July 2, 2011 - “…Don’t Ever Hesitate, Cause I Am Always Lying In Wait…”

How many times have I stated my love for the Curtain Club? I think almost every time I’ve done a blog where I went to the place. In which case, it’d probably be close to 50 times. Yes, tonight marked the 50th time I’ve been to the Curtain. Quite a milestone. At least for me.

But before I caught any bands there, I headed over to St. Petes, to catch one of Tyler Hammonds sets. I’d missed out on his first one, as I was talking to Bob McCrary, of the New Magnetic North, and his fiancée, on the patio at the Curtain. I’m not complaining though.

I heard of Tyler a little over a year ago, when he played some songs during a set by Ted Levin (Space Cadet), at the Ozona Bar & Grill on Greenville Avenue. Then saw him again, nearly a year ago, here at St. Petes, before he and, his at that time, fiancée moved to Tennessee, so he could pursue an opportunity as a studio songwriter. Well, different things happened, and they recently moved back to this area. And through connections he made he managed to land a gig on a soon to be TV show on the CW network, called something like Texas Troubadours. And they were out filming this tonight.

I can’t really elaborate much on the almost hour long set I saw him do, since he’s a Country singer/songwriter, and Country music isn’t my first choice of stuff to listen to. Though I am become more of a fan of the genre. He did some originals, some covers, including the staple Johnny Cash song, “Ring of Fire”. He’s an exceptional musician, and that first time I saw him play I told him that, while I don’t care much for Country, what he did amazed me. He’s one of those musicians that one day I’ll be saying, “Yeah, I knew him when…” Maybe not, I have thought the same thing about a couple D-FW bands I’ve seen over the years. But man, Tyler definitely is talented.

I headed over to the Curtain afterwards, and walked in on the final songs of American Ritual. I did a double take at their guitarist, thinking, “Wait, I know who that is.” Turns out it was Chris Jackson, of Early Pearl fame. He easily stood out as the most talented member of the band, as their bassist more or less stood there. And their singer, if you can call him that, wasn’t too good either. He just didn’t have a voice, he tried, God bless him, but he just couldn’t sing. They closed with a song called “The Quake”, which he said was supposed to be a hard hitting way to end the show. Music wise, it was, but vocally, it sounded absolutely terrible. I even heard they covered the classic rock song, “Born In the U.S.A.” earlier in their set, and it sounded pretty bad as well. I liked the bands music, to me it sounded like a revived 80’s sound, with a little more modern style added to it. But if they really want the band to stand a chance, I’d suggest getting a new vocalist.

Another band with American in their name was next. American High. Their stuff was pretty heavy, and of course to go with the music, their vocalist incoherently screamed and yelled almost everything. He did actually sing a few lines of the first song, and when he did it sounded good, it just didn’t last too long. Still, I wanted to be hopeful that they would get better. They didn’t. At one point they even did a song they said they thought everyone would know, and during it their vocalist said, “If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is Motley Crue!” Really? Okay, I haven’t listened to much Crue songs, but I didn’t know that was who they were covering, cause you couldn’t even understand a damn word he said. I was upstairs, and kept going back and forth to the Liquid Lounge to see if Rockett Queen had started yet. Not that they are much better, but I’d rather listen to them then this shit. Finally I walked over and they were doing their first song. “…How many of y’all have been in a relationship where one day you look at the person next to you and think, I fucking hate your guts?” said their singer after they finished that first song. “If you don’t have your hand raised, then you’re lying!” he added, as they started a song called “I Fucking Hate You”. That was the last one I saw, as I headed back to the Curtain afterwards. I don’t know, I saw RQ back in December, at the Curtain, and my impression was the same now as it was then. They put on a high energy show, but I can’t hear any discernible talent whatsoever in their music. And they really just strike me as being kind of a joke.

