Moral Dilemma will come at people from out of the blue. Their western Massachusetts music scene often seems isolated from the greater-Boston cover band circuit Yet, this band will likely get out of their local trappings soon. They offer a wide array of edgy, aggressive music that can appeal to hard rock fans from the 1960s to the present day. And, by the way, they’re very good with their genre of music.
After their first set it was clear Moral Dilemma knows how to trace the powerchords from the late 1960s to the 1990s and right on up to today. They easily find the edge in each song ,and they ride it with plenty of hard rock oomph. From their opening songs, MD persisted in keeping either a wild vocal, a fiery guitar, or a slamming rhythm section front and center, depending on which instrument was key in each song. From there, they let that band member turn up the blast furnace. A set list they had taped to a side wall of their stage was elaborately detailed with tunings, starts, and tempos.
Their cover of Alice In Chains’ “Rooster” began with an ominous, slightly menacing tone from lead vocalist Mike Morin. The low end sounded smooth and evil and both singer and bass served as a sinister intro to a hard rock rush of sound. Tracing their roots, Moral Dilemma played the Black Sabbath tunes “Paranoid” and “N.I.B.” with raucous energy and some quality menace in the guitars and bass. Songs recorded 20 years apart became part of a seamless energy.
The Moral Dilemma set list is impressive. They dug into John Lennon’s scream and the heavy rhythm guitar of “Revolution.” They handled Jimi Hendrix Experience’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower, the guitar parts as well as the Experience’s thrusting, marching rhythm support. Songs like “Crazy Bitch” by Buckcherry and “Paralyzer” by Finger 11 pulled and kept dozens of girls onto the dance floor.
Interestingly enough, they performed The Doors’ version of “Alabama song (Whiskey Bar),” with guitarist Rob Fierro playing the original organ chords and notes on his guitar and he made it work, and he made the song his own. Pearl Jam’s “Black” gave Moral Dilemma a chance to parlay their ability to create the slow boil to the dynamic tension. Playing Radiohead’s “Creep” showed the band’s ability to play up the plaintive, emotive, cry for help song with plaintive vocals over forlorn guitar notes.
“I Am The Highway” was a slow and easy sounding number as bassist Mike Marcenic again had it in the pocket good and tight here. Marcenik is more note-oriented than other cover band low ends and he paved the way for the clean and intricate guitar parts.
Moral Dilemma did have some technical problems with their sound system during the first two songs. They were also playing to very few people during their first set because everyone in town was at a fundraiser for a local family beset by tragedy. The Moral Dilemma show really came alive during the second set. Several people showed up then and they were throwing their energy back at the band. More bodies in the room also helped absorb the band’s volume instead of bouncing it around the walls earlier. The more upbeat vibe was summed up when the band played the Audioslave hit “Doesn’t Remind Me,“ with it‘s jaunty rhythm that made everyone feel like singing along.”