Friday, August 2nd, 2013 – Deep Friday’s with Serosia

Deep Ellum was thriving this night. For starters, there was a huge national show going on at one venue, while five others were taking part in the Deep Friday’s event, where for one price you can get into all five venues on the first Friday of every month. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great seeing so many people down in the area, even if it may be a one-off night, but the downside to that is it makes finding a parking spot a pain.

I’m not used to spending five minutes looking for parking, let alone twenty to thirty, but eventually found a spot and headed to my destination, which was, of course, the Curtain Club.

Yes, the purpose of Deep Friday is to be able to bounce between venues, but the Curtain’s lineup is always so stacked, I can never seem to pull myself from the place, as was the case this night.

Blacktie Renegade was the first band up this night, and due the parking thing, I’m not sure if they had just started when I got there or if they had been playing for just a little bit. Either way, I think I saw the majority of their set, and I was very glad I did.

This newer band (they’ve only been around since earlier this year) has some killer music, and it was matched by an incredible performance. That’s what really got me, especially after learning that they are newer to the scene, was how cohesive they were. They gave the impression that they’ve been doing this for years as this group, with Brandon and Eric running about the stage, shredding on their guitars, while drummer Ricky and bass player Dave tore it up on their instruments. The you had Mickey, who has a great set of pipes and did a really good job of commanding the crowd, being quite energetic.

Mixed in among their originals were a couple of covers, and their next to last song Mickey mentioned was an old one, but a good one. It was a rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name”, which surprised me, because Blacktie Renegade was nothing like Rage, yet they pulled off a pretty spot on cover of it, and it was very fun at that.

Mickey even jokingly apologized after they finished it, saying something like, “I didn’t use much language, did I?”

I was turned into a fan instantly, and after listening to the few recordings they have, I think they sound much better live than even what their recorded material reflects. So, if you get a chance, go see them live. They don’t have anything on tap at the moment, but from the looks of it, they’ve been playing every other month or so. Also, on their REVERBNATION PAGE, you can download their three singles for FREE.

They did a very good job of kicking things off, and the night was only set to get better with Alterflesh taking the stage next.

Alterflesh doesn’t just put on a show, they create an ambiance, and when the curtain opened on them the stage was adorned with a few paintings of varying sizes, a nightstand with a lamp and some books, as well as some candles scattered about, plus a statue of Buddha, adding to the spiritual effect of their shows. Singer and rhythm guitarist Dayvoh greeted everyone with one of his messages, and while I don’t recall word-for-word what he said, I believe he mentioned the vastness of the universe, “…It’s so strange we are even here at all…” he said, then officially welcomed everyone to the show with, “Step through the portal my brothers and sisters.”

“Megahub” kicked off their 35-minute long show, and they instantly sprang to life, evidently not needing much of a warm-up period. Paul Kubajak was jumping about while slapping the strings of his bass, while Ben Schelin slashed away at his guitar. Dayvoh was tearing things up, too, at least when he wasn’t rapidly spitting out the lyrics in a style that is most comparable to spoken word poetry. That’s definitely the most standout quality Alterflesh has, setting them apart from any other band, and as they wrapped up that song Dayvoh segued them into the next one, throwing a bit of humor in to the show. “Sometimes if you make mushroom tea, strange things happen. This song’s called So Much More.” he said, getting a laugh from their large audience.

The heavier percussion tune was a good lead in to their next song, a new one that had only been played live once before. It was titled “Believe It”, and it was the first of a few songs this night that saw Dayvoh sitting his guitar down to instead focus exclusively on being a front man. He’s quite a front man at that, and is extremely energetic, moving about, actively engaging the crowd, while also getting very into the song itself. At the end of he walked up on to the drum riser, and in perfect timing with a loud beat supplied by drummer Kevin Mills, Dayvoh leapt from the riser, back to the forefront of the stage. As for the song itself, I really liked it. It was much heavier and thicker than their other songs, in a hard rock way, showcasing another layer to their already completely unique sound.

“…This next song’s a social rant…” Dayvoh stated, speaking of my favorite song of theirs, “Watch Rome Burn”. Paul got downright wild on that song, bouncing all over the stage, from his post on stage left, over to where Ben stood and back again, all the while fiercely plucking and slapping the strings of his bass. It was brilliant. Afterwards, Dayvoh picked his guitar back up for what I believe was “Start Over”, before he placed it back down for their final two songs.

“Into the Sun” was another new one, and despite the title, there some darker musical elements to it at times, adding some depth to it. They then capped off their 35-minute long set with what is arguably the most inspirational song they have, “New Horizon”, which spreads a message of making the most of every day, and it was a fitting song to end with. “Stay positive and cultivate your dreams.” said Dayvoh, uttering his signature phrase.

