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.
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 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.
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 had been over a year and a half since I last saw the Austin based folk outfit Wild Child in Dallas (having caught them at SXSW earlier this year), and this night was going to be a big one for the band.
Two days prior to this show at the Prophet Bar, the band released their highly anticipated sophomore record, “The Runaround”, making this the Dallas CD release show for the new album, and their Dallas fans were ready to partake in the festivities.
The lone opening act on this show was Prophets and Outlaws, who played a mix of new and old songs during their 39-minutes on stage, along with some covers.
It was one of those newer songs that they opened with, before doing a song that singer and guitarist Matt Boggs said was their “ode to Elvis”. It was the shorter “Honey Child”, which certainly could have gotten a lot of hips shaking about, though there were only a handful of people up front actually dancing to the soulful, bluesy song. Next came one of their covers, and it was a well known classic, made famous by The Band.
They did a brilliant rendition of “The Weight”, utilizing every vocalist in the band, which was most of them. Drummer James Guckenheimer, bassist Matt Murrow, guitarist Stevie G and keyboard player Jamie Ringholm all sang a different verse of the song, coming together and harmonizing on the chorus, along with Matt, even doing it in rounds to add a distinctive flare to it.
“Do y’all want to hear a brand new song?” Matt asked the decently sized crowd, though most of them seemed indifferent to it. All the same, they rolled things right along into a new one, and after another track, they broke out another cover. I believe it was a version of Ray Charles’s “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, with a little more of a rock spin on it, and Matt has a certain quality to his voice that allowed them to pull it off.
“This is our best one, in my opinion.” Matt stated before they broke into the lead track from their self-titled debut EP, “Soul Shop”, a rather relaxing song. “We’re gonna need some howls on this next one.” said Matt, noting it was a newer song they were thinking about releasing around Halloween. A few of the onlookers answered his request, doing a wolf howl once or twice during the song, and once it was finished they had just enough time left for one more tune.
I’ll say that for what they do, Prophets and Outlaws pull of the style exceedingly well. However, after seeing this full band show and an acoustic one a few months back, I have to say that their music just isn’t what I care for.
It just doesn’t grab me and strike a chord in me or anything. That’s all relative, though, and if you like a mix of soul and blues, that have slightly more of a country sound, then this is definitely the band for you.
They have two EP’s you can check out and purchase in iTUNES. As for shows, they tend to keep fairly busy, and on October 31st they’ll be at the City Tavern in Dallas, with a show on November 1st at Grotto Live in McKinney. For more tour dates, check out their REVERBNATION PAGE.
They hastily cleared their gear off, while Wild Child began the process of setting up, and by the time they were ready to go, singer and baritone ukulele player Alexander Beggins asked for everyone to get a little closer. Apparently, the band has made a lot of area fans since I first saw them, as the majority of the people who were scattered around the bar and elsewhere made their way right up front.
They began with a joke, though it didn’t start out that way as singer and violinist Kelsey Wilson first mentioned how early they had to be up this morning in order to perform on one of the local morning shows on one of the TV stations. She pointed out getting up that early made her want to punch people, but she did alright, only punching one news woman. “…But she only made it through the first half inch of her makeup…” Alexander chimed in, the crowd, along with his band mates erupting in laughter.
That was a great way to break the ice, and with there being no way to top that, they promptly started the show with the title track and lead song from this new album, “The Runaround”, a very fun song that got everyone moving around at least a little. “How are you doing this fine Thursday eve?” Alexander asked the fans, which spurred a conversation between band mates as Kelsey stated she always hopes it really is Thursday when he asks that question.
After bantering (mainly) amongst themselves for a moment, they got back to the music, hitting their more tender side with the second track on the record, “Victim to Charm”. The violin and cello, which was played by Sadie Wolfe, worked together harmoniously at the start of that one, “Dear, don’t be alarmed, as I trace the freckles on your porcelain arm…” Alexander sang softly into the mic. It’s a beautiful line for an equally beautiful song, that also featured some nice harmonies from the two vocalists.
Those new ones were well received, though the fans almost turned into rabid animals when Kelsey said they were going to do some old ones, clearly eager to hear the ones they knew and loved. That collective mood of excitement shot through the roof as Alexander played the opening notes of “The Escape”, the audience singing right along with Kelsey and Alexander, whose voices layered over each other’s nicely. “Lost my breath, I’m feeling weak, my bones escape my skin…” everybody sang, the fans obviously ecstatic that this favorite of theirs was still in the setlist. They took things down a few notches with “Silly Things”, and while the rhythm section was lighter, it was still pretty powerful, Chris D’Annunzio lightly plucking the strings of his bass, which caused the floor to vibrate at times. The crowd again proved their love for Wild Child and their music, loudly singing along to the final line, “…Come get your coffee pot, ‘cause it hasn’t been used since I last used you.”
The band appeared a bit surprised by all the love they were getting, and now pointed out that this was the first crowd they had played to since “The Runaround” came out just two days prior to this. And now, having done the first two tracks from both their new and old albums, it was time to get back to some newer stuff with the first single from “The Runaround”.
Kelsey informed anyone who didn’t know that they had just released a music video for the song “Crazy Bird”, saying it was “weird”, which could be a big understatement. However, while the video is weird, the song itself is not, and both will leave a lasting impression on you. It was fun and upbeat, being an irresistible song that will immediately put you in a happy mood.
Speaking of happy mood, Kelsey said they had picked up a new motto from their friends in Prophets and Outlaws backstage. “You can only have as much fun as you want to have.” she said, Alexander adding those were “words of wisdom”. It is true, and they and the crowd were prepared to have as much fun as possible this night, and not much could be more fun than a “butt grabbing song”, which was exactly what Kelsey said t he next one was. Not much of that was going on as they busted out another slow one, “This Place”, though, Evan Magers adding some soft, subtle notes from his keyboard at parts, while Carey McGraw kept a slow and steady beat going on the drums.
That slow tune transitioned well into “Stitches”, which at first didn’t come across as what Kelsey said was their “new favorite party song”, but once it got going, it clearly was a fitting party tune. As soon as it concluded they seamlessly launched into another old one, “Bridges Burning”, the audience echoing along with Kelsey, “…Wait for me, I want you to wait for me…” “Y’all are tripping me out!” she exclaimed after finishing the song, still seeming a bit baffled by all the love. The audience was then presented with a choice of either getting a new fast one or an old fast one, which was “Cocaine Hurricane”. It was unanimous, and the choice was that old fan favorite, which is still a highlight of their shows.
Their 53-minute long set was nearing its end, and they still had a couple more new ones to do, one of which was the instant classic, “Living Tree”. “You guys are my favorite people in the whole wide world.” remarked Kelsey after they finished the song, still overwhelmed by it all, and they began to wind things down with the final track on the new album, “Left Behind”.
There was only one fitting way to close to the show, though, and that was with the final number from 2011’s “Pillow Talk”, the haunting, “Tale of You & Me”. “Sleep good and hold tight. Just know that’ll make it right.” the whole band shouted repeatedly at the end, creating the greatest sing along moment of the night, the entire crowd joining them, making for the best possible end to what was surely Wild Child’s best Dallas show yet.
This was quite the night, and Wild Child is quite the band. The duel vocalists and the way they constantly change things up, from both Kelsey and Alexander singing lead, to incorporating some dynamic harmonies and even singing in time with one another are what make them standout so much. And while those two do tend to be the main focus of the show, the rest of the group is of course just as vital a part, and contribute a lot to the energy they have.
On that note, it was their older songs that they did that were the most cohesive and flawless. That’s nothing against their new material, but you could tell those oldies had been performed hundreds of times over and they’d developed such chemistry for them, while some of the newer ones they still haven’t worked out all the movements.
In the end, though, it’s easy to see why the band just performed at Austin City Limits (doing a gig at the festival a couple days after this Dallas date), and why they’re creating such buzz. And the way folk music is becoming such a big thing currently in mainstream music, and given the unique and fresh spin Wild Child puts on their tunes, it’s believable that they have a shot at making it.
Wild Child will be on the road until the end of the year, doing shows from the East Coast to the West Coast and several states in between, and for all those dates go HERE. And do check out both of their albums in iTUNES, and if you dig ‘em, definitely buy them.
You have to respect the touring bands, and no, I don’t mean the big time touring acts that are guaranteed to make money. I mean the bands who dream of being a full-time touring act, making a living doing what they love, and actively pursue it.
That said, what is perhaps my favorite Canadian based band, Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk were back on tour, their Here We Go Again tour, and this night they were returning to what has become their Dallas home, the Prophet Bar.
Opening up this show was singer/songwriter Ashley Brooks, who played an electric guitar and was accompanied by band mate and fellow guitarist Andrew Lyon.
Their 22-minute long set got off to a somber start, as Ashley said Andrew wanted to say something. He wasn’t near a mic, so she ended up speaking for him, saying he wanted to dedicate the show to a friend who had recently died. “…This show’s also for my sister…” she said, adding she had passed away just a few weeks prior from suicide. She then set up her first song, “Simple Living”, saying it was about a guy she was with for three years. “…He was on drugs and just… a hot mess…” she said, noting she thought she could “fix” him.
That storyteller vibe continued for their next song, as well as most of their show, as Ashley said the next one was, “…Hard to sing.” She went on to tell a story of how she was diagnosed with a brain tumor at fifteen, and went she went in for surgery, there was nothing there. It was called “Miracles”, and it was a great tune, clearly being a testament to her faith. She gave her voice a rest afterwards, while Andrew played an instrumental piece. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of instrumental music, but this song had a good sound, and I really enjoyed it.
They then resumed their originals, first with “Maybe” and then another. “That’s my favorite song we’ve done…” Ashley remarked after the other song, which also happened to be my favorite tune of theirs this night, and both her voice and the music bed for it just had a great sound. Since starting, Ashley had promised a mix of originals and covers, and now they delivered their first and only cover of this night. “Does anyone know who Alison Krauss is?” she asked the handful of people who were there so early on, most of whom were either staff or other band members. The duo did a pretty rendition of “When You Say Nothing at All”, before ending with a track I believe was titled “Breathe”, which was a little more minimalist compared to her other songs, as Andrew lightly plucked the strings of his guitar, while Ashley just sang.
Before exiting the stage, though, she addressed the crowd, saying they had planned to do some more covers, “…But we’ll save those for next time…” she said. She went on mention she’s finishing up recording some tracks that will be released in the near future, saying all she wanted to do was help other people through music, just in the way it had helped her.
Though it was a short show, it was good one. Ashley had good voice, sounding delicate at times, though she was also capable of hitting some big notes. The songs were well written, and I enjoyed the connection she made with the onlookers by talking about her songs and getting more personal.
