Kevin Aiello is the drummer for Points North, a 3 pc instrumental band from the S.F. Bay Area that has been touring up and down the West Coast since 2010. The band was formed in 2006. The band played many, many shows on the local scene, and in 2011 was signed to Magna Carta Records, a label best known as a leader in the progressive rock genre. The band has been compared to the likes of Rush, The Dixie Dregs, Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani and has also been hailed as a leading light of modern instrumental guitar music, single-handedly helping to revitalize the genre through their technical prowess, superior musicality and compositional skills.
The band has released two albums on the Magna Carta label. The first, ‘Road Less Travelled’, was released in 2012 and the second, self-titled ‘Points North’ was released in 2015. The band is currently in the writing stage for their third album which will also be on Magna Carta. Both albums are available on-line at various outlets such as the Magna Carta Records site & Amazon.
The reviews for their albums and live shows have been nothing but positive. A few examples:
“If you’re a fan of instrumental rock, you should give this a listen. Points North are probably the best band you’ve never heard of. Hopefully that will soon change as these guys are just too good to not be heard by the masses”. – Review of self-titled 2nd album by IndiePulse Music
“There seem to have been a lot of instrumental albums out lately, and most of them prove it’s difficult to make an interesting instrumental album. But Points North show that it’s not impossible, these guys are fantastic…all three members of the band put in stellar performances., why they aren’t more well -known is beyond me.” – Martin Howell, Power Play Magazine (U.K.)
“Opening for (Gary) Hoey was the impressive Northern California-based progressive rock trio Points North. The threesome packed a solid and memorable punch, performing eight inspired instrumentals that astonished at every turn. Among the highlights of the trio’s set were the seven-minute prog-rock epic “Turning Point” (off the band’s new self-titled sophomore album), an energetic-and-faithful cover of the Rush staple “YYZ” and the set-ending “Steve’s Morsels.” The complexity and ambition of the material was matched by the breathtaking chops displayed by guitarist Eric Barnett, bassist Uriah Duffy and drummer Kevin Aiello. – Robert Kinsler, Music News Nashville (live show Dec 2015)
“Points North is a 3 piece progressive instrumental rock band from the bay area. Points North never ceases to amaze the crowds they play to with their musical talent and the ability to truly captivate an audience. Even with them being an instrumental act, they are still extremely entertaining to watch and the band is able to hold the attention of the crowd.” – Ethan Wick SD Metal (live show Mar. 2016)
Over the years, Points North has shared the stage, either as opener or direct support, with a virtual Who’s Who of rock musicians and bands such as, Michael Schenker, Steve Morse Band, Gary Hoey, Eric Johnson, Al Di Meola, The Aristocrats, Marty Friedman (Megadeath), Paul Gilbert, Adrenaline Mob, Mr Big, The Winery Dogs, Pat Travers, Y & T, Blues Traveler, King’s X, UFO, the late Ronnie Montrose, the late Allan Holdsworth, Ritchie Kotzen (Winery Dogs), Yngwie Malmsteen – the list goes on!
In addition to Points North, Kevin plays in one of California’s top Rush cover bands called Fred Barchetta. The band consists of all three members of Points North and features Kristina Borja on vocals. He adds, “We started the ‘Fred’ thing just to have fun playing this music, and it is a total blast. The first time we heard Kristina sing, and after we picked up our jaws from the floor, we all had silly smiles on our faces! We like to have fun with it and I think it shows in our live performances.”
“My drumming influences are too numerous to list! But some of the guys who have had the most impact on me through the years include Aynsley Dunbar, Rod Morgenstein, Jeff Porcaro, Ian Paice, Gavin Harrison and of course Neil Peart since we do the Rush thing. There are so many great drummers out there and so much to learn from them it’s hard to keep up!”
Check out Youtube for videos of both Points North and Fred Barchetta.
Photo Credits: Chelsea Slick, Troy Smith, Steve Amaon, Scott Clift