There was some good stuff happening all around the D/FW area this night, but in my opinion, there was no better place to be then the small room of the Prophet Bar.
Even the sudden loss of one of the bands on the bill couldn’t dampen the show, although I was rather looking forward to seeing the Austin based, The Couch, again (I first saw them down in New Braunfels a couple of years ago at the Dia de los Toadies festival), but evidently traffic had other plans for them.
That left this show with only two bands, but luckily both were up to the task of filling the time to give the crowd their money’s worth, and just shortly before ten o’clock, Goodnight Ned got started.
Their 51-minute long set allowed them to pepper in some old favorites, but it was their new material that dominated their show, like their riveting opener, which had both Chase McMillan and Conner Farrall, each of whom play guitars and act as the lead singer at times, singing, in perfect synch no less, giving the song a great texture.
Keyboardist Jonas Martin handled most of the singing on their second song, adding a few extra touches to it late in the song. “I’m sorry that I loved you.” he belted out, a line often repeated in the song, before continuing, “You crazy bitch.” Some more profanity was heard after the second time he sang the line, though he had saved the best for last, and right before they tore back into the track sang, “I’m sorry that I loved you, you god damn dirty fucking cunt.” “I knew we should have played that one later on…” Chase remarked when they finished, after some of their female fans feigned anger at the language. “I’m sorry, I had to get that out. I’ve been around little kids all week…” Jonas said, before Conner added he [Jonas] had been in Florida, only leaving earlier that day and making the twelve hour drive back to Dallas for their show. “…I’m even wearing my Disney shirt.” Jonas pointed out, before finishing with, “You know they own Star Wars now?”
The new stuff continued as Chase handled the lead on one song, often singing in more of a growl, giving the song an extra kick and even a little darker feel to it. Things were lightened a bit on their next track, and a personal favorite of mine as far as their new songs go, when Connor did most of the singing, at least on the first half of the song. They got quite a bit of applause as it sounded like they were done, before they came back in, both Connor and Chase chanting, “Fix me, I’m your broken man.”
“Storm” was one of the classics they pulled out, the song from their self-titled EP receiving some strong cheers from a handful of fans who were eager to hear it. “The room’s almost at capacity, so if we could get you all to move forward.” Connor joked once the song was done, in an attempt to at least get the spread out crowd a little closer to the stage, before launching into another song.
Both Chase and Connor sang on the one that followed, which had a bit of a classic vibe to it, largely due to the notes Jonas was playing. They segued it right into their next number, which I believe was “Papa Jack’s Bag”, from the “Smoke From the Sails” EP. All five of them were harmonizing on it at one point, as bassist Ryan McLaughlin, who spent most of this night facing his amp, stepped up to Chase’s mic and shared it with him, and even drummer Michael Munoz chimed in, their voices creating a very heavenly moment.
There was just enough time for some applause before they moved directly into another track from that EP, “Fruit On the Tree”, which eventually gave way to one of their final songs. “We have a couple more for you.” Jonas told everyone, while they discussed the order of these final songs. It was a real rocking number, and one hell of a song, while their final one is equally as good. “Can you grunt with us?” Jonas asked the crowd, a noise both Connor and Chase make throughout the brilliant song that I believe I heard them say was titled “Wolves”.
It was a spectacular show, and with this being the second time I’ve seen them since they’ve worked so much new stuff into their set, I have to say, I really like the direction they’re headed.
It is slightly different sounding than what their first two EPs represent, being a little more rock sounding. The overall growth in songwriting is very noticeable, though, and they’re really utilizing all of their vocal options now, even more so than in the past, which is one trait that sets them apart from most other bands. And aside from all that, they put on a very enjoyable live show, too.
They’ll be wrapping up the year at Club Dada on December 31st, and their 2014 schedule is already starting to take shape. They’ll be doing a two-night stand at BarPM in Lubbock on January 24th and 25th, then February 22nd they’ll be at the House of Blues in Dallas, opening for Dr. Dog. Let’s also hope 2014 will see the release of a new album from Goodnight Ned as well. But in the meantime, check out their current music in iTUNES.
It didn’t take long at all for the headliner, Oil Boom, to get ready, and the show started a few minutes before a single note was even played.
While wrapping up their sound check, bassist Steve Steward got the laughs started by welcoming the “survivors of the 2014 Black Friday sales”, thanking them all for choosing to start “rebuilding the human race at this rock concert”. It was only moments later when singer and guitarist Ryan Taylor and drummer Dugan Connors fired up one of their newest singles, “45 Revolutions Per Minute”. “I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me for whatever I do. I have a fault line growing inside me…” Ryan sang at the start of it, breaking away from the microphone every chance he got so he could better rock out with his band mates on the fiery song.
There wasn’t even a split second break in between as they wound it into one of the many new(er) tracks they did this night, with Dugan laying down a nice, steady beat on the verses, primarily using the snare and floor tom, and along with Steve solidified an incredibly tight rhythm section. They kept the ball rolling as Dugan furiously pounded out some drumbeats to wind them into their next number, another fast paced, catchy one, part of the chorus being, “I need that Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
They finally took a break after that one, but not for long, Ryan wailing on his guitar on this next song, doing his first of a handful of rocking solos this night. The final chords from it were held until they diminished to mere sound, at which point they brought in into the lead track from 2012’s “Gold Yeller” EP, “Lily Liver”.
“Let’s hear it for Riff Raff.” Ryan said, since the Houston based rapper was playing at the adjacent large room of The Prophet Bar. “Let’s hear it for seventy inch TVs.” Steve chimed in, before Ryan continued talking about Riff Raff. “I went to high school with Riff Raff.” he said jokingly, noting that “He was just called Robert Raff back then.” They’re skilled rockers and also pretty good comedians, and as it turned out, both those characteristics were on display to some extent during their next song, “The Fiftease”. It’s the other track from their 7’’ record, and one I was quite glad to hear, since the other two times I’ve seen Oil Boom they’ve had shorter sets that haven’t included the song. The song is humorous at times, for example the line, “I have a switchblade comb or two.”, though the message it carries with it is to be yourself and not worry what others think of you (“…If that’s how I act, then what’s it to you?”).
They got back to their new music, and did a slew of it, with one song featuring another wicked guitar solo, and this time around Ryan played it with a slide, which was no doubt the crucial part to it being so enthralling. They segued it into another song, and after it concluded Steve joked that it was called Toyotathon. “Lease a Rav4 for only…” he added, killing time while Ryan switched out guitars. Also, Toyota really should compensate them for that nice little plug.
While most of their songs range from being shorter to the normal three and a half minutes or so, they now did one of a few longer ones they have in their arsenal, and upon finishing it, Ryan swapped back to his Gibson. While he was doing so, Dugan started in on the drums, Steve taking his cue as he laid some bass lines over it as they busted out another tune. “This next song’s by Eddie Raven.“ Steve announced, I assume joking again, but then again, I’m not familiar with any of his music.
Following it was another song, and after finishing it, it led to another guitar change. Steve then apologized to everyone. “I’m sorry, Weird Al over here has to change accordions.” he said, getting a good laugh from not only the fans but also his other two band mates. Once Ryan got back up to the microphone, he pointed out this was the newest song they’ve written, and it will surely be one of their instant classics.
They pushed on, but their show was nearing the end, and before starting their last couple of songs, they did some shots, which some fans/friends had bought for them. “I’ll make an exception…” Ryan said before downing his, prompting one of their fans to scream, “I have never seen him drink anything in my life!”, leavening her clearly taken aback that he had actually drank something alcoholic.
Once the shots disappeared, they pulled out one of the strongest songs they have, “The Great American Shakedown”, before closing out their 66-minute long show with yet another new one. I think I said something similar about that final song when I saw them earlier in the month, but it works really well as a closer. There’s a nice little ebb and flow to it, before dying out, and just when you think it’s over, Steve, Dugan and Ryan kick into high gear for a deliciously good (and rocking) instrumental portion.
This made the third time I’ve seen these guys in just about two and a half months, and this show was definitely the best of those three.
Not just because they had so much more time and were able to squeeze in several “deep cuts”, but also because this was the closest I had been to them, getting a much better view this time around, allowing me a better view at what impeccable musicians they all are. Each of them showed mastery of their respective instrument, from the delicate plucking to intense strumming Ryan and Steve did on their guitar and bass, while Dugan was a machine back there on his kit, smiling at times, then others singing along to the song.
Actually, seeing that they were having so much fun being on stage and playing their music was possibly the best quality their show had, ‘cause it only made it that much more enjoyable for the onlookers.
If you haven’t seen/heard of Oil Boom yet, fix that immediately (after all, not just any band gets to open for Johnny Marr, a feat they managed at the start of January). You can find their music in iTUNES, and they do have a few final shows for 2013. One will be in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Rev Room on December 28th, while on December 31st they’ll be ringing in the new year back here at The Prophet Bar. Also, on January 18th they’ll be in Amarillo, TX at the Golden Light Cantina.
Aside from seeing two great bands, the next best thing about this night was that the show was over fairly early, with Oil Boom wrapping up shortly after midnight, which was a good change of pace from the one to two in the morning nights.
The Curtain Club was hosting some heavier rock acts this night, most of whom were more on the metal side of things, including Light the Fire, who was doing their final Dallas show of the year.
Like Bridges We Burn opened up the night, and sadly I didn’t get there in time to see them. Well, at least not much of them. I did catch their final song, though, which frontman Jeff Nemec invited “Jefe”, as he said, or Jeff Gunter of Light the Fire on stage with them to help co-sing on the song, which made for a very fun way to end their show.
Check out their music in iTUNES (an EP and a couple of singles), and they do have one more show left for the year, on December 13th at the Prophet Bar in Dallas.
Up next was Deaf Angel, and upon taking the stage, frontwoman Tina Downs urged everyone to get closer. “…It’s cold outside.” Not many people needed that as incentive, though, as most of those who were there packed tightly around the stage, ready for the rock show to start.
Their shorter 27-minute long set began with the beast of a song, “Take Over”, which had many of their fans singing along to every word, a trend that continued for the duration of their time on stage. “This song’s called Directions.” Tina informed the audience, getting a few cheers from some who clearly loved the heavy song that had guitarist Duston Daulton often some very metal screams to it, echoing Tina near the end with a very throaty, “…I will not break down…”
The heavy assault continued with “Crazy”, after which drummer Scott Van Slyke sent them right into their next track. They had a couple more songs left, and like the previous ones they were from their newest album, “Brutally / Beautiful”, with things getting just a little more heartfelt with “Let You Go”, wit Tina seeming to put even a little more emotion into her singing on that one.
Before their last song, she took a moment to formally introduce their brand new bassist, Matt Harper, who had been killing it thus far with them, being a perfect fit for the band and their live show. The fans seemed to enjoy what he brought to the performance, too, and after that little welcome, they finished their show with the powerful, “Run to Me”.
It was a fantastic performance, with the only downside being that was over far too quickly.
It was the best Deaf Angel show I’ve seen yet, though (which in fairness has only been a handful of shows), and they just seemed more solid and cohesive then they’ve even been in the past. Scott and Matt created a vigorous rhythm section, without question being the backbone of every song they did, and I like the fact that Scott sets his kit up to the side, allowing the audience a better look at him as he plays. Dustin easily held everyone’s attention as well, from the deep screams he often made during the songs, and when he wasn’t adding any vocals, he was often seen standing atop one of the boxes they had borrowed from Light the Fire, shredding on his axe. While Tina has an incredible voice and knows how to put on a performance, too.
They’ll be back in Dallas on January 25th at The Boiler Room, and if you like free music, you can download their entire catalog at no cost over on their REVERBNATION PAGE.
Following them was Light the Fire, who hadn’t played the Curtain since releasing their newest EP back in July, and what better venue to play your last Dallas show of the year in.
In typical Light the Fire fashion, they had some fun at the start of their show, the four instrumentalists bobbing their heads to a rap song that played before vocalist Jeff Gunter ran on stage, and they show got underway. “Now’s our time to step up to the plate…” he screamed after his band mates played the short intro into “Don’t Fail Me Now”, offering a great start to their set, as it almost effortlessly puts the crowd in a state of excitement. “Are you ready tonight?!” Jeff roared at the fans as lead guitarist Ryan Dickinson and drummer Blake Hein wound them into another track from their first record, and the title song, “Note To Self”.
Audience participation was a must on that one, Jeff asking everyone to get a hand up and wave it back and forth during the instrumental break, while bassist Andrew Penland repeatedly shouted, “Hey!”, into his mic. “How the fuck are you doing?!” Jeff asked once the song was finished, still working on pumping everyone up, especially when he didn’t get the desired result. “You can do better than that!” he shouted, prompting a louder response from the audience this time around, while the sample track intro for “Thoughts” soon started to play. Andrew, Ryan and rhythm guitarist Felix Lopez staggered themselves in a line during the first verse of that one, thrashing about not only in perfect synch with one another, but also the beats Blake was cranking out.
“…We’re from D town…” Jeff said during their next break, adding, “We are D town.” That then led to talk of their new shirts, which had the Texas flag on them, but instead of a lone star, it bore Light the Fire’s emblem, a flame. He then asked everyone who hailed from the state to make some noise. “Some of you must be from Oklahoma or something…” he cracked in order to get a better response. They then tackled one of their newer songs, “The Masquerade”, a great song about being something you’re not. The song has a “slow, pretty part” as Jeff put it, and when they hit it he requested everyone put up their lighters or cell phones, and of course the phones outnumbered the lighters as the people waved them around until the song picked back up. And as it did, before the song hit the final chorus, Andrew lifted his bass up a little, giving his strap some slack, before thrusting it down in perfect time with one of the drum beats.
“Let’s get some movement going!” said Jeff before they started one of their heaviest numbers, “Under My Skin”, their final old track before hitting a string of songs from their self-titled EP. Jeff mentioned that, because of everyone’s help, they were able to play the Dallas date of the Vans Warped Tour this summer (on the Ernie Ball Stage), joking about how sweaty it was, and saying they met a guy there who said he wanted to shoot a music video for them. “…And we were like, “Okay!” Jeff stated, saying the video they filmed was for their song “Forever Grateful”. “But we don’t call it that, do we?!” he asked saying the name it is known as live, “Thunder Cunt”. The fans were asked to throw up their own “thunder cunts”, by extending their index fingers and thumbs, touching each finger to its counterpart. “Holy shit, look at Blake’s…” Jeff pointed out, as he had thrown up his drumsticks in place of his index fingers. Despite the name they’ve given it for live shows, it’s a love song through and through, take for example a line from the bridge, “…I can’t help myself, I’m yours ‘til the end. You are my reason for breathing…”
During that new fan favorite (and a personal favorite of mine), Felix broke a string, which led to a little downtime, but they never lost any momentum, as the crowd patiently waited for more. “Does it still say “suck it” on it?” Jeff asked Felix, who had earlier in the night flipped his guitar over, revealing the back of the body had “Suck It” written on it. He flipped this one over too, and sure enough, it did.
“…Get your horns up!” shouted Jeff, who also got a little chant of “Hell yeah!” started before their next song, “All Or Nothing”, which featured Jeff Nemec of Like Bridges We Burn adding his vocal touches to the song, making it sound even better than it already is. Their 49-minute long set was coming to an end, and at this point, Jeff mentioned that his brother, who is in the military, had recently gotten to come home, something he was clearly ecstatic about, and while he had planned to come out to this show to see the band in action, weather prevented him from doing so. The heartfelt speech continued for a moment before he added, “…So, I want you to experience the love he and his army brothers have for one another by bashing into each other.” The mosh pits had been pretty tame this night as far as LTF shows go, with the most action breaking out during the inspiring tale that is told in “Stick To Your Guns”, which saw one of Blake’s drumsticks breaking during the second verse, before he hastily grabbed a replacement.
Their final song wasn’t one of theirs, at least not entirely, and Jeff dedicated it to all the single ladies in attendance, but when asking how many were single, only one woman made any noise. “…You’re probably going to be raped…” he replied, getting a laugh from nearly everyone in the club. They then launched into The Scorpions “No One Like You”, and while it isn’t an original, they put such a unique spin on the song, it is certainly their own, and one that is well received by their fans. The best touch to the song came rather unexpectedly at the end, when the final guitars and bass lines were dying down and the last drum beat resonated out, as Jeff sang one of the last lines a capella, adding a beautiful finish to it.