You can listen to some demos she has recorded over on her REVERBNATION PAGE, and those studio recordings she mentioned should be available soon. In fact, she said one would be coming out this month.
The first full band of the night was the main one I was there to see, and that was Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk.
This was the band’s second Dallas show this year, having hit The Prophet Bar back in May, and they had changed things around since then.
They opened with a very cool intro, led by Jay and Jessica Christman, the latter plucking some of the strings on her bass before he joined in with some light drum beats. Josh Akin soon came in on the guitar, though it was Zoltan Szoges who really set the piece off, using the numerous keyboards and synthesizer around him. All together, it sounded slightly heavenly, and it ceased suddenly once Lauren Mann grabbed a ukulele and approached the microphone.
I said they had changed things around, and much to my Lauren began whistling, signifying the start of the lead single from their “Over Land and Sea” album, “I Lost Myself”, a song that has previously been reserved as the show closer.
It worked quite well as an opener, Laurens’ rich, vibrant voice piercing the near silence as she eased everyone into the show, before the rest of the band soon joined in. A little over a minute in was when things sprang to life, though, as Zoltan began banging on a floor tom with one hand, while using the other on his array of keyboards. As it drew to a close, Lauren even acted as a percussionist, grabbing the drumsticks and pounding on the extra tom, before taking a seat at her piano at center stage.
“This is a traveler’s song.” she remarked as they launched into what is perhaps one of their most fun songs, “A Traveler’s Anthem”. It’s so upbeat it’s simply irresistible, and they followed it with another amazing sounding song, which I’m guessing was a cover. Zoltan broke out his keytar for some of that latter one, but the best part came at the end, when they broke into an unexpected percussion outro. Josh clapped along to Jay’s beats, while Jessica beat on the massive bass drum that sit beside the drum kit and Lauren shook a tambourine, while Zoltan again put the tom to use.
The briefly paused after that, taking a few moments to chat with the handful of people, and eventually Zoltan got to a joke. “I think I say this every time we play here…” he started out, saying he just ruined the joke, but laughed that since almost none of the people were familiar with them it would still be funny. “…Alberta is Canada’s Texas.” he said of their home province, “Or Texas is the U.S.’s Alberta.” he cracked, saying Alberta also had oil and cattle, as well as other things Texas as known for. He went on to make the very nice compliment of, “That’s why we always feel at home here in Texas.”
With that connection made, they got back to the music, and now did one of their new songs from their forthcoming third record. It was titled “You Don’t Look the Same”, and in comparison to the rest of their material, it sounded totally different. It just had a whole new vibe, though it still meshed with the rest of their cheerful tracks, and was all it took to get me really intrigued about what they’ll soon be working on. No sooner had they finished it then Lauren segued them into an older song from “Stories From Home”, “Stow Me Away”.
They’ve tweaked it from the album version, incorporating all of the band, though it’s still largely driven by Lauren and her piano, allowing for a nice lull in the show. Said lull was continued in the form of “Of Life And Of Death”, which ended with some very subtle sounds, though it was more than enough to propel to the song to another level. As it concluded, Zoltan picked up a bow, like you would play a cello with for example, and proceeded to pull it across the xylophone. He was very precise about it all, doing it in perfect synch to the music and Lauren’s singing, accenting it extraordinarily well.
They weren’t going to slow down from that, either, the sample track for “Love, I Lost” bleeding into the end of the previous song as the sounds finished resonating. With that, they were back on the upswing, and upon finishing it, Zoltan offered up some more banter.
He mentioned that it had been a weird tour so far, doing a show one day then having a day off, and that this was only the third show they had done in the U.S. on this tour. Talk also turned to impending hurricane that was headed for the other states on the Gulf Coast, and how they were going to be headed right for it. “…We’ll be going through our first hurricane…” Lauren said laughing, like it was going to be more of an adventure than anything. They also spoke of their new record, which they’ll be recording at the start of the new year, and how they’ll be launching a campaign to raise money for it. “We asked the bank for money to make it, and they said no. We asked our personal accounts for the money, and they said no. So then we asked our parents, and they said no.” Zoltan informed everyone, then clarified, “I’m kidding, we didn’t ask our parents. We’re in our late twenties and that would be awkward.”
When they got back to the show, they did “When I Feel Lost”, a more fleshed out rendition than what you hear on “Stories From Home”, giving the bass, drums and guitar more of a role, while Zoltan even dabbled on his keytar at times. The group then got a cool intro going for their next number, Josh standing by his guitar amp to create a bit of feedback, with things soon giving way to the ukulele intro of the ethereal, “Fragile”. Jessica and Zoltan briefly swapped spots at one point, as she struck the xylophone, and since Lauren had left her piano, he even put his keytar aside to play it at one point.
“We have one more…” said Lauren as they rolled it right into their final song, and she urged everyone to get a little closer to the stage. “We might have a little surprise for you.” she said with a smile on her face. Since the start I had been curious as to what they were going to end with, “How It Goes” seemed like it would be an excellent note to end on.
Jessica took over keyboard duty while Zoltan opened a suitcase and started throwing instruments out to everyone, from little shakers to tambourines and such. He then started clearing things out of the way, giving him room to eventually pick up that giant bass drum and roll it out into the crowd. They might not have had much of an audience, but those who were there were loving this, with at least half a dozen people picking up a drum stick or two and banging on the drum. And as the song and their 42-minute long set came to an end, Zoltan climbed on top of the floor tom, shaking a tambourine to the beat, before leaping backwards off it.
There are so many layers to the show Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk do, for starters, the performance itself. Zoltan mentioned they would be performing their five hundredth show on this tour, and while the members have changed since they first started, they’ve definitely broken in this new lineup. The five of them have incredible chemistry together and are nothing short of being a well-oiled machine.
They make the show much more intense than you would expect just from listening to their music, conducting themselves so fluidly with the music, and each member of the quartet packs in a ton of energy into their performance.
Aside from that, their just great musicians in general, writing some nice, catchy and fun indie/pop sounding music with a folk spin on it, and it’s music that is progressively getting better. “Over Land and Sea” is an exceptional record, but that one new song they did this night was even a bit above that, which is saying a lot.
In the end, though, it’s how fun and joyful they make their shows that will really stick with you. You’ll likely have smile on your face the whole time LM&TFOF are on stage, and the lightened mood their show puts you in is one that will stick with you for awhile.
They’ll be on the road in both the States and Canada through early December, so check out their TOUR PAGE for all the show dates. After that they’ll be in the studio working on their next record, with plans to get back out on the road next summer. So, stay tuned, help them fund their next record, and go see them if they come to a town near you, you’ll be glad you did. Also, check out their first two records in iTUNES. (Also, depending on when you see this, you can snag a FREE download of “Over Land & Sea” HERE.)
The mood of the night shifted drastically with the next band, Desert Noises, who were a serious rock band hailing from Provo, Utah.
The four piece delivered 38-minutes worth of rock on the crowd, the majority of which I believe came from a new album they mentioned they had just finished recording.
Is what made them stand out at the start was the harmonies their singer and rhythm guitarist and bass player created. He [the bassist] appeared to have a knockout voice as well, and they intertwined to make something outstanding.
After the first couple of songs, they did one from 2011’s “Mountain Sea” album, “Oak Tree”, another track that really utilized the harmonies, while also boasting some, at times, haunting guitar notes. They continued on with another new one, their singer announcing they had recently wrapped up the recording process, and that the next song would be on it. “What’s it called?” one person asked, speaking of the new album. “We don’t know yet.” the singer smiled and said.
They carried on with several more songs, eventually having a discussion amongst themselves to make sure that this was their first ever show in Dallas. By then they were almost done, and they closed out their show with a very interesting song that only featured the lead guitar and some beats from the drummer, while the other two musicians just sang. It was very different from their other stuff, but sounded oh so good.
Their rock sounds, which were some of the more original that I’ve heard, were also laced with some Americana undertones, and even Southern Rock to a smaller degree.
That, coupled with the killer voice their singer had and the nice mixture he and the bass player created, as well as the well written songs, they ensured they’d be a band you wouldn’t soon forget. Well, that and dynamic stage show they put on, really throwing down and rocking out.
Do yourself a favor and check these guys out. They have a few records in iTUNES, and I’m guessing this new record, whenever it drops, will be the best thing they’ve done yet. They also have a few shows left on their tour, which you can find HERE.
After those two touring bands, it was time for one last Dallas act to close out the night, and that was singer/songwriter, Steve Atkins.
They were a bit different, too, at least in comparison to the other acts. Steve was accompanied by two other musicians, one playing a ukulele and the other an electric guitar, without an amp, while he used an acoustic. The electric guitarist also had a computer in front of him, which had all the sample tracks for the other instruments they were lacking.
He of course mined a different genre than the other acts, his music being more of an acoustic pop style, which become readily clear just with their first song. After “Animal”, one of the tracks off his “Locals” record, he and the ukulele player donned some hats. “Now we’re settled in.” Steve remarked as they dished out another song.
“The Tide” continued their string of love based songs, as Steve repeatedly sang, “I would never let you down.” on the chorus. They had also worked a cover into their show, doing a rendition of Rihannas’ “We Found Love”, albeit a very different version from hers. It lacked all the electronics, a little more bare bones, which made the lyrics and Steve’s singing more of the main focal point, and they pulled it off nicely
They continued rushing through their 33-minute set, seeming to want to get it over as soon as they could. Probably because, as Steve mentioned, he knew just about everyone had to work the next day. They got back to tackling the EP with “New Beginnings”, then “Coming Around” before ending with “Stick & Stone”.
Personally, Steves’ stuff wasn’t quite up my alley, It was just too mushy and lovey dovey for my tastes, but at the same time, I can respect it for what it is. That’s simply his style of songwriting and singing, and it suits him well, being something he, and his band mates, pulled off with ease.
If that’s something that would appeal to you, give his stuff a listen. You can find “Locals” in iTUNES, and if you keep an eye on his FACEBOOK PAGE, he’ll no doubt announce another show sometime soon.
This fun got off to an early start and ended relatively early, too, which was a nice change of pace from one to two in the morning. Kudos to the Prophet Bar for continuing to give touring bands a chance, and if you weren’t here (which you probably weren’t), you missed out on one spectacular show
Wednesday night is a real odd night for a concert, but touring acts don’t have the luxury of only playing the prime spots, like the Friday’s and the Saturday’s. Such was the case this night, when not one, but two touring acts from the East Coast (Blameshift and Super Bob) were stopping in Dallas, in part thanks to Torch Entertainment, who had put the show together at Wit’s End.