At 12:59 the New Magnetic North was ready to go, as the first strum of the guitar on “Eleven" rang out, before they fully ripped into it. Then the curtain opened on them, with vocalist, Tim Ziegler, thrashing about, throwing his arms around violently to the music, before he started singing. Lead guitarist, Jacob Aaron even added some backing vocals to this one, which I don’t remember him doing before. But if he has or hasn’t in the past, it added a really cool depth to the song. They followed it with what I thought was their best sounding song of the night, "Elephant In the Room". And it was a bit funny as during the song, bassist, Bob McCrary, decided to point at either drummer, Chris Kinsey, or Jacob, when each of them went into their own little riffs during the song. He got the timing of them wrong or something though, cause when he pointed to one of them, say Chris, it was Jacob who was riffing, and vice versa. And he eventually just went to rocking out on his bass. And they continued the onslaught of intense Rock ‘n’ Roll as Jacob started them right into the next song. "Alright." said Tim, after it was over, "This next one is a little batshit crazy… It’s called View of the Seconds.” That’s about the best way I could think to describe this more Progressive sounding song of theirs, that also has a slight Metal edge to it. They slowed things next, “…For the pretty ladies in the dresses…” according to Tim, as they did “Minus the Fall”. Personally, this is one of my favorite songs that I’ve heard them do, and I was glad to hear it again, for the first time in a little over 4 months. Apparently, the Jacob had done a little too much shredding during the first four songs, cause after that one I noticed one of the strings was broken, and hung freely. It must have been a non-issue though, as he made no attempt to fix it. “What’s next?” Tim asked Jacob when the song was over. “Perfect.” replied Jacob, who was hunched over his pedal board, messing with it. “That’s right!” Tim exclaimed. “This one is called Perfect Piece of Truth…”. The next song began with the rhythm section, Chris playing some drum beats, and Bob pounding out some low end bass notes. And soon Jacob and Bryan Ziegler came in on their guitars to give the song a good flow. Then, Jacob started singing the song, which was a dead giveaway for me that it was “Naive Realism”. Let me be more clear on that, Jacob and Tim trade off on the vocal duties for that one, with each one singing a line at a time, for part of the first verse. “We’ve got two more.” Tim announced afterwards, “…This is Feed the Pig.” And they of course saved “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”, for the closing song of their 47 minute long set. And as “The Owls…” concluded, Jacob roared back in with a part of the song. Chris beat down on his drums and cymbals a few times, and as he did so, Bryan and Bob played some notes on their instruments, giving the show that “more professional” ending.

FUCKING A! This was the most incredible show I’ve seen NMN do yet! Seriously, I could have stood there with my mouth open in total awe after they finished. The sad thing about it though, the only real witnesses to it were their friends and co-workers from the Granada Theater. The Curtain was never packed this night, but there were several more people here earlier on then what saw NMN. Okay, I’ll leave a show if I don’t like a band. But I’m open enough I’ll give anything a chance. Not just leave the club after the one band I want to see plays their set. Cause you never know when you’ll miss out on seeing a great band, that you just might like. I’m sorry, I just have a real issue with that. To me, this scene is ALL about supporting the local musicians, and how can you REALLY do that if you leave after seeing the one band you came to see? Oh, and Bryan did a great job on the guitar, when you consider he had stitches on one of his fingers on his left hand, which he uses on the fret board.

I said this in the last blog I did of these guys, but now they really have finished recording the song “The Owls…”. They added some more layered vocals, re tracked some stuff, etc. And from what I was told it should be available in a few weeks at the most. Trust me, even if you’ve never heard of this band before reading this, you can’t wait for that song to be released. It will give you an eargasim… That is if it doesn’t first rupture your ear drums due to its sheer intensity. You can watch a live version of it by clicking the song title up above (in the main article on the show). But it’s only a mere snippet of the song. So if you think it sounds great, you will LOVE the beginning.

On a random closing note, the first time I ever came to the Curtain Club was on Saturday, May 6, 2006. (Yes, I remember totally pointless dates/shit.) It was mainly to see the headlining band, SouthFM, but the band before them, Darby, quickly made a fan out of me. And two of the members of Darby were Tim and Bryan Ziegler, who, if you read this, you know are part of NMN. Maybe I’m just trying to make this show a little more significant to me, but I think it’s pretty cool that a couple of the members of one of the first bands I ever saw rock this stage would also happen to be in the band that got me out to the Curtain for the 50th time.

And speaking of Darby, they will be one of three bands doing a reunion show on July 23rd at Trees. It’s a benefit show for Jason Wheelington’s kids. Jason being a long time musician in the Dallas music scene who recently lost his battle with cancer. GO TO IT!!!

(If you’ve spent your time reading this, please take a few more seconds & go “Like” the fan page I’ve made on Facebook, by clicking HERE. I’m wanting to get an idea as to how many readers I actually have. Thanks!)

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