They put on a phenomenal show this night, and though I thought their CD release show would be a hard one to top, in some aspects they did this night. They’re such a well polished and cohesive band, which is what sets their live shows apart from other acts, and also the fact that they manage to inject so much fun into their shows, while still keeping the professional demeanor every band needs.
They really are a superb band, and hopefully 2014 will have even bigger things in store for the band.
They don’t have anything on the books right now, but they are one band who plays very consistently, and you probably won’t have to wait too long in to 2014 for them to rock a venue near you. But until that happens, be sure to check out both of their EP’s in iTUNES.
The main act for the night was Low Gear, a long running Dallas band whom I had heard of, but not yet seen.
They proved to be too hard and heavy for my tastes (which I know is slightly weird given the fact I love Light the Fire), but after sticking around for three to four songs I just wasn’t feeling it and went ahead and left.
There was also one act after them, Driven Below, and I had watched some videos of them online to learn that they too were far to metal to appeal to me.
All the same, it was a great lineup at the Curtain Club this night, even if some of the bands weren’t my style, and it was certainly worth getting out on this cold night to see one last Light the Fire show for the year.
Tuesday, December 10th -Dallas (Deep Ellum) ALL AGES Doors @ 7 / Music @ 8 $12+
Wednesday, December 11th
-Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Music @ 10
Thursday, December 12th
-Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Music @ 10
Doors @ 8 / Music @ 8:30
Friday, December 13th
-Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Doors @ 8 / Music @ 9
$8 - $10
Doors @ 8
21+ $10 / 21- $15
Music @ 10
Doors @ 8
21+ $10 / 21- $12
-Dallas (Lower Greenville Avenue)
Doors @ 7 / Music @ 8
$20 - $36
Saturday, December 14th
-Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Doors @ 8
21+ $10 / 21- $15 (BRING a toy to donate!)
Doors @ 10
Doors @ 8 / Music @ 9
$7 - $10
Doors @ 7 / Music @ 8
$.97 and an unwrapped toy
-Dallas (South Side on Lamar)
Music @ 8
Doors @ 8
Doors @ 9 / Music @ 9:30
Sunday, December 15th
-Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Monday, December 16th
-Dallas (Lower Greenville Avenue)
Four different clubs along Greenville Avenue will be hosting different benefit shows (each one raising money for a different cause):
At the Libertine:
At the Crown & Harp:
At the Single Wide:
At The Bottle Shop:
The Granada Theater was hosting a nice selection of local(ish) country talent on this cold, wet night, just one day after the venue celebrated its 9th birthday. Evidence of the party was still visible, with a “9” shaped balloon hanging on either side of the stage, and by night’s end, I don’t know if the venue could have asked for a better lineup of bands to kickoff the journey to the 10 year mark.
The Matt the Cat Trio was the first band up, and was already into their set a little bit by the time I arrived. The band is comprised of 3/5ths of local favorites Eleven Hundred Springs, and evidently the almost constant touring schedule that band keeps still left too much downtime for singer and guitarist Matt Hillyer, bassist Steve Berg and drummer Arjuna Contreras, seeing as they started this as a side-project.
For the most part, they are a cover band at the moment, putting their spin on several older classics in the 40-minutes that I saw, like Jimmy Lloyds’ “I Got a Rocket in My Pocket”. They made sure it retained that classic 50’s sound, though they did charge it up a bit, and Matts’ voice was pretty well suited for it, hitting the higher notes with ease. “…This a song by Ronnie Dawson.” Matt informed the crowd as they started into “Congratulations to Me”, soon following it with “Thirteen Women (and Only One Man in Town)” by Bill Haley. Again, the faster drum beats Arjuna was knocking out helped bring a little modern taste to the song, while Steve kept pace with him, quickly plucking and slapping his upright bass.
“Let’s keep it swinging!” exclaimed Matt as they went right into an instrumental piece. It was a classic, one I recognized (and I’m sure everyone else would, too), though its title escapes me at the moment. It went almost unnoticed at first that Arjuna’s drumming grew louder, and then all of a sudden all eyes were on him, as he did one of his epic drum solos, proving you don’t need to have a massive drum kit to create a massive sound and get people’s attention.
Once they finished, Matt again addressed the audience, stating they didn’t have much original material written for this band yet. “…We’re just having fun, and we hope you are, too.” he told the little over thirty people who had made it out this early. He didn’t say they had no original music to play, though, and now did a song from a 7’’ record they put out, with the track being titled “When I Try to Be Cool”. If you’ve listened to their main band, than that song is pretty much what you’ve come to expect from Matt as a writer, though the sound was more reminiscent of 50’s to 60’s era music, while he sang the more humorous song about trying to act cool to impress the ladies. “…’Cause I always end up looking a fool when I try to be cool.” he sang before the second verse, with the rest of the track being filled with equally as great lines.
They performed a couple more covers, one of which was James Browns’ “I’ll Go Crazy”, which Matt noted was their first time doing it live, before doing another original, “It’s Gonna Take Some Time”. As it ended, they kept things going with some feedback, Matt bending down by his amp and holding his guitar to it, winding them into their next and final song, another take on a well known instrumental song, which proved a good way to end the show.
The three bring the same level of musicianship and quality as they display in Eleven Hundred Springs, but the Matt the Cat Trio is far from being just a scaled down version of the band. Their style does differ greatly, and doesn’t have quite as much of a country/rock infused sound. Part of that may well be the fact that they did so many covers, but all the same, while there are still some country twangs to the songs, they’re closer to being like a rock band in the very early days of the genre.
Well worth checking out, and I’m curious to see (and hear) what lies ahead for them, as they start to write and work in more original music to their set.
You can purchase their two singles in iTUNES, and while they are done doing shows for this year, they’ll be starting off strong in 2014, with a bunch of dates already booked for January which can be found HERE.
Following them was one band I had not seen in some time. In fact, it had been long enough that the Whiskey Folk Ramblers had dropped the “Ramblers” from their name, now going by Whiskey Folk.
They had also released their newest record since the last time I saw them, “The Lonesome Underground”, though their show this night represented all three of the records they’ve released, and very nicely at that, as they opened with one of the newer ones, “Cross City Trade”. As soon as the screen that covers the stage began to retract, their drummer launched them into the quick, catchy song that gained the attention of much of the ever growing crowd.
“…We came here to make you dance…” singer and acoustic guitarist Tyler Rougeux told the audience, while they had already started in on the next song, which saw Cory Graves putting his trumpet down as he put his keyboard to use for the next few songs, which came from the bands 2008 debut record, “Midnight Drifter”. One of those was the short and sweet, “Goin’ Where I Don’t Know”, which could easily provoke some dancing from the listener, and they bled it seamlessly into “River Song”. “Sold my soul to the river one day, I went down there to pray…” Tyler sang at the start of the tune, which still manages to sound just as good as it always has, even without the banjo player, who departed some time back, and seemed to have an even stronger rhythm section. “This is a song about gun slinging.” Tyler said as they did “Graveyard Line”, during which bassist Jack Russell continued plucking the strings of his bass in a pretty fast manner, giving the song a nice backbone.
As Tyler put it, they had one more “dancing song coming right up”, and he added that it was one they wrote “way back in the day” and it was based on a cartoon. The song he was setting up was “Moanin’ Rag”. The little story telling continued as they did another new song, which Tyler said was about “catching rides home with strangers”, bringing them to the slightly dark sounding, “Mad Man’s Eyes”. That darker mood was kept up with “Into That Slide”, one of the many songs that falls into what has been described as being a sort of gypsy/horror rock sound, before Tyler rolled them into the next number, strumming his acoustic, before electric guitarist Mark Moncrieff and the rest of the band joined in on “Leavin’ Here”.
I must confess, I haven’t listened to their new record too much, and I failed to identify the next song the band did (as well as a few others this night), but after it came a fan favorite. “…It’s about an old woman who makes pies and gets colds… And had no PTO…” Tyler joked before starting the ever entertaining, “Pies of Old Kylene”. The focus of songs then shifted to “bad relationships”, which is the subject of “Drink the Bottle Dry”, and again had Cory using his keyboard.
I don’t know how much of a true storyteller aspect this show had, but all the same, I was thoroughly enjoying all the comments before most of the songs, and for their next one Tyler told everyone it was about the circus coming to town and “…making a homeless guy sing…” That led them to the lead track from “The Lonesome Underground”, “Oh, St. Jude”, and was quickly followed by a couple more songs presumably from the album.
Another instant classic that was featured on 2010’s “And There Are Devils…” came next, with the tale of the “Gambling Preacher and His Daughter”, before doing another track about “gun slinging”, Cory adding a little extra percussion to it by shaking a tambourine. After another song, they got ready to end their 59-minute long show with “Sweet Waters”, which in the past has served as the closer, before wrapping it all up with “Lights On the Highway”.
Perhaps the best thing about Whiskey Folk is how they keep managing to reinvent themselves to some extent, changing their style around just enough from album to album to be different from one another, while still retaining their core sound. With the array of songs they did this night, that was made clear, and while they didn’t all sound similar to one another, they managed to all mesh and work with one another, allowing you to hear their evolutionary process.
Aside from that, they are a very unique band, having crafted a sound unlike any other band, which isn’t too easy to do these days, and they put on an entertaining show to boot.
They have one last show lined up for the year, and it’ll be on December 31st at Club Dada in Dallas, and be sure to check out their music in iTUNES.
Headlining the venue this night was The Dirty River Boys, who were doing one last little run of shows for the year, sandwiching this Dallas show between gigs in El Paso and Austin, their hometown and the city where they now reside, respectively.
They hit the stage right at their scheduled start time of 10:20, having a brief intro track play before the screen was raised and the four guys made their way on stage.
“How you doing, Dallas?” asked Marco Gutierrez, one of the bands singers and acoustic guitarists, once he got in front of his mic on stage left. They promptly started what wound up being nothing short of an epic performance. It was Marco who handled the singing on their first song, “Train Station”, though fellow singer and acoustic guitarist Nino Cooper added some light background vocals at various points during the song. It gave it a beautiful underlying texture, and after that title track of one of their EP’s, Nino took the reins, as he and some his band mates harmonized for the first line of “My Son”, “I don’t know where you’re going my son, taught you to walk but you learned how to run…”.
That song has an extra to kick to it live from what you hear on the record, and the way they segued seamlessly from their first song to it helped give their show even more of a punch. They weren’t about ready to let up, either, going right into their next song, but first, drummer Travis Stearns (who plays a cajon he sits on and has a more minimal drum kit setup) spoke to the crowd, which no numbered a few hundred people, welcoming them to the show and (successfully) trying to get them excited. Marco then went back to singing as they did “Carnival Lights”, the lead track from their first EP. That gorgeously sad song is filled with great lines, like, “I saw her on a Sunday, I never saw her again, they say she’s fading away…”, and as it neared the end, it turned into a sing along, with those who knew it crooning along with Marco at the end, “These old carnival lights won’t let her eyes sleep tonight…”.
Travis bridged them right into their next number, where bassist Colton James got his first chance of the night to show off his full vocal chops, singing one of their new tunes, almost snarling on part of the chorus, “…Let me taste the blood.” It was more intense than some of their stuff, and Travis matched that by rocking out on his kit, forcefully striking his snare drum, performance wise showing up even the heaviest of metal drummers (not just on that song, but for much of the night).
They carried on with “Dried Up”, the first of several songs that drew from the “Science of Flight” record, and upon finishing it, Marco announced it was time for a “Chinese fire drill”. Nino was the only one who stayed in the same position, while Travis grabbed a mandolin and Colton a banjo, leaving Marco to play the upright bass. “ Lookin’ for the Heart” was the song they did in that format, which has more of a bluegrass sound than most of their other songs, and upon finishing it, while the band returned to their original instruments, Nino moved them onto the next track, another new one, as he gently plucked the strings on his guitar. “…If you’ve heard us on the radio recently, this was probably the song you heard…” Marco told everyone once he got back in front of his microphone and began playing the same chords as Nino. “Desert Wind” was one song Colton used a typical electric bass on, and that amazing new single brought with a certain aura. An aura very few songs have, but one that in listening to it you know you’re hearing something special, and it boasts a great music bed, and some wonderful lyrics that do indeed tell a story.
They kept the new songs coming with another one, Nino switching out to an electric guitar for it, before swapping out to the mandolin for, as Marco put it, “…A country song about punk rock…” Travis again stood up from his kit, excitedly chatting with the audience for a minute to pump them up, before asking for some more help in singing it, with “it” being “Boomtown”, and it got quite a few people excited, with some of the fans at the front of the stage jumping around while singing along to every word.
They may have been in Dallas, but their hometown of El Paso got a shout (or two) this night, with Marco noting how proud they were to be from the city, asking if anyone had heard of another band from there, The Lusitania, which led them to trying their hand at one of that bands tracks. Nino was back on his acoustic now, and they did an excellent cover of “’Til My Heart Gives Out (Mountain Song)”, which was definitely a country song, especially since part of the chorus was, “…How long ‘til my heart gives out and the drinks kick in?”.
“Are we having fun yet?!” Marco asked everyone, adding that they were going to be trying out some new stuff this night, but that wasn’t a lead in to another new track. Instead they did another from their LP, “Youngblood Blues”. That somewhat joyous song was followed with another new one, which required Colton to bring his electric bass back out, while he again sang lead on the song, though they all harmonized on part of the chorus, “…Now God knows that no one should be alone…” There was a certain degree of somberness to the song, balanced out with unrivaled beauty in the four-part harmonies that ensued at different times.
They slowed things down with the pretty, “Riverbed Wildflowers”, before offering another glimpse at what their new album will sound like. “Things are gonna get real weird…” Marco plainly stated before one song, which did sound like more of a departure from their previous stuff, but in the best possible way, simply because it did seem to be out of their comfort zone so to speak. Nino kept things going by setting up their next tune, another one that forced them to do some things different, and they again did their “Chinese fire drill”, knocking out another new number.
“Union Painter” was another song of theirs that told a legitimate story, and afterwards, while Nino thought they were going to take a break, his band mates surprised them by rolling things along. “I guess we’re gonna play some rock ‘n’ roll.” he remarked, joining them on Ryan Adams’ “Shakedown on 9th Street”, which they did a great rendition of, putting their own little mark on it. At one point during it, Travis took one of his drum sticks and hurled it high into the air, though he failed to catch it as it fell a little behind him, narrowly escaping his grasp. He didn’t seem to give it much thought, though, quickly grabbing another stick.
“Draw” got a very impressive intro, with the band getting progressively faster on their respective instruments, leading to Travis standing up from his cajon and he again tosses a stick into the air, catching it this time around, before they wound the instrumental segment into the actual song. They also added an extra touch to the end, Marco extending the final line as he held each word for a few seconds.
They were over an hour into things by now, and I was surprised they were still going, though at this point Colton and Travis left the stage, while Marco hid in the wings of stage left, leaving Nino to perform most of “So Long Elanie” solo. Marco did join in eventually, though, adding not only his guitar to the mix, but also some soft vocals. Once the full band was back on stage, they did one last new song for the night, and it was a special one. Not only did they write it with Ray Wylie Hubbard, it was also about their hometown, and Nino asked if anyone in the crowd was from El Paso. He reminisced about how at one time, you could travel into Mexico with no worries, saying as a teen he and countless others would walk across the bridge, get some beers, and come back before night. That’s something that can’t be done now with all the violence in the border towns, which was precisely what this track was about, and as it concluded, Travis again threw a stick up in the air, and yes, he caught it.
They still had some left to give, doing “Six Riders”, before all four of them wound up at the front of the stage, taking some shots that had been bought for them and bowing, thanking everyone for coming out. Travis noted that they had done one thousand plus shows in their four-year existence, and would be coming back strong in 2014 with their new record and a new sound. By that time, Nino had again armed himself with the mandolin, capping off their show with “Raise Some Hell”, which has a very authentic Irish sound to it, and (fittingly so) is a very rowdy number.
98-minutes. That’s how long they had been on stage, which is much longer than even some of the most well known bands play. It was nothing short of phenomenal, and I was amazed at how quickly the time had passed, ‘cause it really seemed like they had only just begun by the time it all ended.