This was actual the first show I would catch at Wit’s End, having visited the spot when occupied by the former venue, but not since it had been re-opened. It had a different look inside, aesthetically speaking, so it didn’t feel like you were walking into the same old place it had been previously. The biggest difference, though, was the sound, which was always spotty the few shows I had seen there when it was The Bone. I dug it all, and props to the new owners for putting in the work the place so desperately needed, ‘cause it has definitely paid off.
Two D/FW acts were opening, and first up was The Circle, who had hopped on the bill rather last minute, at the request of Blameshift (the two had shared the stage last October), which should speak volumes about The Circle.
This was the first time I’d seen the band since their CD release show back in July, meaning this was the first time that I fully knew some of their newer songs, like the lead track from their EP, “The Other Side”. It’s a killer song that makes for a killer opener, and they didn’t allow for any downtime as drummer Marc Berry patched them into their next song, before lead guitarist Craig Nelson ripped into his guitar for the opening line of “406”. “Can you bring me back to life, ‘cause I’ve been dead for so long…” front man Don Mills belted out on the chorus, singing it rather forcefully, yet also in almost a melodic tone, making for a great combination.
They kept the ball rolling with a fairly new song, one that had only been done at four other shows according to Don. It was called “Save Me”, and it was the first brand new song I’ve heard them do in a little while. It still sounded very much like The Circle, but you could tell it was a newer one, written now that they’ve spent quite a bit of time together as a band, and just more cohesive. I guess I mean to say the cohesiveness was more than noticeable, and to a different degree then even their more recent tracks.
Upon finishing it, Don proposed a toast to everyone, thanking those who were there for coming out, as well as the other bands on the bill. “…It takes some big balls to play in Deep Ellum on a Wednesday night.” he stated. They then got back into some heavier stuff with “Beggars Can’t be Choosers”, before going right into their next song, and I believe that transition was handled by rhythm guitarist Alan Sauls, who fired up “My Trip to the Desert Sucked”. Right before hitting the last chorus of that one, Don, Craig and bassist Kenneth Henrichs (who had been adding some great backing vocals to it by the way) leapt straight into the air, in near perfect synch with one another.
They then cranked out another new one… Sort of. Upon finishing it Don (assumingly) joked that they had just rewritten it the day before. Personally, I don’t recall having heard “You Wanted This” before, or perhaps before it was overshadowed by some of their other songs. Whatever the case, it’s one you’ll certainly remember from now on when you hear it. While on the subject of songs that will stick with you, one of their album cuts, “Failure”, also has that effect, and Don pointed out that it was one of his favorites from the “Who I Am” EP.
“…I ate Serious Pizza before we started…” stated Don, remarking that, that was a “bad mistake”. Perhaps that impacted how he felt, but not how he acted, nor his stage presence, as they opted to work on closing out their EP as their 36-minute long set neared its end. That meant knocking out “I Am”, a song that is continuing to grow on me each time I hear it, before quickly launching into their single, “Sleep On it”, which is still the best way for them to wrap up a show, even leaving you wanting more.
It didn’t matter that they only had a handful of people giving them their undivided attention, they still rocked the place to the best of their ability, and on that note, you don’t often see a band that’s a fairly routine headliner opening up a show, and when one does, you know it’s going to be an excellent night.
They were incredible as always, and each time I see them, I somehow manage to end up liking them even more than I already did.
If you’re a fan of real rock music, head over to iTUNES and give a listen to their “Who I Am” EP. In regards to shows, they’ll be playing in Allen at the Dirty Rooster on October 19th. October 27th they’ll be at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, opening up for Nonpoint, and then on November 8th they’ll have a pretty big show at the Curtain Club in Dallas, and it’ll be one you don’t want to miss.
Second up on this bill was Waking Alice, another band that is more than capable of serving as a headlining act as well.
In what is becoming standard fashion, they opened their 36-minute long set with one of their newer (or at least unrecorded) songs, and one that I truly love. It’s the perfect flow the song has, the music bed complimenting frontman Rus Chaney’s voice, and vice versa, as they intertwine so well with one another.
Afterwards, they set to work tackling the “Retribution” EP. “This song’s called Treason.” Rus announced, guitarist Brandon Brewer starting the song no sooner had he spoke those words. That hefty and fast paced tune was followed by the darker, even slightly melodic “Scars”, which also boasts some spot on and impressive drumming from Jonn Levey
In a similar fashion as the band before them, Rus now offered up a toast to the fans and bands alike, thanking those who had come out to support, and after voicing his appreciation, a [female] fan shouted, “Take your shirt off!” He ignored the request, but Brandon had a response. “I was going to, but now I won’t.” he quipped, before Rus set up their one slower love song. “Fates Design” is one of my favorite Waking Alice tracks, and it was only made better this night by a slightly tweaked intro, different than that you hear on the recording, which made the song a little more impactful. Afterwards, they pulled out their newest song, which Rus noted had been released on iTUNES just a week or two before, repeatedly saying its name, “Hostage”. “So, yeah, this one’s Hostage.” he said (or something along those lines) after briefly talking about the song.
The tight combination of the guitar, drums and bass, played by Brayton Bourque, made for the best intro of any of their songs, while the track itself was their best of the night. I’d even say it’s the best thing the band has written with its current lineup, and it’s a perfect display of what rock music should be.
No WA show would be complete without the classic, “Biggest Lie”, and of course Brandon went into a guitar solo a little after the halfway mark. It started out sounding pretty close to how the song does, though that didn’t last long, as he pulled away from it, riffing and shredding. He wasn’t the only one with a solo, though, and in a change of pace, Brayton also riffed for a few seconds, before Jonn took charge with a short drum solo, allowing everyone to have their moment, before Rus started back in, “Cut it out of me…”
Their time had passed by quick, but they had one last song to do, a cover Rus informed everyone, getting a few cheers from group of fans who knew what was coming next. At least they thought they did. “We’re gonna do a little Pumpkins for ya.” said Rus, which would be a big difference from the other song they’ve covered at recent shows.
Jonn led them into it with a snare roll, before the rest of the group joined in, revealing it to be “Geek U.S.A”, which they did a great rendition of, and it was a good way to cap things off.
I’d say this was one of the best Waking Alice shows I’ve seen yet, delivering a great performance and set this Wednesday night, that hit their best stuff, and that cover they threw in was simply icing on the cake.
They’re not one of those bands that does shows every week, or even every month (in fact, this was their first show since the end of June), but each time they get on stage, the growth is noticeable, as they get a little tighter each time around, which is exactly what you want to see from a band.
You can catch them at least one last time before the year ends, and that one will be at the Curtain Club in Dallas on November 16th. In the meantime, go pick up that new single, “Hostage”, in iTUNES, plus their other assortment of music.
Super Bob was up next, who had traveled all the way from Washington D.C., and were doing their first ever Dallas show.
I had listened to them earlier in that day actually, and didn’t much care for their rap-rock style of music (at least that’s what I consider it to be), and wasn’t expecting much from them. In fact, at first I thought they were going to be the headline act, in which case I planned to leave before they even started.
Then the four-piece outfit got on stage, and proceeded to, at least in terms of stage show, blow everyone else out of the water.
They didn’t let the smaller, even somewhat awkward stage at Wit’s End impede them, as they got down with an explosive and brutal live show, that often had vocalist Matt Santoro, guitarist Adam Smith and bassist Drew Recny thrashing about.
Mixed in with their originals was a cover, a cover of what Matt said was “the greatest rock song ever”, and while that could be argued (specifically the rock part), they did do a fun and intense rendition of LMFAOs’ “Sexy and I Know It.”
While they were all electric performers, I thought it was drummer Chris Faircloth who truly owned the show, adding all sorts of moves into his playing. From the standard tossing the drumsticks up in the air and catching them, to something I had never seen before, which was throwing them in the air, then catching the stick perfectly in the palm of his hand, while it balanced there for a second or two. It was extremely impressive, and mind-blowing would be the best word to use to describe his drumming abilities.
Okay, I was still never won over as a fan of their music, but they do deserve props for the amazing show they put on, and for doing everything they could to get the audience into it, even getting some people to jump at different points in their set.
They’ll be on the road for a little bit longer, working their way back up the East Coast, and you can find all those dates HERE. And for those who do like rap-rock, check out their music in iTUNES.
The Long Island, New York based Blameshift was the headliner this night, and having only caught them once before (June of the previous year), I was looking forward to seeing them again.
With their newest record and first ever full-length album, “Secrets”, due out soon, new material was a guarantee, and they kicked their set off with the album’s lead track, “The Enemy You Need”. It was immediately different from some of their older stuff, which has had a bit of a pop flare to it, but not this track, nor most of the others. It was full-blown Rock ‘n’ Roll all the way, and in a very engaging way at that, and they further pulled the onlookers in by rolling it right into their next song.
Vocalist Jenny Mann started to clap, requesting everyone else join her, and it was impossible not to. “This song’s called Revolution!” she said as they got it going. That first song was all it took for them to get warmed up, and during that one guitarist Tim Barbour and their bass player could be seen racing around the stage, trading back and forth between stage left and right and jumping on top of their boxes, one of which read “Blame”, the other, “Shift”.
After that track, which had some superb percussion parts courtesy of Nathan Saake, Jenny asked everyone to take a few steps closer, saying that the empty space in front of the stage just didn’t feel right, and everyone obliged. “This one’s called Ghost.” She said as they pulled out a track from 2011’s “The Black Rose” EP.
If they only did one old song this night, that one was definitely the best choice, and still meshes well with what they’re doing now, and once it was over, they got back to their new material with “Not Enough”. “…Rock ‘n’ Roll is on a decline…” Jenny said after they finished that song, which is all too sad a fact, and she thanked everyone for coming out in the middle of the week to see them and the other acts, and help keep rock music alive. She continued by noting that while they had played the area before, this was their first time in “The Deep Ellum”, saying she didn’t even know Dallas could be divided into different sections like that. “…Am I saying that right? The Deep Ellum?” she asked, before The Circle’s singer, Don, corrected her, telling her she didn’t need the “The”. “You’d think I would have researched it a little before I got up here…” she joked, adding she wanted to hear the story and why it is a significant part of town after their show.
During all that, Tim was swapping out to an acoustic guitar, while Nathan left the stage. “…We don’t do this often…” Jenny said, after mentioning this was going to be a cover song and referring to the fact that they apparently don’t always do covers. They put their acoustic spin on the Foo Fighters classic “My Hero”. It was a nice way to break things up, and after finishing it they got back to their all electric mode, while Jenny asked everyone to call their radio station and request this next song. “…Tell them to stop playing Nickelback and start playing some new shit.” she said as they got “Let Go” going.