It had already been a few months since the first time I ever saw Alterflesh, and they had only played one gig in the three and a half months from that show to this one. You wouldn’t have guessed it from watching them perform this night, though.

They were a completely different band than I saw back in April, being even more cohesive, operating as a skillful unit. They had all stepped things up, and while I admittedly usually watch the other members over the drummer, Kevin made sure you kept an eye on him. Ben shredded on his guitar with a passion, while Paul managed to pack even more energy into his performance than he had last time. The same could be said for Dayvoh, too, whose head and arms were covered with blue dots he had, had painted on. I’m not sure of the reason, aside from being something to get attention, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about, because you want people to remember the show, and that’s something that will last in people’s minds for a long time.

They truly are one of the most unique bands I’ve ever heard and they put on a very strong show. Nothing is scheduled at the moment, but keep an eye on their REVERBNATION PAGE for future dates. While there, you can also listen to some of their demos.

On a side note, it was remarkable how many local bands were out to support these guys. Born and Raised, Solice, Agents of Solace, 26 Locks, and those are just the few I remember, while in all I think Dayvoh counted 14 bands represented, many of whom didn’t even have shows in the area that night, they were there simply to see Alterflesh. It was cool to see so many bands supporting their comrades, and as Dayvoh said a few times while on this subject, “For anyone who says that Deep Ellum is dead, fuck you!” So true. It might not be thriving, but it is very much alive and well.

Things took a turn with the next band, Mara Conflict, as the night entered the harder rock portion of the night…

They opened with one of their numerous newer songs, “Tempting the Mind”, which got things off to a heavy start, even brutal at times. Brutal in a good way, of course. It allowed them to quickly establish their dominance, Joshua doing a mix of singing and screaming, but most often it was the latter, fitting well with the raw sound it had. As soon as it ended the front man walked towards the drum riser, facing it as he bellowed, “Why don’t you, why don’t you…”, the first line of one of their new singles, “Broad Brush”. There are tinges of a progressive style mixed in to that hard rock number, noticeable in both Ben and Jarrod’s guitar parts. That tune is just a solid wall of sound, and if the first song hadn’t done the trick, then “Broad Brush” surely had everyone banging their heads to the music.

They followed it with a couple of brand new songs, the first was titled “Solstice”, while the next one was “…so new it doesn’t have a name…” At least that’s what Joshua said of it. It was an utterly amazing song, my favorite of the night (not just confined to their set, either, but out of all the bands), having a killer music bed, with the drums, played by Dylan, the bass, which Charlie rocked out on, and the guitars meshing in perfect harmony, with a slight chaotic feel.

To balance out the new, they next did an old song, “Excuses Never Fly”, from their self-titled EP. The devastatingly awesome, “You Sleep”, which is just another one of their songs working together well enough it gives the song a much larger scope. Things began to wind down with “Cleareye Pane”, and they had enough time in their 35-minute long set to (aptly) conclude with the rip-roaring, “Closure”.

Mara Conflict is an awesome band, and they seemed better this night than they were when I saw them here at the Curtain at the end of May. I imagine the fact that they had a real audience this night made a lot of the difference, since it’s always easier for a band to get more into their playing when there are people truly enjoying it.

Joshua has a great voice, capable of an excellent range, and he can both scream and sing with the best of them. He, Ben, Dylan, Charlie and Jarrod also exude a lot of energy during their time on stage, ensuring you won’t take your eyes off of them, or at least not for long.

You can find their three song collection of singles in iTUNES, so buy and even go see a show (of which they will surely have coming up in the near future). Just support them, maybe that way they can get their next album out a little sooner than planned.

The headlining spot went to Serosia, who had rocked the place barely a month before. That didn’t their fans were any less eager to see them, though, especially because the day before on Facebook they mentioned they had some exciting news, which would be heard first at this show.

Their intros are always different, and this night, before the curtain was even parted, some low, pulsating riffs could be heard from Joseph Kubans’ bass, while Derek Troxell slapped the neck of his guitar, giving it a real distorted sound. That placidness didn’t last long, as Anthony D’Agata exploded in on the drums, the other instruments roaring to life, too, as they got “Ventriloquist” underway. It was a dynamic start to their 43-minute long show, and continued with the momentum they had going, the three instrumentalists bridging them into the next song, while vigorous front man Lucas D’Agata commanded the crowd to “fucking jump”. He was doing just that, and some of the fans did the same as they launched into “Friendly Fire”. That beast of a song had everyone moving around, and I believe it was one of a few songs that even incited a small mosh pit, and fittingly so, since Lucas was switching back and forth between his smooth, somewhat melodic singing voice and his savage screams.