An encore seemed improbable to me, after such a meaty show during which they had played just about everything they possible could have, but some of their fans weren’t ready for it to end, shouting for more.
At most they had been gone from the stage for a minute when Marco returned, getting his moment to do a song solo.
Their 14-minute long encore portion was kicked off with “Another Night”, and a little ways into it Nino returned to the stage, being followed by Colton and Travis shortly after as the song picked up steam. Once he had played his final notes, Nino went and swapped his acoustic guitar out for an electric, rocking out some sweet licks that had the fans cheering him as they bridged the tail end of that track into “She”. They tacked on something special to that already brilliant original song, though, and at one point, Nino took over on lead vocals, belting out part of the chorus of Jim Hendrixs’ “Voodoo Child”.
This wound up being quite the night, far surpassing the expectations I had, had for it. Really, what bands play for almost two hours? Especially ones that are still on more of the local to mid-level circuit of the game. That’s just about unheard of, and it was a nice surprise to be treated to a true, honest to god performance.
They commanded the audience’s attention with ease all throughout the night, the fun the four of them were clearly having on stage playing their music making it all the easier for the crowd to get into it all and have a good time. That helped contribute (hell, it practically made) the fun atmosphere for the night, which in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects a concert should have.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt either that all four of them are very capable singers with excellent voices, and skilled musicians.
They may be through doing shows for the year, but luckily there’s not much left of this year, so their 2014 resurgence isn’t that far off. But until then, you can of course find their music in iTUNES. Two EP’s, a full-length, and not too long ago “Desert Wind” became available as a single (seriously, you HAVE to listen to that one). Check ‘em out, buy their music, and get ready for their new record.
I’m not the biggest country music fan in general, but if you’re like me, then you just might think that the “mainstream country” music has devolved to the point it’s essentially glorified pop music that masquerades as so called country by talking about “pickup trucks” or other stereotypical things. It’s so much more than that, though, and all three of the bands on the bill this night know that. Sure, each one of them offered a different variation of the genre, but they’re still more country than what you’re likely to find on the radio.
It’s not too often I end up at the same venue two nights in a row, yet this night, I found myself back at Prophet Bar, for yet another round of touring acts.
The Limousines were responsible for getting me out on this Monday night, having seen them just barely over two years ago when they were on tour with The Sounds. They blew my mind then, and since that night, I had eagerly been awaiting their return to Dallas.
They were on tour with a couple of bands, and the one opening this show was Dresses, who were from Portland, Oregon.
I didn’t see much of them, as they had already started by the time I got there, though I enjoyed what I heard.
Every band on this bill was very different than the others, and Dresses was no exception, mining more of an indie/pop/rock sound, with the main members being frontwoman Timothy Heller and lead guitarist Jared Ryan Maldonado, who even played a ukulele for a few songs. While she was the lead vocalist, he also sang on some songs, and the two even harmonized at times, their voices blending to create some beautiful textures.
It was all well crafted, with more subtle tones at times that served to accentuate the vocals and even the lyrics to the songs.
I just wish I had gotten to see more of them and get a better idea of what they’re like, though I did enjoy what I saw.
They do have a record available, “Sun Shy”, which is actually their debut album. Give it a listen, and it may well make you a fan.
Sandwiched in between the opener and the headliner was San Francisco’s own The Limousines, who wound up having quite the following out this night, some of their fans rushing to the front of the stage as soon as Dresses left to ensure they had a good spot, all the while beaming with glee about seeing this electronic act.
They brought with them a pretty professional looking setup, from a couple of scrims (one on each side of the stage) that had multi-colored lights shining from behind them throughout the show. They also had a cool looking “case” that stood in front of the unused drum kit and had the band’s name on it, with the letters looking like all sorts of old runes. The letters on that were also illuminated, switching through the color spectrum.
Aside from aesthetics, they had also grown a member since I first saw them, now being a trio with the addition of a multi-instrumentalist who often played bass this night, but also dabbled on the keys/synthesizers and electronic drums.
Oh yeah, they also had a smoke machine, which frontman Eric Victorino triggered before walking backstage. In such a small venue, the fog got pretty dense as it billowed out, helping create a mood before multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Giusti, Eric and the bass player made their way on stage.
Their long awaited second LP, “Hush”, was released earlier this year after a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, and they got their show going with the lead track and first single from it, “Love is a Dog from Hell”. It didn’t take long for the crowd to get into the song that laments love lost, moving about and even doing a little bit of dancing to the track. They were only just getting started as they immediately fired up “Undercover”, the bass during that song being so heavy at times you could feel the floor vibrating, which is always a sure sign of a great show.
It didn’t take long after the music subsided and the applause dies down for one female fan to shout at Eric, “Have my babies!” “I don’t have time for babies. I’m too busy.” he said, politely turning down her request, but it wasn’t the last time she would make it this night.
“Haunted” was the first of a few songs that saw Giovanni and the other guy heavily using their electronic drums, while Eric moved his mic stand out of the way on that one, giving him a little more freedom as he paced around more, and got pretty passionate at times. “I’m haunted, I’m haunted by you…” he belted out on the chorus, dropping to his knees at one point, packing that and many other lines from the song to the brim with emotion. That simply made it all the more enjoyable for the audience, and after finishing it, he had a question for everyone. “Does Dallas, Texas know how to dance?!” They proved they did on the incredibly catchy “Fool’s Gold”, which somehow managed to sound even better live, and was certainly more fun. Eric made an array of little movements with his hands during the first verse, conducting them to the music, while at one point during the song he instructed everyone to put their hands up. The fans listened, moving their fists up and down to the beat.
“Little Space” was definitely the most electronic sounding song they did this night, after which Giovanni and the other guy let up on the electronic drums, as he went back to his bass for the lively “Gimme Control”. “I’m sorry I declined your baby offer earlier…” Eric again told the girl from earlier, who was very into the show. “I’m just too busy. I am.” he said, looking at the bass player, who in turn was looking at Eric like that was just an excuse. The trio moved on with “The Last Dance”, which featured some real percussion as Giovanni periodically beat on a floor tom that set beside him, against the wall of stage left.
“…Tell me, how am I supposed to know, should I hold you, should I let you go? Let me know, I’ll let you go…” Eric sweetly sang on another gem and instant classic from the “Hush” album, “Bedbugs”, ending it as he crooned, “…I could lie and tell you we could still be friends…”
Everyone was saddened to hear Eric announce they had just one song left, but after a quick chat with Giovanni, they decided to do two. One of those songs was “Stranger”, and as they finished it, one girl let out a loud shriek of excitement. “I guess I am having your babies.” Eric said after pinpointing it was the same girl as before “She’s a shrieker.” he stated while laughing. As it stood, they had played the majority of “Hush”, and now, to end their 41-minute long set, they performed the title track. That song is something else in the live environment, and Eric was in top form while performing it, in complete control of the stage as well as the audience’s attention while he thrashed about on stage, then, in true rock star fashion, left the stage right after his final line.
Even after two years I still remember that first of theirs I saw pretty vividly, and the one this night at the Prophet Bar is another one that’ll live on in my mind for quite some time. And since they didn’t do anything from the “Get Sharp” album, it almost was like seeing them again for the first time this night.
Their showman for sure, and the three of them owned the stage this night as The Limousines. However, as amazing as Eric’s voice is (and it does sound even more remarkable live), and as mind blowing of a live show as they put on, one of the most surprising things to me is that is heavily as they rely on electronics and even backing tracks, none of it sounds synthetic. It’s all very real and has a clean, organic sound to it all.
Check out their records in iTUNES, and they do have one more show booked for the year in San Jose, CA at the Blacnk Club on December 20th.
They alone were worth coming out on this Monday night and the $15 price tag, but there was one more band after them, and they hailed from Nashville, TN.
I had listened to a little bit of Mona’s music just a few days before the show, and honestly, didn’t really get into it. There are plenty of bands, though, that end up being better live, and I figured I’d stick around for a few songs and give them a chance.
They played a decent amount of material from their self-titled record, beginning with “Listen to Your Love”. Whatever reason I had of not liking their music beforehand was quickly dispelled with that explosive number, which had pulled pretty much the entire crowd (of around 80+ people, not band for a Monday night) as close as they could get to the stage, watching in awe.
Well, I now knew I’d be sticking around until they finished.
The quartet killed some time as they dealt with the drummer, Vince Gard’s monitor, which wound up not being turned on. “…That means he played that song like a badass!” said singer and rhythm guitarist Nick Brown, before they moved on to another single from their debut album, “Teenager”. Audience participation was a must on it, and they got nearly everyone clapping to the beat at the start of it, while Nick asked the fans to sing along at the end, which most everyone seemed happy to do, though it wasn’t loud enough. “Vince’s girlfriend is louder than that!” Nick told everyone in order to get some more out of them, and that helped lead to the start of some Texas jokes, since his girlfriend was from Texas, and her sisters were actually part of the audience.
After having some fun and laughs with everybody, they got back into show mode, doing a song from the recently released “Torches & Pitchforks”, “Wasted”, which I did find to be a bit repetitive at times. You could already tell that humor, especially in regards to banter, was a big part of Mona’s show, and at this point it appeared they were about to do a cover. “I heard there was a secret chord…” Nick crooned while softly plucking the strings of his guitar, getting an excited reaction from a few fans. A rendition of “Hallelujah” was not coming though, as he stopped right there. “Are you fucking kidding me?” he said, about the idea of them even covering that song, before they promptly tore into “Darlin’”, lead guitarist Jordan Young, bassist Zach Lindsey, Vince and Nick all rapidly rocked out on their instruments.
Upon finishing it, the Texas jokes continued, and while none were negative, they were pretty hit and miss with this group of Texans. “…I know, Texas jokes aren’t funny. Lighten up. It’s a Monday…” Nick said, acting as if he was irritated, but in a joking way. And since that wasn’t working, he put the target on himself. “…That guy with the mic makes less and less sense the more he drinks…”, which got the biggest rise from the crowd yet.
They kept going with a couple of other songs, the latter of which wound up being one of my favorites of theirs. It was very sharp and filled with venom, essentially being the epitome of a rock song. It was interesting when they finished it, though, Nick saying to everyone, “…Sometimes you play songs that aren’t even songs…” “Was that even a song before we started it?” Zach asked, giving the impression that perhaps it came about spur of the moment. Nick then moved the conversation in to what concerts have evolved into these days. “…You hear what you know, and then leave…” He then added, “I don’t believe in that.”, before continuing with, “I know music played by humans for humans is a novel idea…” The thing is, all of that would almost be funny if there wasn’t so much truth to it.
Is what wound up being funny, though, was that after this speech about people only sticking around to hear the “popular” songs, they did “Goons (Baby, I Need it All)”, which Zach pointed out after they finished was the one song that everyone here knew (well, I didn’t know it, though.) It was ironic that things would work out that way, but certainly not hypocritical.
The talk of music continued, and now Nick also incorporated some real life experiences in order to show how different everybody is. “I’ve met people that have dicks who like other people with dicks. I’ve met people with dicks that like people with vagina’s…” He then threw in a meeting with someone from here in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas. “…Earlier I met a guy who’s been homeless for six months and said he’s an atheist…” (while on the topic of religion, at one point during the show Nick informed everyone that he was the son of a pastor, I believe it was, laughing when he said no one probably would have thought that.) The purpose of all that was to show that while we’re all different as far as background and beliefs go, we’re still all pretty much the same. “…Music is bigger than all of us. Fuck religion… fuck state….” he said, adding a bunch of other institutions to that list, before closing with, “I believe in music.”
I think that was the most Rock ‘n’ Roll speech I’ve ever heard, being very impactful, and they of course had to prove that, going almost right in to “Shooting the Moon”, which Nick put his guitar down for. He joined the audience on that one, as the crowd parted, letting him go where he wanted, which was almost back to the bar, before he eventually returned towards the front of the stage. They toned things down just a bit with “Like You Do”, and only did more so once Nick got his guitar back, knocking out “Pavement”.
I believe they followed it with another track from 2012’s “Mona”, “I Seen”. Regardless of if that’s right or wrong, Jordan, Zach, Vince and Nick tore it up on their respective instruments, and even though their 70-minute long set was almost over, they still had a lot of energy left to put into it.
One more song came next, after which they again thanked everyone for coming out on this Monday night. “…No one ever wants to do anything on Monday’s.” said Nick, before they brought the night to a close with “Lean Into the Fall”.
What they did was put on a real, entertaining performance, the likes of which are hard to find.
Making it all the better was the fact that I was not prepared for it in the least, and that’s always a great feeling when you see a band and they completely blow you away.
Anyway, in watching the members of Mona on stage, all the potential they have is readily evident, which makes me glad I saw them here at the Prophet Bar, because there’s no doubt they’re destined for bigger and better things (and bigger stages). They just have all the key components, from the live show, to writing meaningful music that has that certain radio friendly quality to it, and everything else a band needs to succeed.
They may be done playing for now, but keep an eye on their tour schedule, ‘cause they’ll no doubt be busy in 2014. And in the meantime, check out their music on iTUNES.
Very fun night, and it was nice getting to some bands from beyond the North Texas music scene. Too bad every Monday night can’t be this much fun. Oh, and this also wound up being the 600th concert I’ve seen. Not bad if I do say so myself.
The Prophet Bar was hosting a very unique show this night. Free Dominguez, best known as the frontwoman of Kidneythieves, was performing this night, and this final show of an only two-show tour of Texas was more of an intimate party than just your typical concert.
This Dallas date was billed as a “private event”, with buying tickets in advance being the only way to get in, as no tickets were sold at the door, giving it an exclusive feel, to an extent.
On top of that, Free had organized the lineup, with her cousin Jordi Baizan and fellow Los Angeles based singer Sierra Swan opening for her. (Dallas locals At Night were also scheduled to perform, though their van broke down on the way back from their Houston show).
However, since this was such an early show (starting about 6PM), both openers had finished by the time I was able to get there, though I heard good things about both.
Still, everyone was most excited for Free Dominguez, who had been over at the merch table meeting people and signing stuff for most of the evening (from what I heard), only leaving shortly before her and her bands 8:40 start time in order to get ready for the show.
Much of their 67-minute long set was comprised of material from “Volcano and the Sea”, an album that at one point during the night Free said she had been wanting to make for ten years, sounding elated that it had finally happened.
They kicked things off exactly how the record does, with the beautifully serene yet roaring rock number, “Calling”. She informed the decent size crowd on the title after they finished it, chatting with everyone briefly. “This is going to be our last song.” Free joked before they launched into “Beautiful”, which was just one of many songs this night that guitarist Static was able to shred on.
Drummer Beak Wing counted them in on the mesmerizing “Line in the Sand”, which was the last song they did in order as is heard on the record, and afterwards Free again spoke with the crowd, creating a real rapport with everybody. One thing she did was point out a couple who had drove all the way from St. Louis to see this show, a feat that earned them a round of applause. “…It’s stuff like that that keeps me doing what I’m doing…” remarked Free, being genuinely humbled by that, as well as all the fans in general who had come out to show their support.
“Make me a simple life before I die…” Free crooned as they started “Simple Life”, which somewhat deals with materialism, and wound up being a highlight of their show. At least I thought so. Upon finishing it, she pointed out one of the lines from it, for those who might not have caught it, and that was, “…Things that are forever are forever changing…” She commented on how that’s more or less a mantra for her, and it is probably one of the most true lyrics from a song. Talk then led to the next song, which Free noted was the first song she and Static wrote that wound up leading to “Volcano and the Sea”. “…He was screwing around on Skype…” she said, saying she liked what he was doing on his guitar and asked him to continue.
They then slowed things down with the dark and gorgeous “Corridors”, with Free hitting some utterly beautiful notes with her voice. “That’s always a fun one to do. It’s always different.” she stated, referring to Static as “the feral one”, adding that he always keeps them on their toes while performing it. And while they had toned things down with that song, they were about to scale back even more as Beak Wing and bassist Matt McJunkins left the stage. Free told everyone that for this next segment, she let Static pick the songs they were going to play, ones she hadn’t prepared for and was going to be as surprised as the audience. “…I might even forget the lyrics, like I did last night in Houston.” she said laughing.