They were at the tail end of their set, doing the title track itself, “Secrets”, which became a bit of a sing along as Jenny led everyone in what to sing on one part, while at another Tim said he wanted to see everyone jumping up and down, something everyone seemed eager to do. They then brought it into the final song of their 37-minute long show, which I think was “I Swear, I’m Gonna Leave This Town”.
Their time went by too quickly, but with a show as fun and enthralling as the one Blameshift puts on, it’s easy to get caught up in it and lose track of time.
It was a fantastic show they did, filled with energy and passion, and they were much better than even what I remembered them being. No doubt a product of the near non-stop touring they do.
As for their new stuff, it’s without question their best music to date, even sounding a little more mature than their previous EPs. And live, it translates exceedingly well.
I don’t believe “Secrets” will be officially released until early November, but if you go see a Blameshift show, you’ll be able to get a copy there (the record is incredible, by the way). Otherwise, wait it out and check out their EPs in iTUNES. They also have a few dates left on this current tour, including October 9th at the Drunk Horse Pub in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The 11th at the Wizard Saloon in Hickory, North Carolina. The 12th at the Chili Cook Off at the Shenandoah Fair Grounds in Woodstock, Virginia. Then on the 17th they’ll be in Toledo, Ohio at Mainstreet.
Props to Torch Entertainment for setting up the show and once again bringing Blameshift through town, as well as getting some killer local bands on the bill. The turnout might have been weak, but those who were able to make it out this Wednesday night saw a show they surely won’t be forgetting any time soon.
If you’ve been in Deep Ellum at all over the past years (and probably further back than that), you’ve no doubt seen Anthony Streeter, who often worked security at the Curtain Club. Hell, out of the nearly six and a half years I’ve been going there I remember seeing him at almost every show I caught there.
Recently, he was diagnosed with MS, and to help him out with the bills he incurred, a couple of benefit shows were put together, one of them being this night at, where else, the Curtain Club. And for the first time in a long time (or ever?), I went to concert not because I wanted to see the bands playing, but for the cause, despite having never known the man personally.
Enamored was the first band I caught this night, getting their short 25-minute set going the same way their “Requiem” EP does, with “Empty”. The turnout may have been small so early on, but those who were there should have been hooked immediately by that one, and a handful of people gravitated towards the stage. They then brought things into a little more of a raw rock mode, Thomas Stewart pounding out the drumbeats of “Release” with a fury, while Aaron Heles and Robert Albritton walked about the stage, picking at their guitar and bass, respectively.
Soon, Aaron led them into the next track and one of my favorites, “Bring Down”. “I’m never coming back now, I’m leaving this all behind. My life is moving forward…” belted out front women Jules at the start of the track, her deep, powerful voice gripping the listeners. One of their non-album tracks, “Better Off Alone”, came next, before kicking it back into overdrive with “Escape”.
A little break followed as Aaron had to tune his guitar, while Jules (somewhat) joked that it was “beer thirty”, before laughing that they needed a new guitarist who could tune faster. Once he got it ready, they showed off their softer side with “Free”, which has a great ebb and flow to it. “…This one’s called Slaves and Toys.” announced Jules before their next song, and before one of those songs she informed everyone they would soon be going back into the studio to record some of those, which will definitely be something to look forward to.
With that, they had reached the end of their performance, having time for only one more, which was “Never Again”.
Enamored keeps getting better, and even in just the few months since their CD release show (when I last saw them) I’d say they had stepped it up a bit.
Robert and Aaron seemed to have a little more presence, at times being very meticulous and calculated with what they were doing, and at others simply attacking their instruments. As for Thomas, he’s a machine on the drums and is a good fit with the group, while Jules has an amazing vocal range capable of hitting all sorts of notes.
Go see ‘em if you can, they won’t disappoint you, and you can check out their EP in iTUNES.
Eaglesnake was the next band up, and personally, I wasn’t a huge fan… At least not of some of their stuff.
Along with the typical band lineup, they had a singer who also played a keytar, and then a hip-hop vocalist. Now, I’m just not a real fan of hip-hop, which made it impossible for me to get into some of their stuff. On the other hand, the songs the other guy song, which were more rock based, were quite good and very enjoyable.
They did end their show in a killer way, though, as the keytar player used the instrument to play the Star Spangled Banner in its entirety, delivering a stellar version of it.
Next up was Fantasma, whom I was looking very forward to seeing, not just because they’re a great band, but also because it had been around a year since I had last caught one of their shows.
In that year’s time the band has been working on some new music for their sophomore release, material that filled their show this night, including their opener. It was great tune, featuring some killer bass lines from Daniel Castaneda. Only one track from “Stories of Earth Women” found its way into their set list this night (at least only one they played), and that was “Panda”, drummer Michael Kudlicki cutting loose on each chorus when the song exploded, truly getting wild on his kit.
A string of new songs followed, beginning with “Fire and Blood”, and after another one this loud rock band who has electronic elements laced into their music slowed things down. Dale “DJ” Wilkerson Jr. started singing, mostly a cappella, knocking out the first few lines of the song before his band mates eased into the song. It was (at least to start with) very different from most of their other stuff, which allowed it to stand out even more.
That different pace was continued as they pulled out a cover I had forgotten they had even done, and one you certainly wouldn’t expect from them. “I had a way then, losing it all on my own…” DJ crooned over the sample track for “Lights”, of course originally done by Ellie Goulding. It’s a far cry from the same song you’ve heard blanket the radio, though, as Fantasma puts much more of a rock spin on it.
While gearing up for the next song, DJ passed the time by cracking a joke. “I think the band before us made up half the crowd.” he said, before looking at guitarist Chad Abbott. “Was that a bad joke? I’m sorry, that was a bad joke.” he added, however, I found some humor in it. They were then informed they had enough time for one more, and with another new one already queued up, they went with it to close out their 29-minute long set.
I thoroughly enjoyed it all. First off, this was the first time I had seen them since Chad (best known as rhythm guitarist for SouthFM and in slightly more recent years Social Jab), and his slick, precise style of playing meshes well with the band. And while on the subject of new things, those songs seem to be a grade above what was on their first album, which is saying a lot.
As for the rest of the group, Dan, Michael and DJ all turned the heat up a bit, too, and put on a fierce live show.
Do check out their record in iTUNES, and keep an eye on their FACEBOOK PAGE, as they do have a few more shows before the years end.
Closing out the night was local heavyweight Adakain. I had seen the band a few years ago (at least) at a show here at the Curtain, but that was well before they went through a lineup change, adding Ryan Ray on as the lead singer. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this.
They proved themselves a force to be reckoned with right from the start, with their high-octane show, guitarist Taylor Walding, bassist Jason Schauer and singer and guitarist Ryan Ray all thrashing about to Ryan Carroll’s drumbeats. That energy never ceased as they tore through their first couple of songs, before getting to one that was a staple of Ryan’s past project… Sort of. Assuming the title is still the same it was “How Could You?”, albeit a reworked version from what I was used to, which in the end seemed to bring the song new life.
Upon finishing it they took a breather. “…The music scene is badass…” Ryan stated, talking about how we take care of our own, and all came together this night for such a worthy cause. He then ditched his guitar for their next song, allowing him to be even more mobile than before, even doing a bit of jumping around the stage.
“…This song’s about never giving up on your dreams…” Ryan told everyone in setting up their next track, elaborating that so long as you have that drive you need to keep at it, because your dreams can’t come true if you’re not pursuing them. “This one’s called That Feeling.” he finished as the ripped through it. The following song also got a little explanation, and it was about letting people change you to please them, and how you shouldn’t. “…Fuck that, am I right?” Ryan said before they launched into one song that really stood out to me.
They wound it right into the next one, and in the little lull that connected the two Ryan again thanked everyone for coming out, acknowledging that everyone had to probably be up early for work the next day and how they appreciated the audience staying late. Not much noise was made when he asked who all did have to go to work the next day. “What, are you all drug dealers?!” he joked.
Now, in the final stretch of their 43-minute show, they pulled out some of the songs they’ve recently written, even working on them with Jeff Blue out in LA. One was the heavy hitter that is “Honey”, a vicious song that has some mainstream rock elements to it, and it’s my personal favorite from this new batch.
Longtime Adakain fans cheered as the band then pulled out the lead track from the “Silhouette of Lies” EP, “Sky is Falling”, which was proof to the adage, “save the best for last”, ‘cause it was without question one of their best songs this night. “Bleach it Out” came next, giving it a run for its money, and then they wrapped up the night with “Hello World”.
I’m going to have to try to make it to some Adakain shows a little more often…
The incredibly high-energy show they put on was more than enough to completely captivate you, and mixed with their great songs, they’re a pretty powerful force.
Adakain has been around for a little while now, making waves in the D/FW area and even across the country when they’ve toured, and maybe now, with this newest lineup, they can finally break through. The potential is definitely there.
You can buy the bands older stuff in iTUNES, while they have their three newest tracks up to listen to on their REVERBNATION PAGE, and stay tuned to it for future show updates the band will have.
It was a great night, and it was nice to see so many people come together to help a guy out. The turnout could have been better in my opinion, but still, for a Sunday night, it wasn’t bad at all.
Kudos to the bands who played and the fans who came out, whose sheer attendance proved how much they care not just about the local music scene, but the community, and the people who are a part of it.
It seemed like it had been a little while since I had caught a show at the Doublewide, but with the one the venue was hosting this night, it was impossible to pass up.
Here Holy Spain was headlining, doing their first show since releasing their latest EP at the end of July, and they had a couple of other Dallas acts opening up for them.
Dead Mockingbirds was first up (despite being listed as second on the Doublewide’s website), and this trio got the night off to an excellent start.
They crammed quite a few songs into their 41-minute long set, and their fifth one in was one of my favorites, just being a killer song that singer and guitarist Kenneth Everette Pritchard shredded on, and the bass intro that Trinidad Diaz started it off with was very enticing. Upon finishing it, Kenneth thanked the people who had made their way into the showroom. “…It’s one of the new ones…” he stated.
They weren’t all about rock music, though, throwing in some humor here and there, like after their next song when Kenneth thanked the sound guy, referring to him as their new best friend. “…He doesn’t know it yet, but we’re going to go hang out at his house after this…” he joked, before assuring the sound guy they weren’t going to do that.
They knocked out a couple more, and near the end of one Kenneth dropped to his knees at the center of the stage, fiercely and quickly plucking the strings on his ax for a knockout solo. Matthew Crain then got his turn at a solo, banging about on his kit as they fired up another song. After that one that proceeded it, Kenneth announced it was about “schizophrenia”, which made sense, since it was a pretty wild and crazy sounding number.