“Criminal” had nearly all of their devoted fans singing along, quite enthusiastically I might add, and after finishing it Lucas asked the crowd a question. “Is it hotter in here than usual?” There was a bit of a mixed reaction, with some people agreeing, and others shrugged, as if to say, “No.” Lucas then got to the punch line, “That’s cause we’re up here…”, a remark that got a boisterous  response from the audience. “Sway” touched on the bands lighter side, Derek carefully plucking at the strings of his axe, though it was after the second verse when things really took off. One minute, Lucas was knelt down on the floor crooning, “…You have the power to fly but you fail to try…”, the next he sprang up, jumping into the air. He raised his outstretched legs up, while lowering his head down, and for a split second, while he appeared bent in two in midair, his legs even went above his head, before he quickly lowered them again, planting them back on the stage, and all the while he didn’t skip one of the lyrics.

The further along they got, the better the performance became, but took a timeout here, during which Lucas mentioned it had “been an emotional week” for all of them. That was the start of a very heartfelt speech, as he talked about how you spend years chasing your dreams, ultimately getting to a point where you think they will never pan out, and then, something happens. “…Stick with your dreams…” he said, pointing out that the moment you give up is the moment they can never come true. Already the fans were eager to know what was going on, but that would come later. Instead, they marched on with “The Architect”, and it and the following song, the newer “Reduced to Memory”, were prime examples of the banter that came in between those two songs, when Lucas said he was excite about the future of rock music, asking everyone if they were “sick of hearing banjos”, a sentiment everyone seemed to agree with.

“Wanna hear what’s up?” Lucas asked the crowd. It was answered with a resounding yes, but they were going to drag that announcement out, and instead, Anthony, Joseph and Derek started a little intro. It wasn’t until Derek played the beginning chords of “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” that the song became recognizable. Evidently, the best had been saved for last (and I include that previous song in that statement), and now Anthony banged on his kit, but only for a few seconds before his brother stopped them. “Do y’all want to hear the news now?” he asked, getting the obvious response. “…Let’s wait…” he said, as they returned to the hardest hitting song they did this night, “The Eye of Providence”.

Now, as their set neared the end, it was finally time to share their big news with everyone, and it proved to be worth the prolonged wait. Lucas beamed as he said they would be touring as the main support act for Sevendust, with 10 Years also being on some of the shows. “…Has anyone been to the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas?” he asked everyone, saying that was where they would be joining the tour, kicking things off in style, no doubt. He even noted that the lead song from their “Variables” EP, “Superposition”, would be making its way to radio airwaves, soon, so to call and request it. That wound up being a nice segue, because that was the song they had planned next, closing out their show with what became a sing along for a few moments, the audience chanting “I feel a war.” back at the band.

This was one of the best Serosia shows I’ve seen, and I think it’s safe to say they were riding high on that good news this night, renewing their hope in their career path, which translated into the live performance.

If you’ve seen Serosia before, you know all too well why they’ve gotten the opportunity to do some shows with Sevendust. If you haven’t, well, they are without question one of the most professional bands currently in the local Dallas/Fort Worth area music scene and they put on one of the most raw, organic rock shows a band can. Performance-wise they are topnotch, putting on a show that could rival many touring acts, while their music has radio friendly qualities, yet remains highly original, and there’s an excellent chance they’ll leave your mind blown.

Their dates with Sevendust are as follows: September 18th in Las Vegas, NV at the Hard Rock Live / September 19th in Salt Lake City, UT at In The Venue / September 20th in Billings, MT at Babcock Theatre / September 23rd in Ft. Collins, CO at Aggie Theatre / September 24th in Colorado Springs, CO at Black Sheep / September 25th in Cheyenne, WY at Atlas Theatre / October 1st in Kokomo, IN at Center Stage / October 2nd in Battle Creek, MI at Planet Rock / October 9th in Asheville, NC at Orange Peel / October 10th in Wilmington, NC at Ziggy’s By The Sea.

If one of those cities is near you, don’t pass up the chance to see them. Also, between iTUNES and their store on REVERBNATION, you can purchase all of their releases.

There was one final band left this night, but a little while after Serosia finished I decided to leave, before the tiredness I was experiencing got worse.

It was another fantastic Deep Friday, though, and be sure to mark your calendars for the next one, on Friday, September 6th. If you buy tickets in advance you can get into five venues for only five bucks, otherwise it’s ten at the door, but you still get into all the clubs.