This portion of the show saw them doing some stripped down covers of Kidneythieves songs, and the first one was the lead track from “Zerospace”, “Before I’m Dead”. They may have sounded a little different, but it was these songs that everyone seemed to love, and much of the audience was even singing along to them, especially “Jude (Be Somebody)”, which everyone seemed ecstatic to hear, and it did even catch Free off guard. “I don’t know what it is.” she said after Static’s first riff on the guitar, reiterating that after the second, before realizing. And no, she didn’t flub the words to either of those tracks.
As the rhythm section returned, Free took a few moments to discuss another project she and Static are working on, which will be a hip-hop collaboration. She expressed her love of the genre, even saying they recently got word from the label that they will be able to get who they want to collaborate with for what I believe she said would be an EP that would most likely be released in the first half of next year. She sounded very excited about it, and it will no doubt be an interesting record to hear once it’s finished.
As they got back to her solo material, they did some revamped renditions of a couple songs from “(.Unearth.)”, the addition of Matt and Beak Wing really helping flesh out the songs from how they are on the album, helping transform “ Darkest Rivers” into a beast of a song, and one they could all really throw down on. “…Enjoy it…” said Free, urging everyone to get the most out of it, adding, “…’Cause I don’t know when we’ll be back…” Following it was “Questions + Lies”, which helped wind the evening down, but they still had a couple songs left to do.
But before playing any more, Free pointed out that a special guest was in attendance, and that was someone who had backed their Kickstarter campaign, picking the reward option of having her write a song about him. In order to get to know him she said they had talked online many times, and she also had him keep a dream journal for a while, which he then gave to her. She was excited about the song, saying how good it was sounding and that she has had to fight the urge to share even a snippet with him, because she wants him to be surprised when he hears the full song, which she said would be titled “Mr. Goodnight”.
They got back to it with “Hearts Like Parachutes”, which made them appear as if they were still getting warmed up, with the whole band really loosing up, especially Matt, who thrashed about to the beat. Then, before their final song, Free pointed out someone else who was in attendance. It was a young girl who was at her first ever concert, and Free said she was glad the child had been in the bathroom earlier when she said the “f-word”. “…I’m sensitive about that stuff…” she clarified, shortly before encouraging everyone to support their favorite band by buying their music, then bashing a streaming service with, “Fuck Spotify!”. It was “Wolf” that brought their show to a close, though even after a little more than an hour, no one was ready for it to come to an end, letting it be known when it was said that would be the last song. “Do you not want me to enjoy this shot?” Free said jokingly, having gotten one early on in the night, but only drank a portion of so it didn’t “fuck up” her voice as she put it. A respectable ting to do I might add, since so many musicians these days don’t seem to think twice about how it might affect their singing.
As the band retreated back stage, the DJ they had at the event began to spin some more music as everyone started to mingle a bit, thinking it was over. It wasn’t.
Static and Free returned to the state after a minute or so, performing over the track the DJ had going, giving everyone one little bonus track.
It was truly an incredible show, and making it all the better was the intimate feel it had. The Prophet Bar is a smaller venue, and all four members were fairly cozy on stage, having just enough room to do a little moving around. That didn’t keep them from putting on one helluva show, though.
There’s no question that Static is a phenomenal guitarist, stealing the spotlight at times as you watch in wonder at his mastery of the instrument. Beak Wing and Matt are also experts at their craft, while Free Dominguez is amazing in all aspects. Often this night she could be seem conducting her body very fluidly to the music, moving her hands and arms about in perfect time to what her band was playing. On top of that, she has a stellar voice, which was no doubt the main tool that left everyone in awe this night.
Honestly, the first time I ever heard any Kidneythieves songs was the covers they did this night, it has prompted me to listen to their records. And while it may be a departure from the group that made her famous, Free’s solo music is every bit as great, albeit in a different way, but in the end, it’s all riveting music that will pull you in and make the trip an experience.
If you haven’t yet heard her solo stuff, check it out in either iTUNES or Bandcamp.
I’m glad I wound up going to this show, as it was well worth it, and I definitely won’t miss out on the next one… Whenever that may be.
Having six bands on a bill means getting the show started early and having most of the bands do shorter sets. So, by the time I arrived to the Curtain Club this night, I had already missed Item 9 and A Life in Arms Reach, while Down to Friend was getting ready to take the stage for their CD release show.
Personally, I wasn’t much of a fan. They were heavier than what I like, with a hefty amount of screaming. But even I managed to find their high-strung show somewhat entertaining, and their fans clearly loved it, moshing pretty much the entire time they were on stage.
And if their genre sounds more like your style of music, you can find the EP they released, “So Awesome, It’s Stupid” in iTUNES.
The music style changed with the next set of bands, with Waking Alice ushering in the rock portion of the night.
They may have had an abbreviated 30-minute long set, but it was still long enough it allowed them to hit the highlights, and they packed it full of rock., an getting them off to an excellent start was “Treason”. As usual, the song was sped up from what you hear on the “Retribution” EP, drummer Jonn Levey providing a quicker beat for the song, resulting in it having much more of an urgency to it. It seemed like they might slow things down with the following song, which frontman Rus Chaney noted was a brand new one they had written a couple of weeks before. “It’s a love song.” he added, prompting a jokingly disappointed “awwwe” from their fans and friends. “Shut up.” he quipped, saying it was more of an atypical love song, and, if I heard the name right, was titled “Paper. Rock. Shotgun.”
It certainly wasn’t your normal love song, and music wise it even had some slightly dark undertones at times, though the lyrics were definitely that of a love song, and not in the generic way that so many songs like that are written in. And if there was still any doubt that perhaps it was not a rock song, than Brandon Brewer’s guitar solo quelled it, being slick, polished and all around awesome. It also further whets the appetites of their fans, giving everyone a little more insight into what Waking Alice has been working on, and already has me intrigued as to what will be coming down the pipeline next.
“Scars” had a super tight rhythm section this night, particularly at the beginning and before the choruses, when bassist Brayton Bourque swiftly plucked the strings of his bass in perfect synch to Jon’s drumming, which was pretty fast in itself. Very cool, and just shows how the band is still tightening up their live show.
They were already halfway done with their set, and continued on with their latest single, which Rus mentioned at the time may even still be up for free download on their Reverbnation page, joking that every now and then they can be nice and give stuff away. He was referring to “Hostage”, the heavy and intense track that has quickly become a fan favorite. “Fighting for myself to break free from your grasp. Now I’m on my feet, I’m gonna kick some ass.” Rus sang on that beast of a song, before they moved on to some classic Waking Alice. “…You might know it.” remarked Rus before they launched into “Biggest Lie”, which is always an interesting one to hear, due to the ever changing guitar solo Brandon does during it. The one this night was one of the best riffs I’ve heard him go on, having a very raw rock sound, and Jonn also got the spotlight for a few moments, as he knocked out a drum solo.
They then closed with a cover. “…It’s probably Jonn’s favorite.” Rus commented. Jonn then smiled as he led them into The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Geek U.S.A.”. They put a good spin on it, and I found myself liking it even more this time around than the (only) other time they did it. You could tell they’ve put some more work into it since their September show, and hopefully it’ll be a cover that sticks around for a little longer.
Their set did seem to pass by a little quick, and I think everyone of their fans would have liked to have heard another one or two tracks, but there’s always next time for that. Actually, this shorter set seemed to make them hustle a little more, invigorating them and making them even more dynamic than usual.
They have one last show for the year lined up on the last day of the year (December 31st) at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, for those who really do want to rock in the new year. And of course check out their music (new and old) in iTUNES.
InnrCor was next up, another band who was celebrating the release of a new record, as well a brand new lineup for the group.
I stuck around for a bit, but just never really got in to it, and since I had been feeling under the weather since early on in the week, still didn’t feel great and I knew I didn’t like the headliners, Mad Mexicans, I went ahead and called it an early night.
It may have been a relatively short show for me, but that should say something about Waking Alice, too, ‘cause they alone were well worth the trip to the Curtain.
Area station KXT (91.7 FM) was celebrating their fourth anniversary this night, doing so by having organized a concert at the Granada Theater. And what a concert is was…
Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths) was headlining, but they had gotten a lone local band on this bill, and the Fort Worth/Dallas based Oil Boom had the pleasure of opening up this show.
The trio hit the stage at eight on the dot, drummer Dugan Connors counted them into their first song. Singer and guitarist Ryan Taylor then ripped into his guitar, starting one of their latest singles, “45 Revolutions Per Minute”, and if there was anyone in the room who was skeptical about the opener, that song quickly dispelled those thoughts. It’s a rocking good time, having everything desirable in a song, and they were only just getting started, as Dugan wound them into their next song with some steadier beats, while Ryan lightly plucked away at his axe.
“Happy birthday, KXT!” Ryan quickly shouted after finishing that track, as they tore into another unrecorded number, which boasted a sensationally tight rhythm section, bassist Steve Steward and Dugan ruling the tune. Well, except for the nice little solo Ryan got.
They were making sure they had time to play everything they could in their 31-minute set, but occasionally at time to insert some dialogue, such as at this point, when Steve held up his hand, making the “devil horns” gesture. “So, Johnny Marr is cool. Right?” Getting a roaring reaction of agreeance from those who had shown up early, then he added, “I’m not sure if the devil sign is right.” He didn’t have much time to reflect on it, though, as they bolted into another fun number, following it with another track.
“…I need that Rock ‘n’ Roll, I need that Rock ‘n’ Roll…” Ryan repeatedly sang throughout their next number, after he had made a quick guitar change, with the song being probably one of the most appropriate ones of the night. “You may have heard this next one on KXT.” Ryan informed any potential listeners of the station. “It’s “Don’t Worry, be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin he cracked. “I was going to say it was The Chain by Fleetwood Mac.” Steve chimed in. It wound up being neither, and instead was what is arguably the best track off the 2012 “Gold Yeller” EP, “The Great American Shakedown”. It’s filled with some soulful rock guitar chords, and the chorus will instantly have you singing along to it.
Sadly, that brought them to their final song of the night, which wound up being their longest, too, and worked as a fitting song to end with. “…I’m slowing down…” sang Ryan at points of this bluesy and slightly soulful number, as he Dugan and Steve, eventually trailed off on their playing, giving the impression that they were done. They weren’t quite done yet, though, coming back in strong, and finishing it out.
While their time on stage was short, they packed it full of energy, and their fun songs that sound a little like classic rock, while also incorporating some blues and soul into it all.
It may not be cutting edge, but it is pretty original music, and making it all the better is how polished their musicianship and stage show is, all of which resulted in me loving them even more this time around than I did the first time I saw them.
From Ryans’ distinct voice, to the humor he and Steven throw in from time to time, and even the faster paced, infectious songs they have, which are in part thanks to the quick beats Dugan busts out, there’s surely something about Oil Boom that will appeal to you. And out of all the local bands that could have opened this show up, these guys really deserved the spot, and I can’t imagine anyone having gotten the night off to a better start.
They have another Dallas show set for November 30th at The Prophet Bar, and check out their records in iTUNES.
Following them was singer/songwriter Meredith Sheldon, who was accompanied by another electric guitarist on stage.
“…I’m very happy to be back here for only the second time in my life.” she said after taking the stage, with “here” being the great state of Texas. She also noted she was from Massachusetts, and when she finished speaking of course one guy felt the need to comment, shouting at her, “Your hot!!”, a remark she kind of laughed at before dismissing it.
That was about all the talking she did, as they launched into a 35-minute set of continuous music, as they went from one song right into the next. They were a big departure from the acts they were sandwiched in between, being more minimal in some ways, yet they still retained a very rock element in their performance, and each could really shred on their guitars when they needed to.
They were still somewhat quieter, though, and her singing was fairly soft at times, giving what I thought was a very interesting dynamic to her songs.
In the end, I was a bit indifferent to it all. Some of the songs I really liked, others I just didn’t feel. For two people, though, they manage to put on a fairly entertaining live show.
With them off stage, the crowd couldn’t wait to see Johnny Marr, anxiously waiting for the 9:50 start time to roll around…
(I reviewed Johnny Marr’s set for On Tour Monthly. It can be found HERE.)
There are plenty of badges of honor for local North Texas bands to wear. From playing some of the more recognized venues (i.e. House of Blues), to some of the iconic Deep Ellum haunts who have hosted a plethora of well known bands over the decades, but easily the biggest honor is to get a plaque up on the Wall of Fame at the Curtain Club.
Drowning Pool did it early in their career, as did Bowling for Soup, and many other national acts who hail from the area, as well as a slew of local bands, past and present, who are highly regarded here. And now, this night, it was time for The Circle to join those ranks, having completed the requirements of having to get X amount of fans out to each consecutive show at the venue.
Opening up the night was one band that accomplished the task of getting a plaque, years ago, and that was Pistol Whippin’ Ike, who was debuting their brand new lineup this night.
Jeff Hathcock hammered down on his drum kit, launching them into “Liar”, the rest of the band quickly following suit as they ripped into their instruments. It was a little strange hearing it at the beginning of their set instead of the end, like I’m used to, but it offered one hell of a way to get the show going. It certainly got their fans pumped up, as well as attracted the attention of other onlookers, though it was the outro they added to it that wound up being my favorite part of the song. It was a killer, short instrumental piece, dominated by soaring sounds of Barry Lorberbaums’ and Jason Rutledges’ guitars, and was a nice touch to the track.
That soon gave way to another instrumental segment, setting up “Last Cigarette”. Oddly enough, Barry Townsend, who is the new bands new bass player, was pretty restrained during their first song, seeming like he was perhaps a bit nervous. If he was, he shook it off during that number, getting into the form you’re used to if you’ve seen him with his other band, jumping around and thrashing about on stage, bare footed no less. “…So The Circle is here…” said frontman Mario Cadena, after welcoming everyone to the show. He went on to say, “I’ve known them for twelve years. I was only fifteen back then.”, joking about that last part, before announcing their next song, a favorite of mine, “Pull the Trigger”. “Listen.” he commanded before the first couple of choruses, a signature move of his, and by the next time the chorus came around he asked everyone to sing along with him. The song wasn’t without a little hiccup, though, when at one point, one way or another, Townsend’s bass had gotten unplugged, a problem he quickly fixed.
“Are you having a good time?!” Mario asked as they went immediately into “Life As We Know”, the only classic PWI song of the night, with a message that is timeless. Things slowed down just slightly with “What Have I Become?”, ending with Jeff using one of his hands to point towards the sky as the song gradually trailed off. Afterwards, Mario took time to officially introduce “Number Two”, since Townsend is the second one with that name Barry in the band. “…This is his first show. Actually his first practice…” Mario joked, noting he wasn’t doing too bad. The laughs continued, too, Mario pointing out he was “Mexican”, stating, “…Everyone needs a Mexican friend…” and that he was probably the one for some of the fans.
That led them to another track from the “Dying the Dream: Part 1” album, “I Used to Dream”, and was followed by a song that will most likely be on the follow-up to that album, “Truth”, which made its live debut this night. There’s no doubt it’s a true Pistol Whippin’ Ike song, fitting their heavier rock mold perfectly, and out of all the new songs I’ve heard them do in the last few years, “Truth” is easily one of the best.
Mario made one last speech, again congratulating The Circle for the honor they would soon have bestowed upon them, as well telling the fans how they felt about them. “…Without you, we are nothing.” said Mario, pointing at everyone, as they ended their 41-minute long set with the heaviest song they’ve got, “You Should Run”, which had not only Mario letting out a throaty scream at the end, but also Jason doing some screaming in between the main lyrics.
I honestly think this was one of the best Pistol Whippin’ Ike shows I’ve seen. Is what’s most impressive, is they haven’t even done an all electric show in a little while, yet they got up there and owned the stage. Townsend fit in well with the rock outfit, finding his groove early on and seeming completely comfortable with this new band of his, and only helped push them more, doing a fair amount of interacting with Lorberbaum and Jason. Jeff even seemed to have a different aura about him, killing it on the drums, while Mario commanded the crowd even better than usual.
Probably a lot of that tightness can be attributed to their long career, and they recently celebrated the bands twelfth birthday. They may have had a several year hiatus in between when they broke up, but nevertheless, the chemistry they build in all those years is still there, and so very noticeable on stage, and it looks like Townsend is going to fit in with it perfectly.