They then headed for the end, cranking out four more tracks, including one of the cuts from their recently released 45 record.
I was pretty impressed by these guys, who threw down with the best of them, being very forceful in their performance.
With that, the live show is definitely where it is at for this cohesive trio, who were obviously there to entertain and had fun doing it.
I did have a little trouble hearing Kenneths’ voice at times this night, though I’m not sure if that because the mic volume could have stood to be turned up or what. Still, that was far from being a strike against them.
If you go to the bands REVERBNATION PAGE, you can download some of their songs for FREE, and also keep an eye on that page for future show updates.
Sandwiched in between the opener and headliner was Plissken, and with a name like that, I was interested to hear what they were like.
Personally, they were way too heavy for my tastes, what with the throaty screaming their singer did, and because of that I zoned out on them.
It just wasn’t my cup of tea, but if that’s something you enjoy, check ‘em out.
A little after midnight Here Holy Spain was ready to go, and they had a set planned that would traverse their entire career, from old to current, and even some new material.
A sampling of that newer stuff began their show, kicking off an onslaught of songs. It was titled “Boss Level” (according to the set list), which they quickly sailed through, bleeding it seamlessly into the title track from their 2009 LP, “Manic”. Drummer Scott Brayfield and bassist Erica Guagliardi created a tight knit and quick rhythm section on that one, which eventually gave way into one of their other new ones, “Warning Signs”.
They didn’t stop there, Scott transitioning them right into the next song, before singer and guitarist Wes Todd fired up the first notes of “Drive Out West”, one of the instant classics from the newly released “Under the Undertow” EP. Now only “Division” remained untouched, and they fixed that quickly with the lead track from that full-length, “No Love”. Most of the tracks from that album are filled with a lot of bitterness and anger, which Wes harnesses well, as the raw emotions seep out into his singing. They had a couple more offerings from that record, too, continuing with “Waiting, Wearing Your Skin”.
It only took 15-minutes for them to work through those six songs, and while some of them are shorter, that still speaks to how efficient the members of Here Holy Spain are. As they paused to tune, Ben could be overheard confirming with Wes what the next song was, which was “Can’t Control”. “…They just can’t control it. They try, but they can’t…” Wes joked with his band mate, while they readied themselves. On one of the lines from the second verse, “…My beating, bruised, screaming bleeding heart…” Wes took most of the aggression out of his voice (compared to the album version), giving it a different feel, and it actually made the song sound even better.
To eliminate anymore downtime, Scott tapped on some of his cymbals while the rest of the group tuned, getting things ready for one last song from their new batch. It was called “Physics”, and Ben seemed to be the one that stole the show on that one, having some killer and catchy parts on both the verses and choruses, simply killing it. That one was definitely my favorite from this new set of tunes, and it was followed by my favorite from that new EP they put out in July.
While simple, the opening chords of “Golden Gun” are mesmerizing, and lyrically it’s easily one of the best, deepest things Wes has written. “…How long ‘til the dawn is coming? how long ‘til I drop? I never knew you better than I never knew my god…” he sang before the rest of the outfit joined in as it roared to life.
After one last timeout to get prepped for their final songs, they pulled out the emotional “Even The Bright Ones Burn Out”, before segueing it right into the turbulent “Way Out One In Five”, which concluded their 36-minute long set.
As usual, they knocked it out of the park, and I (and I’m sure other fans) enjoyed hearing the assortment of songs from their previous, current and coming albums. Speaking of that, their new, new material is fantastic, and even though their new EP is barely two months old, it has me looking forward to what their next release will be like, even though that’s probably at least a year away at this point.
If you want to hear some good rock music with a flare of punk, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a group better than Here Holy Spain, especially in the live setting. On that note, they do have a show at Club Dada on October 12th. And don’t forget to pick up their music in iTUNES, and if you collect vinyl, you can get a hard copy of their split vinyl release from IDOL RECORDS online store.
Trees had put together a rather last minute local rock show for this night, with it coming together only about two weeks before. I knew nothing about it, aside from that Paco Estrada was playing it, doing his first full band Dallas show in three months, and it had been even longer than that since I saw him last, so there was no way I could miss this one.
There were only two opening bands, and I never caught the name of the first, probably because they had so many friends/fans out they didn’t think to drop their name, assuming everyone already knew who they were.
They didn’t do a lot for me, and part of that was due to their singers’ voice. In fairness, he did note he had been sick, even saying himself, “…My voice sounds like a bag of dicks…”, but all the same, there was only one song they did where I thought he sounded good and it was enjoyable. Aside from that, their music seemed a bit generic, very of pop/rock, and in a tiresome way.
A trio took the stage next, known as Nine Left Dead who had made the trek from Oklahoma City.
They opened with an instrumental song, which made me curious if that was going to be all they were, but starting with their next song, one of the members began singing (I believe it was the bass player).
The further they got into their show the more I enjoyed it, and some of their songs I thought were pretty well crafted, having some excellent music beds that were even catchy at times.
The only bad thing was they never really got any momentum going, often taking lengthy pauses in between songs, and at one point near the end the singer apologized to everyone, citing they were currently in the studio working on some stuff and they didn’t have much planned.
They could definitely stand to polish and tighten things up, but they are on the right track.
Last minute like this, you can’t expect to get an all-star lineup, but at least they were able to get one all-star act, and Paco Estrada and his band were about to take the stage.
When it came time for Paco and his band to start, pianist Scotty Isaacs began, softly striking the keys as he created a heavenly intro to “American Girls”. That was just one of several songs they did from the upcoming “Bedtime Stories” record, and Paco led them in winding it into their next song with some licks on his acoustic guitar.
Afterwards was when Paco formally introduced himself to everyone, though most of the meager crowd was probably already familiar with him. After another one of their new jams, they launched into one of the true gems from Paco’s recent years, and one that is just starting to find a life in the live set, “The Girl with the Heart of Steel”. “…The love you gave that could never be returned. So you took the knife and you cut your hand. You swore by your blood they could never break your heart again…” Paco belted out before they reached the chorus, “And that’s when you became the girl who could never feel…”.
He has penned a number of excellent songs over the years, and that one is close to the top of my list for being one of his best, especially in terms of lyrics. The new stuff kept coming with another catchy song, after which Paco slightly joked about one of the cities he frequents. “…Austin’s a good place for music, Dallas is of course great… But there’s just something about Tyler…” he said, not meaning any disrespect to the town at all, rather just saying it had a different vibe to it.
Things got more lively when they busted out “She”, whose more rock sound allowed Joel Bailey and Ryan Thomas Holley to cut loose a little more on their bass and guitar, respectively. Still, no one seemed to take more advantage of that song than drummer AJ “Irish” Blackleaf. He went ballistic on his kit, having almost a robotic style of playing by keeping his arms fairly rigid, but he tore it up, all the while wearing a smile, quite obviously having the time of his life.
As they wound up most of the upcoming music, they started to tap some of Paco’s (more recent) back catalog, with the fan favorite “Whiskey Kisses”, which sounds so much better when fleshed out by the full band. It was followed by another song all about love, which Paco explained was about a fairytalesque love, where you’re more or less caught up in the moment. It was a beautiful track, with the line (which I think I got right), “…These are the moments that make the hard times worth it…” being one that really stuck out to me.
That flow kept going with “When We Were Made”, Ryan adding some excellent notes to the end of it, which, while somewhat subtle, were enough to take the song to a whole other level. “Breaking Down” then brought the night to a close, the song springing to life towards the end when Paco crooned parts of the chorus. I really don’t think I’ve ever heard that song sound so intense before, as they embarked on more of an instrumental portion. As it drug on, I started to wonder if they were going to tack a cover song onto the end of it, as is tradition, or if they had switched it up in their time off. Eventually, it was met with the one response I was hoping for, the music subsiding as Paco sang, “Did I disappoint you, or leave a bad taste in your mouth?” I still say the addition of U2’s “One” is the best cover they’ve mixed with that song yet, and it seemed to sound extra amazing this night.
Paco had stated that would be their final song of the night, so as soon as it was over, the house music started coming back up, while a handful of fans begged for an encore. Their request was met when Paco stepped back up to the mic and said they did have one more for everyone. That last song was “Haunting Me”, and it was a nice end to their 59-minute long set.
It was an excellent show, and after again hearing some of those new songs, it got me all the more excited for “Bedtime Stories”, which will no doubt be a great collection of songs.
Also, the full band serves Paco, well, and after years of having a rotating cast of musicians accompanying him, it’s good to finally see some starting to became mainstays, like Joel and Scotty. Hopefully Ryan will be able to make this permanent, too, because his voice and slick playing added some nice elements to things this night.
Next up, Paco will be doing a couple of Austin shows, one on September 26th at 219 West Rooftop on 6th Street. The following night he’ll also be playing Darwin’s Pub, with Ryan Holley helping him out on both shows. Also, check out his records, including the very new “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” EP on his BANDCAMP PAGE. (Also, check out this interview Paco did with DFW Undercover.)
Despite the low turnout (which was expected for a last minute show), it was good night, and Paco and his band were more than worth the cover price.
For this month’s Deep Friday, the Curtain Club was going with a specific theme, and that theme was chicks who rock. That meant only female fronted bands were gracing the stage this night, and I looked at it as a good way to see a couple acts I don’t see all that much, as well hopefully get turned onto some other bands I had previously been unfamiliar with.
By the time I got there a little before nine, the first band, The Neverending, was almost done with their show.
I caught maybe their last song and a half or so, and personally it didn’t do much for me, so I don’t think I had missed out on much.
Second up was the band who was responsible for getting me out here in the first place, and that was Drayter.
A lot of things had changed with the band since I last saw, such as half the lineup being replaced, as they worked in a new singer and drummer, and just the previous week they had, had their CD release show for their second EP.
I had at least heard the record before this, which only gave me more of a desire to see them live, and what better place to see them play then my favorite Dallas venue.
The three instrumentalists, guitarist Cole Schwartz, bassist Trajan Acquista and drummer Brandon Pertzborn kicked off their rather short 27-minute long set by jamming briefly, offering a prelude of what was to come.
“You’re not the only one with a loaded gun.” sang vocalist Nyssa Garcia, who took the stage once the music subsided, singing that line a cappella. It was the calm before the storm, as Brandon pounded out some rapid fire beats on his kit before they ripped into one of only two older songs they did this night, “Mouth Like a Weapon”. It’s still one of their best songs in my opinion, working especially well as an opener, and the two new members seemed to help flesh it out even better than before, intensifying it a lot.
