to the inclusion of five extra songs the band is not getting paid for.

"[That's] pretty standard," Jensen says. "The label only wanted 10 songs, and we're appreciative of the fact that they allowed a compromise for us to put about five songs on there."

Come show time, the Martini Ranch is filled to capacity. Any doubts that the crowd is here for radio-station freebies -- or following the mistaken belief that regular Ranch outfit Rock Lobster is playing tonight -- go out the window once Before Braille takes the stage. Jensen flails about like a man trying to shake demons off his back. Paired with Ringger on vocals, his voice is generally calm and melodic, a contrast to the pile driving the band provides. And once the set is done, more than half the crowd empties out.

That's always a good sign, unless you're in the band that has to follow. Whether these radio listeners or Scottsdale recreational drinkers will ever venture out to Nita's Hideaway or the Nile or Modified to see the band is another story. But they've taken their tentative first steps toward embracing Mesa-core. Rock Lobster might never sound the same.

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