You can catch the band again soon, on November 21st when they play the Boiler Room in Dallas, and check out their page in iTUNES, where you can buy their official studio records along with some live cuts.
The night was just starting to get going now, and the onslaught of rock continued when Honey took the stage.
They wasted no time, ripping right into the first song of their 40-minute set, “Whiplash”, as even more people made their way into the already pretty full venue to hear Honey’s raw rock sounds. It was quickly followed by another, during which drummer Vinnie E. Parma started to show off some of his moves, tossing a drum stick into the air at one point, which he failed to catch. You could tell he was a bit upset by it, but he’d redeem himself soon enough.
“I guess I can talk to you all now, it’s been a couple of songs…” said singer and rhythm guitarist Kes O’Hara, her thick Australian accent being readily apparent when she spoke, though was completely unnoticeable when she sang. She mentioned how hot it was on stage, before pulling her hat off. “It’s too hot for a hat, but now I have hat hair.” she said, putting it back on as they readied themselves for the next song. Here was where Vinnie made up for the little fumble from the previous song, at one point throwing a drum stick at just the right angle so that it bounced off one of the cymbals, back towards him before he caught it. It was quite entertaining to watch, and something he repeated a few times at various points throughout the rest of their set. And completing the rhythm section you had Holly Wood, who knocked out a sweet bass solo on that track.
They took another pause in-between songs, as Kes pointed out the exact web address to go to to find their Facebook page. “…If you just search Honey, you’ll get four million results…” she warned everyone, before eventually adding that the next song was more or less her theme song. “…Wasted on the weekend, living day to day…” she belted out in her gruffer voice on the chorus of “Wasted”, a song that was complete with a blistering guitar solo from Krishen Anthony.
Afterwards, they slowed things down ever so slightly as Kes swapped out to an acoustic guitar, then reminisced about her first trip to Texas, saying it only lasted for three weeks, and once she returned to Australia all she did was think about the US. “…So I saved for six months to move back…” she said, noting that, that was what this next song was about. Upon finishing it, they brought things back up, with a cover no less, putting their spin on Thin Lizzy’s “Bad Reputation”, doing it justice as well as leaving a mark on it. Another original, the pretty catchy “Free Ride” followed, after which Kes again thought back on Texas. “I thought Texas would be all propane and Hank Hill’s…” she said, a stereotype that pretty much the whole world has about the state. “…But then I got here and y’all were normal.” she finished, before they went into “Red Carpet”, the end of which Vinnie patched into their final song.
Before this, the only Honey show I had seen was their live debut, which was here at the Curtain back in June, and as solid as they were then, they’ve definitely tightened up since. Along with the stellar musicianship they each possess, you can also see how cohesive they are, each a vital component of the larger working unit.
It’s easy to see why Honey has taken the Dallas music scene by storm, quickly winning over hordes of fans. At one point this night, Kes mentioned The Circle and the plaque they were getting, gazing at the wall while pointing out that she’d like to have a plaque up there on day. It seems almost a sure bet that, that will happen, and that day may well be sooner rather than later.
They’ll be back at the Curtain Club on December 6th, and afterwards, you can catch them December 8th at Three Links and December 19th at Trees, both of which are in Dallas.
While they were the main band of the night, The Circle had opted for the spot before the “headline” slot, since the eleven o’clock hour time has now become the most coveted one to have. Actually, it was after 11:30 when they finally hit the stage, and there was not a soul in there who was expecting what was seen when the curtain opened…
Frontman Don Mills, guitarists Craig Nelson and Alan Sauls and bassist Kenneth Henrichs were all sporting tuxes and bow ties, while drummer Marc Berry had on a vest, as well as fedora. They were looking their best for this special night, and the audience was only allowed a second or two to actually take all that in before the sample intro for their first song, “The Other Side”, signified the start of what would be a legendary night.
“What the hell is up, Curtain Club?!” Don roared, while Craig and the rest of the group instantly moved along to the next song, “406”. “How are you doing?” he then asked, continuing chatting for a minute or so, eventually dedicating this show to every single person who was here this night. And for the record, they had the Curtain as full as I’ve seen it in a long time. They only made things more intense with “406”, and it was pretty entertaining to see four guys moving about the stage, jumping on their boxes that bore the band’s name and logo, and just flat out rocking out in tuxedos. I can honestly say I’ve never seen that before, and I doubt I will again.
Don made another dedication after that song, this time to all the other plaqued bands, whose ranks they were clearly thrilled to be joining. He even had an anecdote to share, saying that the first time he walked into the Curtain Club was in 1997, “…And I saw Chad…” he said, pointing to Chad Lovell, the current sound guy at the venue. Don went on, adding that he saw the plaque for Course of Empire, the iconic Dallas band that Chad was a part of, saying he thought to himself, “I want to be like Chad.” The stories, at least for the time being, ended there, as Don counted them in to one of three newer songs they did this night, “Save Me”. It was a great song, which I found to be ever so slightly different from most of their other tunes, in a good way, and whilst performing it, Don made a point to introduce all of his band mates.
That new one was segued into a fan favorite, “My Trip to the Desert Sucked”, which served to amp the energy level up even more, and by the time it ended, Marc stood from stool, as he wildly banged on his drum kit. They got another breather when Don introduced a friend, Don Brooks, whom he turned the mic over to. The other Don mentioned how loyal Mills has been to the music scene during his tenure, saying how proud he was of all of them for reaching this milestone accomplishment. Once he returned to the audience, they picked back up with “Beggars Can’t be Choosers”, which proved to be a little too action packed for Don, who had to walk into the stairway once the song was done to adjust his pants. “Play some porn music.” he said to the rest of the group, who instead fired up their next number. “That’s not porn music.” he said upon returning, getting back into show mode for “You Wanted This”, a pretty catchy hard rock song.
But out of all of their new tracks they played this night, it was “Monster” that took the cake in my opinion, segueing almost seamlessly into it from the previous one. It had a super slick and polished sound, and at the end Kenneth let loose some wicked bass riffs by running his finger across one of the strings, all the way up the neck of the guitar. The song wasn’t without its faults, though, due entirely to some technical difficulties that suddenly arose, when the main microphone cut out, making it impossible to hear Don for about an entire verse, if not even a little longer.
“When they measure you for a tux, let it go one size down.” remarked Don, before they cranked out what’s easily their most emotionally filled song, “Failure”. Another track from their debut “Who I Am” EP came next, “I Am”. All five of them where in perfect synch with one another after the second chorus, during a short instrumental breakdown, as Craig, Alan, Kenneth and Don all started banging their heads in time with the beats Marc was churning out.
Only one song was left at that point, and Don put it best by saying it was “…The song that brought us all here.” It was the first single they recorded, and the one that every single one of their fans loves, “Sleep On it”, which ended their 42-minute long set, and nearly finished Don’s voice off, which had started fading just during those last couple of songs.
It wasn’t over quite yet, though, because they still had to get their plaque, and it wasn’t presented in just the typical, standard way.
Darth Vader’s theme song from the Star Wars film began to play, as the Storm Troopers and a few other characters from the movies made their way on stage. If you’ve been in Deep Ellum before, you’ve no doubt seen them walking around some time or another, and after being presented with their plaque, Don said he had also wanted to do something that had not been done before, and that was have an already plaqued band present them with theirs. That was the cue for one of the Storm Troopers, who was a member of the band Rivethead, to remove his helmet and say a few words. It was Robert Miguel who first brought their plaque on stage, though, handing it to the members of The Circle, leading to a lengthy photo session, where they held it for several minutes, allowing everyone to snap a picture or two with their phones. They weren’t quite done yet after all that, though…
Back in July when they did their CD release show here, The Circle pulled out a classic from one of the best metal bands to come out of Dallas, and they were doing it again, now, covering Drowning Pool’s, “Tear Away”. It feature an all-star collection of musicians, too, with JC of the Tyler based outfit The Truman Syndrome joining them onstage, and doing most of the lead singing. Don also asked Ryan Ray of Adakain to join them, while Xtina and a few other members of Solice, and even Jules from Enamored and Paris Pipkin of Last Day Living got on stage, giving a real sense of community and family to the song.
At one point during their show, Don noted that with this show, they had wanted to set the standard for all other plaque shows to come, and while I have my doubts that, that standard will actually be met by other bands, they did achieve their goal.
A plaque on that wall is something every Dallas and even North Texas musician dreams of, and it’s something only a select few will actually obtain. That said, many of the other bands whose plaque shows I have seen, the importance of the event has seemed a bit lost on them, giving off more of a, “Hey, that’s cool” vibe. Whereas The Circle fully recognized it as the privilege it is, going all out, not just in their attire, but in their performance, making it the best show of theirs that I’ve seen.
In the end, it was a fitting final show of the year for them, closing out what has been a busy year for them, and saw them hit two huge milestones (release of their debut EP and this plaque), leaving you to wonder what 2014 will hold for them. Only time will tell, but here’s to hoping it’s an even better year than this one was.
First up, I want to say one last “congratulations” to The Circle, and if you don’t yet have their “Who I Am” EP, check it out in iTUNES.
To some, the party may have been over with that, as the masses cleared out, most of whom probably had no idea what they would be missing out on by skipping Alterflesh.
The band hit the stage late, nearly one in the morning, seeming unaffected by the late slot, still doing a whopping 54-minute long set.
Frontman Dayvoh, who was acting as the rhythm guitarist for these first few songs, greeted everyone with his normal statement, making you expect something different right from the get go. “…How strange we are even here.” he remarked to his “brothers and sisters”, after mentioning the vastness of the universe, as that led them into “Megahub”. The song was only enhanced by Dayvoh’s unique look, one he didn’t (entirely) have the last time I saw them. He was without a shirt this night, his torso up to his bald head covered in small blue hexagons, giving him an otherworldly look, pulling off with ease what he’s going for, and that is evoking the image of a shaman. “We’re gonna bring you another story…” Dayvoh announced as soon as they finished that song, bassist Paul Kubajak laying down the heavy and sweet bass licks that begin “So Much More”. “…Maybe you had too much too fast…” Dayvoh sang at one point in the song, which is just one example of the depth Alterflesh’s songs have, even being thought provoking at times.
“…The force is with us…” Dayvoh stated as a few of the Storm Troopers walked on the stage, dancing around while drummer Kevin Mills, lead guitarist Ben Schelin and the rest threw down on “Toxic”. Dayvoh took a break from his guitar after that, as they were joined by a guest, Don Mills. Even after his band’s set, he still had enough energy for one more, and he and Dayvoh co-sang a track titled “Believe In”, making it a highlight song of their set. Afterwards, the two singers had some fun, coming across as the perfect comedic duo, cracking a few jokes at times. The biggest laugh came after Don again said they had wanted to set the standard for all future plaque shows, while Dayvoh reached into the drawer of the desk that was on stage (they decorate the stage with al sorts of things, from statues of Buddha to paintings, etc.) He pulled out a wad of one dollar bills, making it rain as he tossed them out at the fans, who frantically picked up all they could.
Don then exited the stage, while Dayvoh set up their next song. “…This is a social rant.” he said, adding, “Keep up with the lyrics.” speaking of “Watch Rome Burn”. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and if you can keep up with the words that he so quickly spits out, you may take something away from it. For example on the bridge when Dayvoh sings, “…Just because they will say it is wrong does not mean you should leave it alone…” Is what’s really remarkable, is how the song still applies to the current culture, given its age, as after the song Dayvoh noted he had first performed that at another Deep Ellum club back in ’96, as a spoken word artist.
He put his axe to use one more time for “Embers”, sitting it back down once the song was over. “For an alternative band, this is as close as we get to country.” For the record, “Imaginary Chains” is far from country, but it’s slow enough at the start that the notes Ben plays maybe, possible could sound similar to something country. Either way, it got a nice laugh from the crowd.
“Here’s something everyone can relate to.” Dayvoh remarked, before they started “Start Over”, which had a pleasant little surprise. Evidently, they weren’t done with their guest singers, and shortly into the song a female voice could be heard, as Xtina of Solice, who already had a microphone in hand, made her way from the audience up to the stage, adding a beautiful layer to the song. Upon finishing it, they stepped tings back up with one of their newer songs, and one that is quickly becoming my favorite Alterflesh track. There’s just something about “Into the Sun”. It’s heavier than the rest of their material, and lyrically speaking, it comes across as being their most transcendental song in my opinion.
They had taken their show nearly as late as they could, the night nearing the clubs 2 A.M. closing time when they started the final song of their 54-minute long set, “New Horizon”. While Kevin and Ben gradually built up the song, Dayvoh outstretched his arms, then slowly moved them towards his chest, placing his palms against one another, appearing to pray.
That song capped off their show well, and the same thing could be said about Alterflesh as far as closing out this night, the messages their music carries with it offering the audience a certain existential feeling.
Along with all that, they put on just as serious a rock show as any of the bands that played before them, filling it with energy, and leaving it all on the stage.
Their next show is scheduled to be on December 6th at the Boiler Room in Dallas, and it’ll be well worth seeing.
In the end, this was quite the night. Probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen here at the Curtain, and that’s saying something. From the lineup, to the performances, everything was outstanding. That said, Don and Dayvoh deserve one last kudos for putting together, having been working on this night since July. In the end, their time and effort was more than noticeable.
Trees (Dallas, TX)
- Words by Jordan Buford -
In the first three years, most bands are still cutting their teeth, working on building their fan base and starting to hit the road to other areas in their home state, and even surrounding states.
It’s hard to believe, but it had already been almost six months since Spooky Folk performed their Farewell for Now show, giving their hometown of Denton one last show to savor before singer Kaleo Kaualoku moved to Colorado. It was made clear they were just going on a hiatus, though, not breaking up, and would be doing shows whenever he could make it back.
Like this night for instance, where Dan’s Silver Leaf was again serving as the setting for their gig, and a well attended one at that.
The range in music styles was pretty eclectic this night, beginning with Peopleodeon, who did a short 18-minute long set.
The quintet was very electronic based, with the only live instrument being the drums. Though there are an electronic act or two that I do like, for the most, I’m not a fan of the genre. It wasn’t just that, though. Their singers voice was very soft, easily being overpowered by the music, nor did she have much of a stage presence, standing with her hands in her pockets as she sang into the microphone.
Needless to say, they didn’t win me over as a fan, and I’m glad they didn’t get too much time on stage.
It didn’t take long for them to clear off and Pageantry to set up their gear, getting the night going in more of a rock direction when they took the stage shortly before eleven.
Their final Denton show of 2013 was comprised mostly of newer or non-album tracks, such as their opener, which did a great job of setting up the dreamy rock landscapes their music takes you through. As the song came to an end, singer and guitarist Roy Robertson transitioned them into their next song with some hypnotic guitar notes. The title track of their debut EP, “Friends of the Year”, is an engrossing one, then, after quickly informing the audience of who they were, they got back to work with another tune.
Drummer Ramon Muzquiz segued it into the following song with some hefty drum beats, while a a loud mix of the drums, guitar and Pablo Burrulls’ bass wound them into the next song, “Disaster”. The very rhythmic track was a highlight of their set, as was the song that came afterwards. “I just want to crawl all over you…” Roy sang at the start as well as on the chorus, which is quite infectious.
Before that one, Roy had remarked that this would be their last Denton show of the year, noting they would be taking a little time off from performing, and now, as their 39-minute long set neared the end, they took another break as he pointed out their merch table set up in the corner. “…We have shirts for boobed and no boobed people.” he said. I’ve never heard men’s and women’s shirts described that way, and it was quite funny. He then announced the name of their final song for the night, which was “Caution”.
Their time on stage seemed to pass all too quickly, and I only wish they had, had a little more time so perhaps they could have done the other two tracks from their EP.
It was still a great show, though, and I think it’s safe to say Pageantry is one of the more original bands that resides in North Texas.
Roy is an excellent song writer and story teller, which is readily apparent, while the music has dashes of pop thrown in, giving it a bit of a glossy sound, but not enough to undermine the rock elements, which comes first.
Check out “Friend of the Year” on their Bandcamp page, and just keep an eye on their FACEBOOK PAGE for more updates on them. They did a little tour a few months back, and released that EP earlier in the year, so it seems safe to say that 2014 will be an even bigger year for Pageantry.