They rarely ceased playing this night, instead doing some type of instrumental bridge between songs (something I love to see bands do, because it gives the show a much better flow), and upon finishing that song, Trajan had a short bass solo, with Brandon soon joining in on the drums. Coles’ guitar than sprang to life as he played the opening notes of one of their new songs, the instant classic, “Scream”. “…I wanna hear you scream, I need to hear you scream for me. Young hearts were meant to bleed, so bleed all over me…” Nyssa belted out on the second chorus, her voice sounding even more remarkable live then it comes across on the record.
They didn’t take much pause before Cole started softly plucking the strings of his ax, bringing the mood down just a bit for “Inside Out”, which was still a pretty rocking number. Afterwards, Cole and Trajan had to tune their instruments, charging Brandon with filling what would have been silence, and he did so by embarking on a drum solo. It seemed like it was going to be a short one at first, kind of tapering off maybe around a minute or so into it, before coming back in strong and with a vengeance, simply destroying it.
That solo eventually became the intro for “Follow Me”, a song that’s been reinvigorated with the new lineup, and another, albeit shorter drum solo proceed it, before the group continued working their way backwards through their latest EP, now tackling the second track from it, “Dangerous Games”. Upon finishing it, silence fell in the Curtain Club for the first time during their show. It didn’t last long though, as the audience (they had the place packed, commanding the largest crowd of any act this night) let Drayter know how much they were enjoying it with a roaring applause. Nyssa thanked them all, and when it quieted down, she did some more singing a cappella style. “Sweet lies.” she crooned three different times, accentuating the word “sweet” by stretching out the “e” sound. They then launched into the song of the same name, which is at time fairly heavy, and “Sweet Lies” brought their show to a slightly abrupt end, with Cole stating, “That’s it.” after they finished it, as the curtain closed on them.
I enjoyed Drayter the first time I saw them a couple of years or so ago, when they were mainly a cover band, and the last time I saw them, earlier this year, I thought they were great. That said, I don’t mean to undercut either of those shows nor the previous members who were in the band at that time, but what they did this night they certainly wouldn’t have been capable of seven months ago.
Nyssa is a powerhouse singer, and like I said, she somehow sounds even better live than what you get on the record. Not only that, but she was a pretty energetic front woman, too. Both she and Brandon add whole new elements to the band, and in turn I thought that made it easier for Cole and Trajan to step up their game. Both seemed more dynamic than even before, moving around the stage some of the time, and other times they stayed more on their respective sides of the stage, shredding on their instruments.
They were undeniably the best act this night, wowing me, and no doubt many other fans as well. The band accomplished a lot before the lineup change, and after seeing them this night, they will no doubt achieve a lot more in the future.
Do head over to iTUNES and pick up a copy of the “Drayter” EP, as well as the single “Mouth Like a Weapon”, which will only be a little over $5 with tax. So, very affordable. As for shows, they have a few lined up in October. One will be at the Tobian Auditorium in Dallas on the 12th, the next on the 20th in Mansfield for a music and arts festival, then they’ll be performing at another festival on the 26th, that one will be the Downtown Plano Arts Festival in (of course) Plano.
Things briefly deviated from the rock sounds when the next act, a female rap duo by the name of LTC, took the stage.
I’ll preface this by saying I do not care for rap/hip-hop music, yet on the flipside, there are two local acts that fall into those categories that come to mind, both whom I love.
As for LTC, I gave them a shot, sticking around for all three of their tracks they did at this debut show, something not every patron did.
“…Kicking ass and taking names…” and “…Girls just wanna have fun, too. With you or without you…” where just two of the liens that were often repeated on some of their songs, getting a little repetitive for my tastes.
To me, it seemed like your typical rap stuff, just from a woman’s perspective, at one point talking about Gucci handbags (or something from that label) and the next they were saying something about lighting one up. That’s all good, I guess, but is what draws me in about the two rap/hip-hop acts I do like (whose names I won’t mention, because I’m not big on the cross promotion idea when they are completely irrelevant) is the fact that one is incredibly inspirational. The lyrics are deep and will strike a chord with anyone, while the other group seems to embrace the fact that they are, in my opinion, a novelty act, but they own it and write good songs that will also have you laughing hysterically.
I didn’t get any of that in this little sampling of LTC, rather it just seemed like cliché rap. As for their rapping abilities, one was kind of decent, while the other could use some work.
They do have sex appeal, I’ll give them that, but I’ve never believed that, that’s a just compensation for lagging in the talent department, and that goes for any act.
There’s that saying that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master at what you do, in which case these ladies have a lot more time to put into honing their craft.
The next band had already setup beforehand, so there wasn’t much downtime in between the acts, and before you knew, Madwak was on stage.
They were a new one to me, and while I was debating taking advantage of the Deep Friday deal of getting into multiple venues for the one cover price and going and seeing another band, I decided to stick around for them. Their opener, “Daisy Queen”, was quite good, and despite the title, it was fairly dark sounding and very heavy, two qualities that bound all of their songs together.
Thomas Driver started them off on their next song, “Storm Crow”, with some ominous bass lines, the slower pace of the song aiding in making it sound pretty bleak, though it did really come to life for just a bit, with drummer Sunny Sustaita picking things up, while guitarist Tony Powell got to get more into it. I believe they followed it with “My Way”, but regardless of whatever it was, it had an extremely catchy music bed, with the guitar, bass and drums all working together and complimenting one another very nicely.
They then unleashed a new song on the audience. “…I hope I remember words… If not I’ll just make ‘em up…” joked singer Patty Wak, who also thought back and noted that it had been quite awhile since they had played something brand new. It went off without a hitch from my perspective, with Patty remembering the words just fine (or doing a great job at making them up), with the only thing being Sunny dropping one of his drum sticks, though he quickly recovered from it.
“…We like songs that are dark and creepy…” stated Patty, after she had announced their next number, “Into Darkness”. Those are two great adjectives for the band’s music, and they pull it off perfectly. “Give Me Money” fit that mold to a lesser extent, though still sounded just as kickass as everything else they had done, and they brought their 43-minute long set to a close with a few other tracks, even segueing that last two into one another.
They were a really good band, and for anyone who wants to typecast females as only being good at pop music (let’s face it, there are people like that out there), then Madwak was good proof that, that is not the case.
Eerie and haunting music seems to be their specialty, and one they pull off well, with Patty having a huskier singing voice that fit the sounds perfectly. They also created an interesting vibe on stage„ having mannequin heads placed here and there on the stage with brightly colored wigs on their heads.
All in all, they made me a fan, and hopefully I’ll catch them around every now and again.
If you go to their REVERBNATION PAGE, you can find several of their songs up for free download, so take advantage of that. Also keep an eye on the page for future show updates.
Silver Loves Mercury was up next, and about if not over a year since the first and only time I had seen them, and I was looking forward to finally seeing them again.
“We are Silver Loves Mercury, and we like it dirty.” Said front woman Roxi in a rather seductive voice before they ripped into the first song of their 40-minute long set, “Switchblade Vodka”. They didn’t seem to need any time to warm up, instead going full throttle right from the get go, Kitty shredding on his guitar, and during the guitar solo, the drummer stood up from his kit, twirling one of the drum sticks, before slamming back down on the drums.
They wound it right into another quick, catchy number, “D.M.T.U. Girl”, with Roxi taking a momentary break from racing around the stage, as she drooped to the floor, laying on her back while still snarling out the lyrics.”We have something a little new for you…” she said once that song came to an end, as they offered a taste of what new stuff they’ve cooked up. It fit the mold of other Silver Loves Mercury tracks, having some sweet guitar riffs, also boasting a nice rhythm section, which is rounded out by bassist Von Schultz, as well as having a dirty, sexy sound to it all.
“…And now that bitch is about to get sucker punched.” Roxi yelled as soon as the song ended, leading them into “Suckerpunch”, where the drummer repeated the twirling of the drum stick he had done earlier in the night, while Roxi spun the microphone in the air during the instrumental breaks.
They weren’t about to slow down, and Kitty transitioned them into their next tune, playing the hypnotic notes that begin “Owell”. They continued playing some stuff from their debut record, “Treasures of Gomorrah”, like “My Own Armageddon”, which allowed them to slow things down further with “Nothin’”. They picked things back up after that one, though, doing another intense song, which found Kitty laying down on the floor, still picking at his guitar, then Roxi set on top of him, straddling him for a few moments.
They continued knocking out song after song, next doing “Up”, with their drummer driving them into the next, then stopping after one more. Roxi took the time to thank everyone for coming out (they, too, had a very sizable crowd of onlookers). “…We’re not a one night stand, we’ll love you every time you come out.” she said when talking about how much they appreciated the support. They then got to the song that every fan of theirs had no doubt been waiting to hear, “Burn”, and once they finished the beast of a song, Kitty took a flying leap onto the drum kit, almost completely clearing the bass drum, knocking several pieces of the drum set to the floor, along with the drummer himself.
It was one hell of an end to what had been a very raw display rock, all of which reminded me why I was so drawn to band the first time I saw them.
One thing I mean by “raw” is that they don’t come across as being over rehearsed, instead just going with the flow of things. The of course you have another meaning, which is both their music and performance is brutal in the best possible, also oozing with just the right amount of sex to further reel you in, without coming across as classless or anything.
I’m definitely going to have to try to see them more often, because overall, this was a very fun show. Their next gigs will be on September 13th at Wit’s End in Dallas, with another Dallas show on the 26th at the Bryan Street Tavern. Then, on October 26th, they’ll be up in Wichita Falls at Fat Albert’s. And do go into iTUNES to preview/purchase their two records, one of which is an EP, with the other being a LP.
Koppur Thief was closing things out, doing their second show of the night, having played another venue a few hours earlier.
They had a great light show to accompany their performance, with a few multi-colored lights scattered about the stage, including one mounted on the bass drum that spun in circles, creating a sort of rainbow.
I stuck around for a couple of their songs, but they just didn’t mesh with me, so I decided to go ahead and call it a night.
It’s not that they weren’t good or anything, they definitely were, it just wasn’t up my alley.
If you head over to their REVERBNATION PAGE, you can find some free downloads of several of their songs. As for shows, they have one a month through the rest of the year (and I imagine more may pop up, too), all of which are at O’Riley’s in Dallas, with the next one being September 13th, then they have one on October 11th.
Kudos to the Curtain Club for going with the theme they did for this night. You may see a female fronted band on a bill here and there, but you seldom see a whole concert of nothing but that, and it was a nice reminder of just how many talented female fronted rock outfits reside in the North Texas area.
The Door was hosting some touring bands this night, and quite an excellent touring show at that.
The Dangerous Summer had been touring the country hot on the heels of the release of their third record, and one of the bands joining them on the tour was one of my favorites, Tommy & the High Pilots.
There was one local Dallas band on this bill, though, and that was The Happy Alright, who I happened to miss (the show did start at 6:30, after all.) But with a name like that, surely they were good.
Following them was a band from Portland, Oregon called Rare Monk, who I thought was hit or miss at times. On one of the first songs of their set, singer Dorian Aites was banging away on the keyboard while screaming into the microphone, screaming on what was really rather a poppy song. It just didn’t seem to fit with their overall vibe, but after that, they seemed to hit their stride, and I really enjoyed it.
Then they got to their final song, which was a cover. “…’Cause they’re fun to do…” said Dorian, stating why they were doing a cover. It was a Pixies song, specifically “Where is My Mind”, and it was kind of butchered, at times sounding like how you would expect the track to, but it was the vicious screams that moved it so far away from the original.
Aside from those two mentioned songs, I really dug ‘em. This standard rock band did also have a violinist, though, which was played by Isaac Thelin, and while he was no doubt a great violinist, the instrument just didn’t go with their style. It sounded more like the guitar, and instead of complimenting it and working together, they more both sounded the same, to the point it was overkill.
Their tour with The Dangerous Summer is almost over, but they have a few California dates left, and you can find specifics out on their TOUR PAGE. And if you want to listen to/buy their music, you can do so on BANDCAMP.
Santa Barbaras’ own Tommy & the High Pilots had the main support slot on this tour, which, while it might not have been “their” tour, it was still a big one for the band, being the first time they had hit the road since releasing their fourth disc, “Only Human”, in late May.
That album is the basis for this being the “Year of the High Pilots” (there was a small sign taped to the drum kit that read “#YOTHP”, which evidently began as a joke but has become a small-scale movement), and that record was pretty much the exclusive source for their songs this night.
Their 40-minute long set began with bassist Steven Libby adding some extra percussion by beating on a floor tom, in synch with what drummer Matt Palermo was doing, as they eased into the vibrant “Young and Hungry”. They managed to pull in a lot of the audience with that song, and while the crowd was relatively small, they still congregated around the stage, obviously liking what they heard. As for me, even having seen the band half a dozen times before this, I was left in a state of awe just by that one song, simply because their new sound is so different from their past stuff, being even more upbeat and so enthralling.
They didn’t waste much time, as Matt bridged them into their next song, with Michael Cantillon adding some beautiful notes from his keyboard over it, before things exploded into “Innocent”. “…Sometimes I wake up, deep in the night, and I want to tell you I’m innocent…” sang singer and guitarist Tommy Cantillon on the chorus, his voice soaring just as the song itself did. They slowed things down slightly with the title track of the new record, “Only Human”, which is one of the songs that really utilizes the vocal harmonies of Tom, Mike and Matt, creating some gorgeous textures that you never would have guessed they were capable of, but after hearing it you wonder why they haven’t done more of this sooner. Towards the end of the song, when it slowed as Tom repeated the songs opening line, Mike moved away from his keyboard, busting out some nice dance moves and making the show all the more fun.
Isaac Thelin of Rare Monk joined them for their next song, violin in tow. Following their previous song nicely was my favorite from this new album, “Devil to Pay”, which allows Tom to truly show off his vocal chops while he sings the first verse a cappella. “…The way I’ve acted, you’d think I’d know better. I never wanted to become your dead letter…Waking every morning just to wash my dreams away…” he crooned, before his band mates joined in with some harmonies. “So tell me, do you love in the worst way still?…” they sang on this beautiful song, which was only enhanced by the violin, making it seem all the more sweet.
Upon finishing it, Tom quickly strummed the strings of his guitar, giving the impression they were about to step it back up, before suddenly taking it off and holstering it in a stand. He then returned to the front of the stage, slowly pulling out a harmonica as he spoke to the crowd. “I’m going to tell you all something I learned a very long time ago…” he said, “There is no such thing as a wrong dance move…” he finished, informing the audience he’d like to see them moving around to the song, which he pointed out was one they didn’t write. Within the last year, they’ve made their cover of the Talking Heads “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” a staple of their shows, and personally, I was ecstatic to find it still had a place in their set list. They don’t merely cover the song, they put their own twist on it, making it completely different (and I dare say better) than the original. About half way through, Tom left the stage, running throughout the crowd, showing off his dance moves. Some people appreciated it, like the one woman he stood back to back with, and while she was surprised at first, she kind of danced with him, having a good time, while other people looked at him like he was either spastic or having a seizure, and they didn’t know what to do. It was all in good fun, though, and I found it all very amusing. While all that was going on, Mike had switched out to a acoustic guitar, and shortly before Tom got back on stage, Isaac rejoined them, this time with a saxophone, another instrument he appeared to be an expert at, and it gave the song a real nice quality.
The jokes flew after that, when Tom asked everyone if they were ready for The Dangerous Summer, then added, “…It’s been a fairly safe summer so far.” Some people found that to be hysterical, and after noting he was glad it hit the mark with some people, he said something to the effect of, “This shirt is a joke.”, referring to his wardrobe, specifically his possibly loud shirt.
They then got back to their original stuff, with the lead track from “Only Human”, “Get Up”, which again found Steve briefly playing a tom, before getting down to business on his bass. It was one of the shorter songs they did this night, but hands down the most intense, too, and if you somehow hadn’t been feeling it yet, that tune was sure to reel you in. “Somebody Make a Move” came next, and while it is an original of the High Pilot’s, it came across like it could easily be a cover. I mean that in a good way, because it has so many elements that songs seem to need to have these days to get radio airplay, and while it may not be a single of theirs, I could definitely see it being a good one for airwaves. Once it was done they had one last one to offer to everyone, segueing directly into “Outta My Head”, which was a bit of a sing along for their small number of long time fans, and gave what was one of the best shows I’ve even seen them do a very impressive finish.
Seriously, this show is second only to the show I saw them do in Austin during this year’s SXSW.
Part of what makes the High Pilots so good as the fact that they are continuously evolving, rather than finding one particular groove and sticking with it. Their new music is so different from any of their previous stuff, even more infectious in some aspects, and is certainly their best stuff to date.
Sure, there were a few older songs that I wouldn’t have minded hearing this night, but at the same time, it great getting to hear so much new stuff, especially when it’s all such standout material. It created a sense of wonder for me, just soaking it all in and enjoying it.
Even their live show seems to have benefited from the new songs, as they’ve tightened things up a lot, as well as have gotten a little more active and engaging.
Tommy & the high Pilots are one of those bands that really should be famous, something you’d surly agree with once you listen to their music if you haven’t already done so, and hopefully, this really will be the year of the High Pilots.
They have a couple of dates left, one on September 13th at San Diego Music Thing in San Diego, CA, and the other show on the 14th in Fresno, CA at the Victory Café at Hardy’s. Check ‘em out if you’re in the area, and you can find all of their records in iTUNES.
Shortly after they finished, it was time for The Dangerous Summer to hit the stage. I was a newer convert to the band, having only listened to them a week or two before this show, but was instantly made into a fan, and was looking forward to what the current Los Angeles based group would bring to the stage.
This tour was in support of “Golden Record”, their latest LP, so of course they played a lot of stuff from it, including opening with the lead track, “Catholic Girls”. By this time, the crowd numbered around sixty people plus, not a large turnout, but they were definitely a rabid fan base, some even shouting along to ever word of the song, something you don’t often see fans doing when it comes to new material.
Still, it was the “classics” that everyone was really wanting to hear, and all it took was one of the guitarists, Cody Payne, playing the first few chords of “Where I Want to Be” to get people really riled up. They continued cranking out some hits from 2009’s “Reach for the Sun” record, segueing things right into “A Space to Grow”, with Ben Cato doing a bit of a drum roll to lead them into the following track, which got one of the loudest responses out of everything they did this night. That song was “The Permanent Rain”, which was overflowing with emotions, and AJ Perdomo did a great job of packing them all into his singing, while busting out the bass lines.
The onslaught of songs ceased for a moment after that, allowing Michael Cantillon of Tommy & the High Pilots to make his way on stage and behind the keyboard, while AJ chatted with the crowd. They toned things down just slightly with another new one “Miles Apart”, before getting to some stuff from the only other album they had yet to touch on this night, and that was “War Paint”.
The title track itself was a beast of a song live, and Cody and fellow guitarist Matt Kennedy really got to cut loose, as did AJ, moving about whenever there was a break in the singing. “Siren” came next, and fitting nicely with it was the new tune “Honesty”, before they picked back up into their more aggressive rock/pop sounds with the hard hitting “No One’s Gonna Need You More”.
“…I still feel you in here, I still live inside your eyes…” sang AJ near the start of “Knives”, a slightly dark and brooding song that creates an excellent mood. “Sins” was almost just as fierce, while I found “Of Confidence” to be a highlight of their set, and was a prime example of what an exceptional writer AJ is. The deepness of the lyrical content continued with the heavy (emotional speaking) “Northern Lights”, and while it was the softest thing they did this night, it also seemed like it was one everyone had been wanting to hear the most.
The audience was a bit disappointed when AJ stated they had one song left, obviously wanting the show to continue much later into the night, but “Never Feel Alone” seemed to appease everyone, and brought their 59-minute long set to a close.
Or so it seemed…
AJ went over to their stage hand, who had been busy tuning guitars for them all night, and spoke to him for a second, before returning to center stage. “So, we do have one more song for you all.” He said to everyone, no doubt making the crowd curious as to what this final song would be. It wound up being another gem from “War Paint”, “Work in Progress”, which really did cap of the show this night.
They put on a really great show, one that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. Their primary focus was no doubt the music, as they tore from one song right into the next, but AJ was also comfortable behind the mic, and could hold a conversation with the audience. He often reminisced about past Dallas shows, asking if anyone came out to different ones from years past, and more than a few fans had been in attendance at those.
AJ even went as far as to say he always felt at home when he was here in Dallas, quite a nice compliment.
They’re pretty intense live, though the most gripping thing is still the lyrics, which are sure to resonate with everyone. Even this night I personally had some trouble hearing AJs’ voice, and his vocals could have stood to be turned up a little more, but still, it’s definitely the best element the band has.
They’re at the tail end of this tour, with shows at Soma in San Diego, CA on September 12th, the 13th at the Alley in Sparks, Nevada and the 14th at the Victory Café at Hardy’s in Fresno, CA. From late September to early October they’ll be over in the UK and then in late October they’ll be traveling to Australia, and for full dates on those shows, go HERE. And if you don’t have any of their music, pick it up in iTUNES.