The crowd had enjoyed both of the opening acts, but it was Spooky Folk who everyone was most excited about. As I said, it was May when they last played in Texas, while they performed at a music festival in Denver back in July, and they were greeted with open arms, packing out about three fourths of Dan’s Silver Leaf, with some people even standing out on the back patio trying to glimpse in at the stage.
Songs from their debut self-titled record as well as the upcoming “Youth is a Notion” were in play this night, and they started with a series of newer songs, drummer Chris Brown knocking out some powerful beats to kick off their opener. I’m sure I had heard it before, though I didn’t remember it, but it really stood out to me this night, and I’m already betting it’ll be one of my favorite cuts from the new album.
“I Believe”, which boasts a riveting ebb and flow, having some sweeter spots along with sections you could rock out to, seemed to get them into the full swing of things, as well as garnering the full attention of everyone. While the final notes from Petra Kellys’ violin, along with the other instruments, trailed off, singer and rhythm guitarist Kaleo Kaualoku began plucking the strings of his guitar, leading them into “Notion”. “Youth is a notion that is crooked as crime. Death lies in waiting in these shadows of mine…” Kaleo sang at the start of the track, which is just another one of their songs that deals with real life themes.
“So what’s been going on these last few months?” Kaleo asked the collection of friends and fans, who were clearly glad to have him back, even if it was just for a few days, answering the question with cheers and applause. He continued chatting with everyone, eventually mentioning their new record. “…It’s finally done.” he said, adding it should be available in the next month or so. When he ran out of stuff to say for the moment, he asked Petra to take over for him. “Kaleo abandoned us for Denver!” she exclaimed, giving him a hard time about the move. “It’s only a twelve hour drive.” he said, to which she corrected, saying, “More like fourteen.” “It’s only an hour and forty-five minute plane ride.” he replied.
Aside from some tuning that was going on, guitarist Jesse Clay Perry had moved over to stage right, where he now clutched Scarlett Wrights’ bass, while she had picked up her melodica. You could feel how anxious everyone was getting about hearing one of the fan favorite songs, but instead of jumping right into it, they eased in with a serene violin intro, mixed with some soft guitar notes. It was a delightful intro to “Resurrect!”, almost as good as the song itself.
Everyone was on a high from that song, and after another new one, Scarlett pounded out some thick bass lines, a little unrecognizable at first, but eventually becoming clear it was leading them into “This Sleep”. “It’s good to be back in Denton for a few days.” Kaleo stated after finishing the song, as they geared up for another classic. The crowd was ecstatic when they heard them rip into “Polaroid”, most of whom sang along to every word, appreciating something that before was probably taken for granted a bit, back when Spooky Folk would (and could) do multiple shows a month.
“If you can hear me, clap once.” Petra told the audience during another break, having fun with them by adding, “I said once.” after dozens of people had clapped their hands together. During the lighthearted moment, Scarlett exited the stage, while Chris and Jesse got more out of side, as Kaleo and Petra did softer track from the new record, and one she was quick to point out was her favorite. That pretty song was followed by another new one, requiring the full band like just about every other song of theirs, and it was a pretty lengthy one at that. It was a truly fantastic number, completely captivating me. It was balanced out by the shortest song they could have done, and it was done with the full-band, verses as a duo like the last time they played Dan’s. The song was “Diddle”, and the bass, drums and extra guitar made it even more moving, while Jesse and Scarlett sang along with Kaleo and Petra at the end, “…Looking for love in all the wrong places seems to be common these days…”
It trailed off, giving way to the gradual rise of “Kicking and Screaming”, one of two newer songs that became a hit about as quickly as it was worked into their live show, and they prepared to end things with the other. Kaleo pointed out that the next song was the last one of the night, which had to have put a little doubt in everyone’s mind, especially when it was revealed to be “Disheveled”. Nothing against the song, which is quite possibly the strongest in their arsenal, allowing Jesse to shred on his axe, while Kaleo adopts a whole different demeanor as he belts out the chorus. It ended exceptionally, with the entire band chanting, “Oooh” over and over, which would have been a perfect way to cap the show off, except for the fact that it wasn’t the one song everybody was wanting to hear.
“We’re gonna cut all the bullshit…” Kaleo declared after the applause subsided, adding that everyone knew they were going to do one more song, and they didn’t drag things out by having the crowd beg for an encore that clearly would have been coming. Instead, they dove right into “Bible Belt”, which is typically a sing along, and it was a massive one this night, much of the crowd singing along to the chorus, “I was born on the bible belt. Give me something sharp so I can kill myself, ‘cause I can’t go on living this way…”, ending their 53-minute long set perfectly.
It wasn’t as epic a show as they had done back in May, when they did two full sets, playing their first record in its entirety, as well as much of the sophomore release plus some covers, but it was still a memorable one. They hit all of the highlight tracks from “Spooky Folk” and then some, and they were well placed around all the new material.
What was surprising was how in tune they still were with one another. I’m sure they did some rehearsing for this show, but you still have to consider the fact that they hadn’t been on stage with one another in about four months, yet you never would have guessed it. The chemistry and tightness was still there, and it was impressive.
It’ll probably be some time before Kaleo gets back here in order for Spooky Folk to do another show, but at least the fans will soon have a new record to help hold them over to whenever the next show may be.
And until that record is released (which would assumingly be December at this point), check out their first one on their BANDCAMP PAGE.
But as great as the bands were, and as fun as the show was, the best thing about this night was that there was no sadness about it, like the farewell for now show. The mood was more festive this night, from the fans and band members alike, who were just happy to be seeing the band again, while Jesse, Petra, Chris, Scarlett and Kaleo were glad to be playing those songs live once more
It had been a little while since Serosia had done a hometown gig. Nearly two months to be exact, shortly before they hit the road as the main support act for Sevendust on a portion of their tour.
It was by far the biggest accomplishment Serosia has achieved yet, And now, after a few weeks back home to recoup, they were ready to perform an official homecoming show.
That was only made into more of a celebration thanks to Reno’s Chop Shop who was hosting and had put together quite the local rock show, making it the spot to be this Halloween night.
Gray-V got the night going, and by the time I got there (around 9), 5 Billion and Counting was finishing up a sound check.
The metal band was in the Halloween spirit, and got their show off to a fun start by doing the theme song to the Addams Family. It was certainly unlike any version I had heard before, with drummer Grant Bugg giving it a full percussion effect, while Jordan Robison made the rhythm section more dominating with some hefty bass lines.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and after that quick little song, they got into their original material, doing one aggressive and loud number, before slowing things down for a minute with “The (Real) Reason”, displaying what a good singing voice frontman Jason Wood has, doing a mix of singing and screaming on it. “This is one percent.” he stated before they began another track from their self-titled record, “1%”.
Things got much more intense with that one, and it was kept up with their next song, after which they took a break. Jason thanked the other bands and Reno’s for putting on the show, as well as urging people to check out their merch table, while guitarist Hector Delgado removed the devilish looking wolf mask he had been sporting. “…We’re not begging for your money, but we need your fucking money.” Grant chimed in, continuing on the topic of buying merch.
They knocked out a couple more songs, before ending with the deafening, “Reality”.
I should first note that 5 Billion and Counting’s music is far heavier than what I like, so I wouldn’t call myself a fan of theirs or anything. That said, I did enjoy this show more than when I saw them a few months back.
Jason’s screaming may be a little too much for me at times, but it’s balanced out pretty well with some slower parts, just enough that they managed to hold my interest. And they can definitely throw down on stage.
If you do like heavier rock/metal music, check out their record in iTUNES.
Following them, you had Secret of Boris, and all four members of the band were in full costume.
They were dressed as zombie cowboys, complete with cowboy hats and bloody bullet holes on their faces and necks, while frontman Cameron Taylor even wore some contacts that gave his eyes more of a dead look.
That said, it was fitting that they made their entrance on stage with the theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” playing.
Once the song (and fanfare) had subsided, drummer Ryan Scherschell counted them into their opening track, as Ryan Ragus slapped out the opening bass riff of “How Do You Feel?” The infectious song had nearly everyone moving around, as well as singing once Cameron sang the first line, “Sheltered little girl on the run, fast as she can and far away from…”
It worked well as the opener this night, especially given how they had some in making their entrance on stage, rather than just going directly into the show. They of course received some applause for their efforts, though it was soon drowned out by the mix of the sample track and drums that begin “Desert Blood”. It may have gotten worked out of their live show for a while, but I’m glad it has found its way back, not just because it’s a favorite of mine, but I really do think it’s one of the best songs they do live, packed full of raw energy.
Another gem of their live shows is “What You Became”, during which Cameron got everyone to raise their hand in the air and wave it from side to side on the bridge, “…It’s true we like you better when you fail…” Another sample track then bridged it seamlessly into their next song, allowing Cameron enough time to get his rhythm guitar ready. The track sounded just enough like the song it was setting up to identify it to any SOB fans, and soon they tore into one of the singles from the “Your Ghost” record, “The Watcher”.
They took a little break to get ready for the next song, during which Cameron bantered with the crowd (who had packed the smaller room), saying earlier in the night he had walked into a convince store in his costume. “…Why are you dressed up like that?” he said one of the employ’s asked him, “And I was like, “What do you mean?” he said, getting a laugh once people caught the joke. He then turned the conversation towards the new material they’ve been working on in their rehearsal space. He had to ask a couple times, but eventually got a loud response of people who wanted to hear one of the ones, as Ragus asked him which one it was. “It’s the one you don’t know.” Cameron replied.
It was a different new one than they had done just a few weeks before, titled “Make It Out”, and it was a beast of a rock song, being more along the lines of “Desert Blood” or “What Have You Done?”, at least in regards to how powerful it was, and it may well be my new favorite SOB song. “I’m gonna need your help on this next one.” Cameron informed everyone before they started their fun and delightful rendition of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”.
That was the lone cover they did this night, and they returned to their stuff with the slightly dark, emotion filled, “Falldown”. As it neared the end, they were joined by an old familiar face, as Taylor Walding rushed on stage, adding an additional guitar to the sounds Ryan Byrd was already cranking out. It’s been around a year since he left Secret of Boris, though the moves weren’t lost him, thrashing around as he always had, as if he had never even left.
Another sample track segued them into the next tune, while Cameron pointed out his old band member, before saying their final song for the night would be, what else, but “Virus”. It was performed with the band as a five-piece, giving it an extra layer that the song doesn’t necessarily need, though it was noticeable, and made the song even more incredible than usual.
Taylor quickly exited the stage, while Byrd began to put down his guitar, making the show seem like it really was over, and leaving me thinking, “I can’t believe they’re not doing Retro.” Well, they weren’t about to ignore that staple song.
Some of the crowd had already started for the patio area, but most were pulled back in when they heard the start of the song, while Cameron grinned. “Do y’all want to hear one more?” he asked. It had been quite awhile since I heard them end a show with that song, and it was nice to see it back as the closer, wrapping up their 38-minute long set. It also featured one more brief appearance from Taylor, who sang some backing vocals on the bridge, “Repackage, reissue. Re-track, remix, continue.”
Secret of Boris made sure their Halloween show was memorable one, chocked full of energy as it always is, and the costumes served to only make it more fun for everyone.
There’s no doubt they’re one of the more original sounding bands in the D/FW music scene, from the unique brand of rock they produce to the, to the very distinguishable voice that Cameron possess. And if the rest of their new material is as great as the songs I’ve heard so far, then their next record will outdo everything they done before.
You can get some FREE song downloads on their REVERBNATION PAGE, and if you dig it, check out “Your Ghost” in iTUNES.
By the time Serosia was all set up, it was around 11:20. Still kinda earlier, giving them ample time to run through what was nearly an hour long set.
Drummer Anthony D’Agata, bassist Joseph Kuban and guitarist Derek Troxell got their show going with a brief instrumental portion, acting as a prelude to “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars”, which Derek soon launched them into. As always, it was one hell of a way to start things off, and they were only just getting warmed up and starting to build their momentum for the night. “What you say, Reno’s?” roared frontman Lucas D’Agata, receiving some loud cheers, while his band mates wound things into the next song, “Friendly Fire”.
The fans were getting warmed up, too, doing some jumping at the start of that heavy song, as instructed by Lucas, pumping them up for the moshing that would come later. The hard rock, and at times somewhat melodic “Criminal” followed, and upon finishing it, Lucas addressed their costumes for the night. “…Oh yeah, were three of the dead presidents and a chicken…” he said, as he, his brother and Derek each had their faces painted white with some black around their eyes, resembling skeletons, while Joseph was in a full chicken suit. “It was the brainchild of him.” Lucas added, pointing at Joseph. He went on to say how good it was to be back home after their stint on the road with Sevendust, after which they tackled another song.
“This is The Architect.” Lucas announced, as they churned out another song from last year’s “Variables” EP, and album they would play in its entirety by the time the night was over. “Change your mind today…” the audience sang in the final minute of the song, when Lucas suddenly stopped singing, while Derek lightly strummed the strings of his axe.
They bridged the end of it into their next song, but first Lucas shared something else from their tour. “…I told everyone on the road, “This is how we do it in Dallas.” he said, referring to their explosive live show, before he belted out the first line of their newest song, “Reduced to Memory”. They next took things down a few notches (at least at times), with the not often heard “A White Lie, A Red Herring”, though it’s a favorite of mine from their latest EP. A few fans began clapping to the beat at the start, prompting others to get involved, until just about everyone was doing it. “…I don’t mind that…” said Lucas, encouraging everyone to keep it up.
By this time in the set, the face paint had started to disappear from the sweat they had worked up, and also fading was Lucas’s voice. He pointed out he had gotten a bit sick, but so far (and oddly enough) his weakening voice was only noticeable when he was speaking, but sounded just fine when he sang. Even on “Ventriloquist”, which is possibly the heaviest song they do, with Lucas doing a great deal of screaming, his voice sounded fine. Speaking of that song, it had the tightest ending I think I’ve ever seen it have, Anthony, Derek, Joseph and Lucas all being in flawless synch with one another as they thrashed about.
Lucas then had a question for everyone. “Do y’all want to see Derek sing?!” he asked the audience, his voice cracking even more now, as “Ventriloquist” had clearly taken a toll on his vocal chords. “…These people paid good money to hear you sing.” Lucas told Derek, who was acting like he didn’t want to, before handing his guitar over to Lucas. Lucas then introduced their stage manager, Jim Shires. “…He lost his stage fright while we were on tour.” stated Lucas.
Jim and Derek shared vocal duties on a cover song they busted out, both doing some vicious screaming, while Lucas was doing a good job at shredding on the guitar. It was a fun way to break things up, and showcase a different side of Serosia that you never see, and once they reverted back to their typical places, they knocked out the at times beautiful track, “Sway”.
They were almost done now, and after pointing out that they only had one more song left, he chatted with his band mates briefly. “…Anthony really wants to do this song.” he told everyone. Throughout the night, one of their fans had been requesting “The Room”, which Lucas would brush off, at one point saying, “Yeah, the room’s packed.” Well, now he got his wish, as they barreled through that classic from their debut album, “The Current State of Being”, appeasing all the longtime Serosia fans, as well as many of the newer ones.
Now there really was just one song left, and while I thought Lucas’s voice had held up very well thus far, it was reaching the end of its rope. He even joked about it, saying, “…This might suck, but it’ll be the best fucking suck you’ve heard.” To be completely honest, no, it wasn’t the best I’ve heard “Superposition” sound, but it was far from sucking, either, and even if it had, I have a feeling that their rabid fan base wouldn’t have cared much. Before starting the sing along portion of the song, Lucas said they had done it every night they were on tour. “…And every night, it got louder and louder.” he said. “But I told everyone, “Dallas, Texas is the loudest.” So prove me right.” he finished, before the fans shouted, “I feel a war!” back at the band a few times.
In the end, he said their hometown crowd was the loudest, and rocking song, which allowed all of their fans who were there to express their sheer love for the band, was a nice way to conclude their 52-minute long set.
From my perspective, this felt like the perfect homecoming show for Serosia, and even on a Thursday night their fans had come out in droves to support them and welcome them back from their national tour.
Speaking of the tour, you could tell it paid off for the band. They’re known for their incredibly tight and calculated live performances, easily outdoing even some nationally known bands, but they of course don’t play night after night when they’re home in Dallas. And that rigorous touring they had done helped them elevate their live show to an even higher level, and if you thought they were a well-oiled machine before, well, you should see them now.
Your next chance to see them will be on November 17th at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, where they’ll be opening for He Is Legend. And check out their music in iTUNES, and on their store in REVERBNATION.
It was an excellent Halloween, and I can’t think of any better way to have spent then by seeing some awesome local bands
This night turned out to be far less ideal than expected, at least in terms of the weather, when the rain began pouring from the clouds in the suburbs north of Dallas, as they gradually made their way to the city itself.
It suddenly turned into the perfect night to stay in the warm confines of a house, but Texas Music Live (which is part of Texas Music Magazine) had put together a little Texas tour of three Austin based acts, one of whom was Quiet Company. It had been five months since I had last seen them, and it was going to take a little more than heavy rain to keep me away from the show, which was stopping at the big room of The Prophet Bar on its fourth night.
Luke Huch was the opening act, though it was a full band performance, and one I missed just about all of, because they evidently got off to a very early start.
The first band who was on this tour was The Reynolds Number, didn’t waste time getting their gear set up, and after a quick sound check, they were ready to go.
“…We drove a long way to be here…” joked singer and pianist Om Shankar, noting it was all of about a three hour drive. He went on to encourage everyone to get closer to the stage, saying something to the effect of wanting to hang out with everybody, though the way he phrased it he should have said “hung”, leading to a humorous as he pondered on the past and present tenses of the word.
It’s always good to start with a joke, even if it’s one that happens unintentionally, and they then started their first song, the lead track from their newly released self-titled record, “Follow You”. It was clear from the get go that their set was going to be something to soak in, their catchy brand of piano driven rock immediately captivating you, while Om started the first line of the song, “In this town where we sleep and our bodies come to rest, someday it all will end…”.
There weren’t too many people there, but they had seemed to capture the interest of most who were there, and as the quintet wound things into their next track, they slowed it down, as Om mentioned this was their first time to play Dallas, looking at bassist Gabriel Elpers and guitarist Josh Atkins for confirmation on that. “What was that place we ate at?” he asked them, before remembering it was the Angry Dog, a staple restaurant in the Deep Ellum area, and one he seemed to have enjoyed.
They then moved on to the subsequent song on their new record, “Awake”, which eventually bled in to one of, if not the best song they did this night, “Cover Your Bones”. That latter song just had a different quality to it than the others, at least in the live environment, even having a strong sense of urgency to it at times, in a very good way.
Along with the current music, The Reynolds Number also threw in a couple of new songs they’ve written, one of which was “How Quick”, and it was another standout. “This one’s brand new. No one’s ever heard it, not even us.” Om joked before starting it.
Their show hit a well placed lull after that, guitarists Colin Campbell and Josh, as well as Gabriel and drummer Mack Arnos getting a little break for the majority of the piano based, “Prophet”. They sprang back into action afterwards, though, segueing the song right into the slightly poppy, “All Fall Down”. They knocked out one more new one, I believe it was titled “Diamond Days”, and upon finishing it Om pointed out their merch table at the back. “…It’s next to Quiet Company’s beautiful display… They took arts and crafts in school, and we didn’t…” he added, before Gabriel shook his head, saying, “I did.”
As their 38-minute long set neared its end, things got a little personal when Om stated this next song was about he and his dad going camping when he was younger, at least that was what he said to set up “Down to the Riverbed”. Their final song was another brilliant one, and best of all was the help they enlisted towards the end of it, when a few of the members of Quiet Company joined them on stage, adding some extra percussion to the song via some toms. Making it all the more entertaining was the fact that Matt Parmenter was wearing a Darth Vader mask.
They somehow managed to liven things up even more than what The Reynolds Number already had, making that song the perfect one to close with, and they even got a portion of the audience to chant along with part of the song.
I’ll admit, I’m not usually a fan of rock bands that rely so heavily on a piano, mainly because I feel it was overdone in years past when that was the “phase” in much of the mainstream music. That said, The Reynolds Number was different than most other bands in that category.
There was nothing about them that was generic, and they even put a bit of an interesting spin on their rock songs. They made me a fan with ease, from the well-crafted songs, which incorporated all of the instruments quite well, to Oms’ rather angelic sounding voice. Well, that, and also the energy Josh, Colin, Mack and Gabriel put on, all of whom could throw down and rock out.
They were just one of the bands of the night who has talent that, in a just world, will one day have them performing in a much bigger venue (and to a lot more people) than where they were this night. And hopefully that’ll happen one day.
In the meantime, you can purchase their music over on their BANDCAMP PAGE or in iTUNES. You can even download a live cut of one of their songs for FREE on the Bandcamp site. And for future show updates, keep an eye on their FACEBOOK PAGE.
They definitely got the ball rolling on this night of music, and if I hadn’t already been all too familiar with Quiet Company, I would have thought it was next to impossible for The Reynolds Number to be topped.
“…This spaced out stuff isn’t going to work…” Taylor Muse informed the audience once the sound check was complete. He urged everyone to gather in around the stage, saying, “Or I’ll punch you all in the gut…”, if they didn’t, to which a fan of theirs could be heard remarking, “He’ll do it.”
Things looked slightly different from what they had at the past Quiet Company shows I’ve seen, mainly because of the acoustic guitar Taylor was using. It did look foreign compared to what I’m used to, though it was a crucial part of their first song, which was either a cover or one of the few new ones they tried out this night. That was the only time that acoustic got used this night, though, and while he switched out to an electric, Matt Parmenter, who was apparently getting into the Halloween spirit a little early, donned his Darth Vader helmet. The funny thing was before they began their show the actual helmet part got detached from face mask part, and without the helmet, it did look a little strange.
“Tell a joke!” someone shouted before they were able to get the next song going. “…I used to tell jokes on stage… But then everyone else banned me from it…” replied Taylor, still managing to crack a joke. The sample track for “It’s Better to Spend Money Like There’s No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There’s No Money” then faded in, bringing with it its signature infectiously happy mood, and it’s one song that really provokes the urge to dance. During the break in the song, when guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Blank is doing his melodic solo, Taylor made things a little more fun. “…National songwriting treasure…” was the set of words he used to describe Will Smith, before busting out a portion of the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. That unexpected song within a song had much of the crowd singing along, sort of laughing while doing so, and I must say, Taylor could actually rap rather well. In all, it only lasted for a few lines, before they closed out their song, Taylor singing/screaming, “…We all end up… in the cemetery.”
Next up, they had a new song for everyone. “…You better enjoy them, or I’ll punch ya in the gut.” was another idle threat Taylor made. It was a good little song, being a bit different from most of the stuff from 2010’s “We Are All Where We Belong”, even sounding kinda slow at times. It was enjoyable, though, particularly the keyboard intro that Cody Ackors was in charge of at the start.
“I’d kill… At least a drifter for some water.” Taylor remarked after the applause had subsided, bantering with the audience a little longer before they launched into their next song. The drum stick he was clutching was a sign as to what it would be, using it to play his guitar for part of what is arguably one of the deepest songs you’ll find on “WAAWWB”, “Everything Louder Than Everything Else”. The fans were clearly feeling the songs passion, too, as most sang along to every word. They were also singing along to “You, Me, and the Boatman”, which they went directly into, drummer Jeff Weathers patching them into it with the steady beat of the songs verse.
Taylor suddenly ceased singing on one line, leaving the fans to weakly, yet audibly chant, “…Everybody knows what it looks like to be in love…”. They kept the string of songs going by transitioning into some soft percussion, Cody switching from his trombone to the additional tom, striking the rim of it, while Matt, Thomas and Taylor all clapped along to Jeff’s beats, getting the audience to do the same. Everyone seemed pleased to hear “On Modern Men”, another moving song with some powerful lyrics, and since I had last seen them, they had tweaked the outro a bit. Taylor got a solo of sorts, leaning over while his guitar hung in the air as he shredded on it, progressively getting faster, before his band mates matched the intensity as they brought it to a spectacular end.
They took a break after finishing it, and Taylor gave the obligatory merch speech all bands have to make, though it was different from most that I’ve heard before. He went into a lengthy conversation about how buying one shirt is the equivalent of four thousand and something plays on Spotify, joking that no matter how much you liked a song, after a few hundred listens you’d be pretty tired of it. “…So isn’t it just easier to buy a shirt?” he asked, also mentioning at one point that he was talking just to catch his breath.
They knocked out one more new one, a fairly fast paced tune that was Quiet Company at their best (or at least another example of it), with one of the lines being, “…My heart is pumping dust…”. As the music trailed off, Cody again took to the tom, while the rest of the band played some soft, and at times soupy notes, creating a truly perfect segue. The thing was, while I had an idea as to what the song was, until they switched gears and Taylor strummed his guitar, giving shape to “Preaching to the Choir Invisible, Part I (What do You Think Happens When We Die?)”. The fans again took part in clapping to the beat during the first section of the song, until it picked up.
It’s a wonderful note to end on, somewhat repeating what is essentially the mantra from the record, “We are all where we belong.”, and during the final minute of their 47-minute long set, Taylor grabbed the microphone stand, holding it above everyone’s heads, leaving the crowd to croon, “Ooooooh.” repeatedly.
That’s one of the best things about Quiet Company, they make sure the fans are a part of the show, not just spectators to the event.
Aside from that, it’s the more unique style of rock music they play (how many rock bands have you seen that use a trombone?), mixed with the honest, bone cutting lyrics. And then you have the fact that their live show is one of the most explosive and dynamic ones you can see, and they all leave everything out on the stage.
There’s a reason why within the past year they decided to become a full-time touring band, and if you see them, you’ll understand it.
Depending on your preference, you can buy their music on either iTUNES or BANDCAMP, and on their Bandcamp store you can even download a little sampler for FREE.
Rounding out the night was the longtime running Austin band Alpha Rev. They have a pretty dedicated fan base around here, and even elsewhere, but when I’ve listened to their music in the past, I was never won over as a fan, and I was curious as to if their live show might do the trick.
The band descended from the staircase around 11:25, taking their spots, as they prepared to start their 64-minute long set.
It was “Bloom” (which was released earlier in the year) that seemed to be the main focus of their set this night, and four of the five members, singer and acoustic guitarist Casey McPherson, keyboard player Jeff Bryant, drummer Clint Simmons and bassist Nick Jay all crooned into their respective mics, stretching out the intro of “Crystal Colorado”… A little too long if you ask me.
Once they finished it, Jeff slid over to the pedal steel guitar, while Casey took over the keys for “Highways”, before switching back to the acoustic axe near the end, as it got a little more catchy than it had been. They kept on moving through their setlist, doing a couple of other songs before getting to “Stop Trying”. “…This song’s about wanting to give up…” Casey informed the crowd, joking that he got pretty creative with the title.
“I Will Come” created more of an ominous, and even dark mood, before casting some light on with “New Morning”. Afterwards, they were joined on stage by Taylor Muse, who again had his acoustic guitar in hand. “Quiet Company!” Casey shouted, wanting to get some applause for them. “Actually, my name’s Taylor. Not Quiet Company.” Taylor clarified. They co-sang a song, and it was a cover I don’t imagine anyone would have thought they would do, since it was first done by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Taylor sang the first verse of “Islands in the Stream”, with Casey handling the second, before they turned it into more of a duet. It was mostly acoustic at first, too, and was truly beautiful, easily the most gorgeous song that any band did this night, and that held true even when guitarist Zak Loy and the rest of the band joined in on the song.
Taylor exited the stage after that song, though “Sing Loud” continued the beautiful, tranquil mood that cover had established, before winding things down with another number. As they prepared to end their show, Casey again took a seat behind the keys, while Jeff went back to the pedal steel guitar. “…This is about a letter written during the Civil War…” said Casey, adding this was one of his favorite songs to do. And while he was saying all that, Zak was exchanging his guitar for a mandolin. That was how they set up their final song, “Lexington”.
There can be no arguments that all five of them are extraordinary musicians. Clint was a fantastic drummer, while Jeff added a bit of elegance to the show, his fingers dancing fluidly across the keyboard. Nick had that same swagger all (or at least most) bassists seem to have, with even a little more gusto, and while Zak is a great guitarist, it was a little weird for me to not see him going full throttle, as he did with the band I last saw him in (the now defunct Mothers Anthem). As for Casey, he was clearly the glue that held them all together.
I can appreciate all that, but on the flip side, I still was made into a fan. Their music was often beautiful, especially at the times they had some four part harmonies going, but I also found it to be generic, and even dull, never holding my complete and undivided attention.
They currently have no shows on the horizon, though you can of course preview and buy their music in iTUNES.
When it was all said and done (and given how few people were there, either due to the weather or whatever), I felt like the $20 price tag to get in was overpriced by at least five dollars, and probably more like eight. Still, Quiet Company and The Reynolds Number softened the blow of the cost, making it worth it in the end.
It seems that so many bands these days (on the local level) don’t always give their band and fans a proper goodbye. Instead, many just fade into obscurity, becoming nothing more than a memory.
The Hope Trust wasn’t going to be one of those bands, though, and after eight years or so and two full-length records, they were offering one last performance to their fans, closing out their career with a hometown show at Dan’s Silver Leaf in Denton.
The lone opening act on this bill was the fellow Denton based group Danny Rush and the Designated Drivers, whom I’ve heard of for some time now, and was looking forward to seeing and hearing what they were like.
Their 37-minute long set was a mix of old and current material, and I believe even some newer songs, including the first couple they began with. It had my interest from the get go, being a good mix of folk and rock music, and it was clear from the start that singer and acoustic guitarist Daniel Rush Folmer penned some very good songs.
Upon finishing those two a friend of the bands who was in the crowd made the typical concert joke by requesting, “Freebird!”, which was met with a very unusual answer. “Well, get up here and sing it and we’ll play it…” Daniel responded, calling the guy out by name. Since they weren’t going to do “Freebird”, they did the next best thing, the lead track from their debut “Brown and Blue” album, “Brakeman”, a semi slower song that had a nice vibe. The folksy song was only accentuated by the pedal steel guitar that Burton Lee was playing, but that song didn’t go off without hitch.
Daniel broke a string during it, finishing out the song, before having no option but to replace it. As if that were a regular occurrence, his Designated Drivers took charge, drummer Justin Collins starting an instrumental piece with some light beats, with the rest of the group, guitarist Tony Ferraro, bassist Chris Garver and piano player Taylor Sims, as well as Burton, gradually joining in. It was some great riffing that kept them from losing all the momentum they had going, and eventually Daniel returned, but without his acoustic guitar.
He had instead been loaned an electric from The Hope Trust’s singer Kelly Upshaw, which seemed to make the rest of their show (or at least parts of it) a little more rocking than the first few songs had been. The slower love song “W/O U” was one that really stuck out to me this night, and I mentioned earlier how good a writer he was, take for instance one of the first lines, “…Baby cut me open I could use some love…”. They followed it with “Downers”, a fast paced tune from their most recent record “Malverde”, which had Tony adding some backing vocals to it, as he and Daniel sang some of the lines in time with each other.
“SHT YR FKN MTH MY DRLNG” was another fun song, and after another new one, “Mama Plz Cum Home”, Daniel took a moment to introduce the Designated Drivers to everyone. After naming everyone else, he mentioned who he was, which turned into a joke as he said, “And I’m Kelly Upshaw…”.
They then knocked out a few more (three to be exact) newer songs to close out their show.
I thought Danny Rush and the Designated Drivers got the night off to a great start. The bulk of the songs they played were pretty fast paced, and while there were some folk tinges to the music, it was also pretty Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The distinctive voice that Daniel has also helped set them apart, and he just has one of those voices that, for example, if you were to hear on the radio, you’d immediately know who it was.
Their upbeat music and fun live show managed to make me into a fan, and I’ll definitely be seeing them again… Sometime.
You can purchase both of the band’s LP’s on their BANDCAMP PAGE, and they are pretty cheap as far as digital downloads go, so go give some of their music a listen.
Considering most of The Hope Trusts’ gear was already set up (i.e. the drum kit, etc.), it didn’t take too long for them to get the instruments set up and sound checked, before having to wait a bit, for their 11:17 start time.
Being their final performance, the quintet decided to focus on both the records they released, kicking things off with a few songs from 2007’s debut, “The Incurable Want”.
“Ok, Alright” seemed like a rather appropriate song to open with, seeming to fit the group’s current situation quite well when you took some of the lyrics out of context. “…All that’s left is death…” crooned singer and rhythm guitarist Kelly Upshaw before the song’s first chorus, as they got their last hurrah underway. Guitarist Jeremy Buller dabbled on the keys for “Run It Through”, another gem from that old record, while Kelly announced the song that followed it as being “Whatever Suits You”.
Tex Bosley got it started with steady and hefty drumbeat, and that song highlighted two of the best characteristics this band had; a catchy music bed and lyrics that could cut to the bone. For instance, “…Now everything you’ve hated is the future that you’re making, without me… Time can heal our wounds, but leaves a scar and bruise to remind you…”. I felt it a good reminder of why I assume most people (or at least myself) liked the band in the first place, and now, as the crowd heard that one and all the others for, in all likelihood the final time, it reinforced the idea that you needed to soak it all in and savor it.
“Don’t Want to Fight” concluded the time they spent on that first record, and as they geared up to move on to “Light Can’t Escape”, Mike Upshaw laid his guitar down and walked over to the keyboard at stage right. Kelly killed the time with some banter, saying something that this show was a recital. “…I like calling concerts recitals…” he joked, before adding, “…They are better than rehearsals.”
They then tackled the lead track from the record that wound up being their swan song, “Won’t Take Much”, a personal favorite of mine, and I will truly miss. “…Is confession all we’ll ever know? Is forgiveness at the end of the road?…” are a couple of the questions raised on that deep, thought provoking number, and as it ended, Mike went back to his guitar, as the rest of the instruments (and probably the clip of a sample track they used) resonated, bridging them into their next song, “Climb Your Own Trees”.
Already at a few points this night Kelly had thanked everyone for coming out, and during the next break he did so again, noting how much it meant to him and the rest of the band that they all were there. “…This is for the lovers…” he said of the next song they had in store, slowing things down for the more tender, “Drive to the Ocean”. Possibly the best part of the song was the outro, switched up a bit from what you hear on the record, prominently featuring Jeremy on the keyboard, which intertwined well with some sweet notes Mike was playing, giving the song an even more gorgeous texture.
Mike again manned the keyboard for the next song, “Afterglow”, and upon finishing it a fan shouted out, “Ten more years!” “It’s not me you have to convince.” Kelly replied, before soon naming the title track from the album, “Light Can’t Escape”. It was one of the more rocking songs they wrote, while still having their signature indie rock sound at its core, and that rock nature was on display at times, as all the members, including bassist Andy Odom, seemed to get more into it, and Kelly could even be seen shredding on his guitar a bit.
“There are seriously twenty-eight more songs left.” he joked, but even if it had been true, no one had a problem with that, and actually were welcoming of it. More than a few of their songs have some religious undertones to them, and none more than “Sleepy Romans”, which came next in their set, though they aren’t so much undertones in that one. “Oh, Jesus Christ, is it a bad time to get right with you? I’ll be good, do the things I should until you come back through…” is one of the many lines that’s a testament to that.
With the first notes of “Lost In Transmission”, it seemed like the night was about to end, seeing as that had been the standard closer since they released “Light Can’t Escape” back in 2011, or at least every time I had seen them that was how they ended gigs. It’s a fitting final note, and that was especially true this night, during the lengthy instrumental outro, which capped things of well.
That brought their 48-minute long set to a close, and for a moment it seemed like they were done, but the fans who were there weren’t quite ready for that. Some light chanting began, then, at the urging of the sound guy, the people got louder, and the five guys retook their spots.
“We don’t really do encores, so let’s get over the bullshit and just do more songs.” Kelly remarked. Mike once again played the keys on their next song, a single which Kelly said had been “certified pewter”. Jeremy was the lone guitarist on “Throw Me Overboard”, proving he can be a good, energetic frontman when not playing an instrument, and afterwards, they arrived at the final song.
“…Shit dies and things end. It’s going to happen to you and me…” Kelly said rather bluntly, and while I didn’t think he sounded all that bitter by it, one of his band mates asked him if he was. He then took a time out, thanking each of them for being in this band with him, saying he had been playing in bands with Jeremy and Andy since his early days. He also thanked Tex for being there, as well as Mike and another brother who was a spectator this night, but Kelly pointed out had been in the band at various points. “Tried To” ended this 9-minute long encore (of sorts) section, and though I wouldn’t have thought it before hand, it just sounded like the right song for these guys to end on. The outro was the best part, allowing all of them one final push, tearing it up on their instruments, before the band’s heartbeat slowed, giving out as Kelly once again thanked everyone for being there to witness it.
I think the best part of their show was the fact that there was no somberness to it. That’s not to say it was a happy event by any means, though I didn’t feel it was sad, either, unlike other farewell shows I’ve been to. None of the members of the band made it feel that way, either, instead it was like it was just another show.
It served as a nice final page in the book these guys had been writing over the years, and I don’t think their story could have ended any better.
I might not have been a die hard fan who was at every single show they did, but I did love the band and the music they made, and it will be missed. However, on the bright side of things, Kelly is planning on starting a solo career, backed by a full band, and he’ll have a record out next year (probably Spring 2014).
In the meantime, you can still purchase both of The Hope Trust’s records on their BANDCAMP STORE, so, even if you missed out on ‘em, give their exceptionally well written music a listen. You’ll be glad you did.
Pro Rehearsals had put together the show at The Curtain Club this night, showcasing five bands who rehearse at the space.
Realm Drifter was one of those bands, though they went on pretty early, well before I got there. I did arrive in time to see the second band, though, and that was Isaacs Fallen.
After seeing this trio take the stage, I remembered I had seen them before. Actually, a few times before, though it had been a few years.
I was never really a fan of theirs, just not liking the more throaty voice the singer and guitarist Shelton Enlow has, and that held true this night, too. At least for the first half or so of their set.
It took awhile, but I eventually started warming up to their alternative rock sounds, even enjoying it to a certain extent.
They weren’t my favorite act of the night, nor was I converted into a full on fan, though I legitimately enjoyed some of the songs they played, and for a three-piece, they really do have a well-rounded and full sound.
They (and presumably the first band, too) were a good way to warm up the audience this night, but there were still three bands left, all of whom could be headliners, and the first of those was Mara Conflict.
They ripped right into the first song of their 34-minute long set, causing some of the people from outside as well as those inside to gather more around the stage as the curtain was opened, revealing the hard rock/metal outfit.
“How the fuck are y’all doing?!” asked frontman Josh, after they had finished that first tune. He went on by trying to pump the crowd up, saying he knew most of the crowd knew the next one. “…It’s called Broad Brush.” he said, and even asked the fans if they knew how to start it, saying he was going to count them in. It didn’t go exactly as planned, and no one else let out an ear piercing scream like Josh did, before the instruments roared to life. That’s not to say no one enjoyed the song, though, they did, and it was impossible not to bang your head to the incredibly tight rhythm section drummer Dylan and bassist Charlie had going on that slightly dark track.
They kept the new(er) stuff coming, next doing “You Sleep”, Ben shredding on his guitar at the start of it, while they next cranked out the hefty, “Tempting the Mind”. As the song neared the end, Josh climbed up on the drum riser, facing Dylan while he sang, before jumping backwards off the riser. Upon finishing it, Josh mentioned they were tentatively calling their next song “Chainsaw Panda”. “In fact, I think that’s going to be the full title…” he said, “Tentatively Called Chainsaw Panda.” It’s a name that will stick with you, as will the song, and another truly excellent piece they’ve churned out is “Clear Eye Pane”.
“…Pane like a window pane, not like what you feel.” Josh clarified before the song. Jarrod added some sweet licks to it at times, by tapping his finger on some of the strings on his axe, creating a very unique sound. The song also has a killer instrumental outro, during which Josh left, leaving Ben, Jarrod, Dylan and Charlie up there to rock out and throw down.
Once the full group was reassembled, Josh checked to see how they were doing on time, and they had enough left for one more. That final song was “Closure”, which Josh pointed out was an apt song to end on, and it was, giving some finality to their set, while also being a little less heavy then their other stuff, at least at times, while the brutal screams are still thrown in for great effect.
Mara Conflict was fantastic this night, coming across as being more polished then they even were the last time I saw them, in regards to their performance and songs.
It was a dynamic show, and made me even a bigger fan of the bands than I already was.
If you like hard rock music (or even if you don’t), give ‘em a listen. They write some creative music that should appeal to most.
They have a couple of EP’s you can purchase in iTUNES, and while this was most likely their last show of 2013, expect to hear a lot more from Mara Conflict in 2014, when they should also have a new record available.
Once the curtain closed on them, the Secret of Boris logo, which is similar to shadowy figure from the crime watch symbol, lit up the stage left side of the curtain, only furthering the excitement of what was to happen next.
Via Facebook, the band had mentioned they were going to be changing things up for this show and the ones to follow, pulling out some songs that had been absent recently, and just re-working their overall show, which whet the appetites of the fans.
The three Ryan’s, Scherschell on drums, Byrd on guitar and Ragus on bass, got the show going, busting out an intense instrumental piece, which eventually gave way to their first song.
“The road is so cold, but every night you walk alone…” sang frontman Cameron Taylor, who rushed on stage just as “Desert Blood” got underway. It had been far too long since I had heard my favorite SOB song live, and, at least for me, was the ultimate beginning to their show. I would imagine many others had similar feelings, though, seeing as they amassed several dozen fans in front of the stage, all of whom were getting into it.
“Dallas, how do you feel?” Cameron asked the crowd (or something along that line) after they finished that song, setting up their most recent single, “How Do You Feel?”. The pulsating rhythm section Ragus and Scherschell create incited some dancing from many of the fans, who were only getting more engrossed by the show with each passing second.
Focus then turned back to 2010’s “Your Ghost”, an album that at one point during the night Cameron urged anyone who might not have it to pick it up when they were done. The song they did was “From Now On”, but they had changed it up a bit, specifically how at one point towards the end Scherschell launched a drum stick at Ragus, who caught it and began hitting the bass strings with it. It was all done very cleanly, and while it had clearly been rehearsed, there was still some spontaneity to it. Afterwards, the fans were presented with another question, and that was, “Are you ready to push it?”
After so many so years of doing, their rendition of Salt-N-Pepas’ “Push It” has become a staple of every SOB show, as well it should. They’ve made it into a solid rock song, putting their own spin on it, and it’s arguably the most fun song they do.
“…I think it’s time we do a new one.” Ragus remarked during the next break, while Cameron went and got his guitar. He joked that he wasn’t sure they as a band were ready to do a new one, though, despite the fans being eager for a taste of what they’ve been working on. Nevertheless, they still did a new one, which if I heard correctly, was titled “Bon Voyage”. Compared to their previous music, it had a slightly different sound, though in the end it came across as being more cohesive than even what they’ve done it=n the past, as well as a little more mature and even original sounding. It’s already been three years since their last record, and the wait for new recorded SOB music will be longer still, but if they keep writing songs like this one, then they’ll probably be breaking some new ground with their next record.
Cameron went back to being the frontman of the group for another fan favorite, “What You Became”. “Hand up!” he instructed as they hit the bridge, causing the audience to throw a hand up in the air and wave it side to side on the bridge, “…It’s true we like you better when you fail.” Afterwards, the hits just kept coming, the band segueing directly into “Retro”, repeating the drum stick throw that had been done earlier in their set, as Ragus again rocked out on his bass by using a drum stick to play it, while Cameron got another hand wave going.
A nice instrumental outro ended the song, bleeding into a sample track that Scherschell added some beats to, before the other Ryan’s joined in. When Cameron returned to the stage, he again had his guitar in hand. All of that made for the most flawless transition of their set, as they gradually started “The Watcher”, before eventually ending with the only song an SOB show should end with, “Virus”. “…Where do we go from here? All the way down…” the crowd shouted near the end of the song, being the only ones doing the singing at that time, before Secret of Boris closed out the song and their 39-minute long set.
I have to say, this was one of the best SOB shows I’ve seen in a long time, and quite possibly one of the best yet.
Everything in the performance was so fine-tuned and polished, even more so than usual, and the chemistry was most impressive, and even Ryan Byrd, the bands newest member, meshed even better than he had with them when I last saw them a few months before.
There’s no question they’re one of the more original bands currently in the North Texas music scene, and the talent to go well beyond the metroplex is certainly there.
Next up, SOB will be at Reno’s on Halloween night (Thursday October 31st), playing alongside Serosia, which will no doubt be an epic night. Over on their REVERBNATION PAGE you can score some FREE downloads of some of their music, and if you dig that, be sure to go into iTUNES and buy “Your Ghost”.
Taking the late slot was White Elephant, a band who had been fairly quite since releasing their debut EP about two months previously, a show that I regrettably missed due to being sick. I was quite excited about making that up, though, and even though this night wouldn’t be the same experience as their CD release show, it was bound to be pretty close.
Before the curtain even opened drummer Ben Rhodes counted them into “Another Rapture Missed”, a deafening wall of sound suddenly emitting from the speakers as he laid into the full kit, while Matthew Miller and Josh Armstrong’s guitar and bass, respectively, roared to life. Pete Thomas was also already in show mode, head banging to the music before grabbing hold of the mic stand, belting out, “Here we go it’s all another rapture missed. The ash and snow, another rapture missed…”
It may have been late, but after that explosive start it became evident that wasn’t going to impede them, and shortly after finishing it Matt began plucking at the strings of his guitar, leading them into the next song of their 39-minute long set. Upon finishing it, Pete took a moment to thank Secret of Boris, while also incorporating his brand of humor. “…They were sucking me off before the show.” he remarked, before they unleashed another dose of heavy, hard rock on the dozen or so people who still remained.
During an instrumental break on that third song, Pete motioned for everyone to give him a moment, before spitting into the air. His intention was to catch it back in his mouth, though it didn’t get enough air time, and by the time he darted over to where it was it had hit the ground, as he shrugged it off. The barrage of delicious brutally heavy music continued with the lead track from the band’s debut EP, “Greatest Hits, Vol. 1”, “October 5th”. Pete left the stage at one point on it, getting out in the crowd and roaming about. The numbers weren’t there to start a mosh pit as he usually does, though he still pushed his way through the people, before returning to the stage at the tail end of the track.
They marched on with the following track from the record, “Coriolanus”, which is a real heavy hitter, and Josh and Ben seemed to make the rhythm section even more intense than usual on it. As they prepped for their next number, Pete again joked with the fans, saying this was about four hours past his bedtime, and continued with the jokes about his age. “…Take your vitamins, kids, and when you’re pushing fifty you, too, can look as good as Pete Thomas.” he said after raising the question of if anyone else could look as good when they got to his age.
Everybody got a kick out of that, and once the laughter subsided, Matt led them into “Song For The Sick And Hopeless” with his tranquil intro to the song. A couples skate followed it, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it was any slower than their previous music, and before getting it going Pete told everyone at the back to, “…Get your dick out of your hand and come up front.”, and some of the people met the request.
As things wound down, they did another killer song (one of my favorites they did), before hitting one that Pete noted was a favorite of his to do, “Girls That Fight Are Beautiful”. His guttural screams of “…Take this and start a fight…” near the end really help accentuate the track, which is a true beast. Afterwards, they had just one left, and Ben began dishing out the hefty beats that open up “Kill The Headlights And Drive”, which concluded the night nicely.
They may not have had the biggest crowd of the night, but those who were there left wowed by White Elephant, who is one of those bands that never ceases to amaze.
The raw energy they pack into their performance is something else completely, with Josh and Matt really throwing down, and Ben was even better worked in than he had been the last time I saw them, absolutely killing it on the drums. As for Pete, he could easily run circles around frontmen half his age, and has a very potent stage presence that, in combination with the rest of the group, will make sure your eyes never leave the stage until they play the final note of the last song.
Their next show is going to be on October 25th at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, and check out their debut EP on their BANDCAMP page.
I know Pro Rehearsals has put on a few showcases at the Curtain over the years, but this was the first one I’ve attended, and I must say, they know how to put together a great show with some fine talent.