It was a great night of touring bands here at The Door this night, with some making me a fan, while others made me into more of a fan.
A weekend isn’t complete without spending at least one night at Curtain Club seeing a show. That’s not to say I’m there ever single weekend… But just about every single weekend, and this night was a good night to see a show there.
Five bands were rocking the stage, most of whom I had heard of before, though hadn’t seen, and ever others where brand new to me, which meant it was surely going to be an interesting night.
Starting off the show was a young band by the name of Outcast Hero, who calls the suburb of Flower Mound home. And by young, I mean that each of five members where in their mid to late teens.
They opened their 34-minute set with “Innocence”, one of many originals they did this night, instantly revealing they had some nice chops. It was a really good song, and guitarists Bill Hall and Ben Jester, bassist Marco Molina matching the song, exploding when it roared to life, as did front man Kevin Easley. They didn’t have many onlookers, but the handful of people that were there seemed glued to the stage. They knocked out several more songs, with Kevin occasionally adding a third guitar to the mix, and also playing a keyboard from time to time, before they got to a cover song.
“…You might know this one.” one of them said, before they busted into Jet’s “Are You Gonna be My Girl?”, doing a pretty spot on version of it. They then offered up a few more originals, and sandwiched in between these final three songs was the piano heavy “Home”, which was surprisingly beautiful, and probably the best song of their set, in my opinion.
Given their age, they were quite good, and came off looking like they had been rocking stages longer than what they probably have been. That’s not to say there’s not some room for improvement, as far as becoming more cohesive and such, but that will no doubt come with time and getting more experience under their belt.
Taking the stage next, and on the opposite end of the experience spectrum, was Spill.
I had seen these veteran rockers once before, doing an acoustic set here at the Curtain a few years back, and it became readily apparent that they were a completely different beast when they were plugged in.
They hit the stage with the strength of a hurricane, and only managed to get better the longer they played. Todd Hunter was a beast of a front man, jumping around here and there, even spinning in the air while doing so, and just commanded your full attention. Guitarists David Binnings and Seth Ludeman, bassist Larry Henderson and their new drummer did a great job at holding their own, though, each one being energetic and slick with their playing, so no matter where you looked, there was something constantly going on.
They ran through several songs during their time on stage, I believe doing the three singles that comprise the “The Cruelty of Time” EP, which would be “The Sway” and “Silly Little Things”. It was “Promised Heart” that was a truly gripping song, though, and one that I could easily see being widely played on the radio, if it can only get that kind of attention first. “This is a song I promised my son I’d do a music video for, but I didn’t take the proper steps…” Todd stated to the crowd before starting the song, adding that he’d appreciate anyone who wanted to film it with their phone and send him the video. “…That way I won’t be a failure of a father, again…” he joked.
It was a sweet love song at its core, and balancing out the serious stuff was some more humorous covers, like their rendition of Taylor Swifts’ “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Yes, they really did cover that pop song, but they stepped it up so much, making it a true rock song, I didn’t even know what it was until they reached the chorus, proving it was a far cry from Swift’s original version.
there show was filled with many other songs, which I sadly don’t know, as well as some jokes, like when Todd pointed out they were probably one of the only bands to get two plaques on the “Wall of Fame” at the Curtain Club, pointing out their current one at the very end. “…We’re on the way out… After this I think it’s just going to fall off into this trash can over here…” he said laughing, referring to their plaque being on the very end.
They were by far the best, most professional band of the night, and they brought an arena-sized show to this club setting. So know I have to ask myself, “If Spill has been around for thirteen years, why have I barely heard of them?”
Yeah, I have seen their plaque(s) over the seven and a half years I’ve been a patron of the Curtain Club, but had never seen them do a real show until now. Perhaps I’ve just been living under a rock or something, and didn’t even know it.
Hit up their FACEBOOK PAGE to stay up to date on their future shows, and you can buy their three current singles in either iTUNES or BANDCAMP. At the very least, just give the music a listen.
Following them was another long running band, The Farstar, who has a decade long career under their belt.
They were another group I had heard of before, going as far back as the days of Myspace (that dates things, doesn’t it?), but had never seen them, and recalled little about their music. In fact, through all these years I, for whatever reason, assumed they were an indie band, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Their first song got them off to an explosive start, and they didn’t let up much with their second song. I think part of why I was so impressed was because it was so different from what I was expecting, being full-blown Rock ‘n’ Roll.
“This song’s called The Healing Kiss of a Blowtorch.” said front man Shannon Barrett, setting up the song from their “Strange Kids” EP, before segueing it into the subsequent song from that record, “I Used to Dream of Astronauts”, which was a bi slower than what they had been doing. Afterwards they dug deep into their catalog, pulling out a song from their first release, “It All Boils Down to Speed”. That wasn’t the only thing they had planned from “Broken Down and Wandering”, though, and they followed it with the lead track from the album, “Welcome to the Show”. I believe it was also on that song that they welcomed former guitarist Chris Hathcock on stage, adding a third guitar to the mix. Shannon explained it afterwards, saying that Chris was part of the band when they wrote and performed that song, and that it only seemed right to have him join them as a guest on it.
They cranked out another song before finding out they had enough time for one more, which Shannon left up to the crowd, giving them three or four options to choose from. “Cash Only” won out, concluding their 38-minute long set.
Kind of like the band before them, I began wondering why I hadn’t seen The Farstar before now., and how I’m going to have to start seeing them a little more often.
Their songs are fantastic, especially the lyrics, which are usually pretty deep, and their performance was really enjoyable. Each of them, bassist Michael Maney, guitarist Chris Lockaby, drummer Lance Lindsey, as well as their other guitarist and Shannon killed it on stage, constantly moving about and doing things to keep you watching.
I don’t think they play just too often now, but stay tuned to their FACEBOOK PAGE for show updates. As for their music, you can get most of it for free on BANDCAMP, while their latest LP is only five bucks. Check it out.
Considering I had been here since early on, things were moving rather quickly, and next up it was time for We the Ghost.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma based group was returning to their Dallas home one last time before releasing their new record a few months from now, which meant this would be the last time for their Dallas crowd to hear some of their older songs live. They made that point clear on Facebook in advance of the show, and honestly was a key reason I came to the show in the first place, to get one last live fix of some of their “classic” material.
Not only that, but this was also the first time (at least that I had seen them) where they had the full band in Dallas, with violinist Jocelyn Rowland finally accompanying them. I caught just a few songs with the full band at one of their gigs during SXSW back in March, so I knew what a difference that one instrument could make, and was looking forward to hearing/seeing a full show with it.
The night wasn’t all about the older stuff, though, and they opened their 37-minute long set with their newest single, “Take Somebody Home”. “All eyes up front, all eyes on me…” sang acoustic guitarist and lead singer Beau Tyler, which seemed to serve as a call to the audience, and one that was hard ignore, given their catchy, original brand of music.
“…I think I sprained my ankle last time we played here…” Beau mentioned, joking that it was nice to be back and on two feet, before doing a song from the “White Noise” EP, “Let Me Know”. Jocelyns’ violin proved to be a critical part of the song, and one I never really realized was missing before, but it made this love song all the more beautiful. As it came to an end, Beau hopped up on one of their boxes at the front of the stage, which had the band’s name written on it, holding his guitar in the air as he picked at to bring the song to a close. They then wound it right into another newer song, which I’m guessing may be called “Love in Reverse”, since that’s part of the chorus, and followed it with yet another song I was unsure of.
Dain Samuelson, who stood on the drum riser next to drummer Jimmy Adams, really got to put his djembe to use on their next song, the more reggae sounding “She’s Gonna Fly Again”, which also featured a special guest. Towards the end of the track, Matt McHan ceded his guitar over to Neil Swanson, who briefly joined the band on stage. “The Son of Swan, himself.” Said Beau introducing the stellar guitarist by referencing the instrumental trio he plays in. Neil riffed for several seconds, adding a great element to the song. While Neil was shredding, though, I couldn’t help but look at bassist Ben Mosier, who’s a killer bass player with some serious swagger, but as a guitarist, he is still one of the best I’ve ever seen.
The hits from their first EP kept coming with “Your Remedy”. “I can be your cure. It’s the only thing that I ever know for sure…” Beau crooned on the chorus of the song, a song that I really hope isn’t one that’s being worked out. The mood got a little more fun when they busted out their rendition of Paula Abduls’ “Straight Up”, which they’ve certainly left their mark on, keeping a fairly pop based song, while making some changes so it better fits their style of music.
With their 37-minute long set drawing to a close, they pulled out some of their best material, like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, and their small gathering of fans seemed ecstatic that they ended with “Right Where You Want”, a song from Beau’s previous band, that has (thankfully) found a new life with We the Ghost, because it really is one of their best songs.
This was probably the best WtG show I’ve seen, and despite a favorite of mine, “Wash These Sins Away”, being noticeable absent, it was still a nice assortment of songs they played. It was also nice to see a full band We the Ghost show, and that violin does help propel their already unique sound to a whole new level. And on another note about the show, I enjoyed the incense they had burning during their set (an element that I’m guessing they’ve borrowed from singer/songwriter and friend Paco Estrada), which creates more of a setting and seems to make the show more intimate.
If you want to hear something different, you should really give We the Ghost a listen, because I’ll guarantee it’s different then just about anything else you’ve heard before.
You can find both of their EP’s in iTUNES, and they will have another record coming out sometime before the year’s end. As for shows, they’ll be playing a couple of gigs at the College Bar in Stillwater, OK, one on September 20th and the other on November 1st. They’ll also be back in North Texas at the Queen City Music Hall in Fort Worth on September 21st.
It was late, around one in the morning when the Bedlam Brothers took the stage to round out the show. The time didn’t deter their small army of fans and friends, though, who moved right up front once they started.
“…Please save me, save me from myself…” crooned guitarist and vocalist Nick Santa Maria, as the southern rock trio kicked things off with the very southern rock sounding song, “Save Me”. Despite the softer start it gets off to, it proved to be an excellent opening song once it sprang to life, and if anyone was feeling tired, it surely woke them up.
“Dallas!!!” screamed Nick as soon as they finished that song, with drummer John Flores immediately firing up the next one, the heavy and loud “We Ride Tonight”. They weren’t about to slow down after that, either. Perhaps they were trying to make up for some of the lost time (since they had told fans they’d be going on earlier than when they actually did), or maybe they had planned to have this flow in the first place. Nonetheless, they barreled right along, launching into the rocking “First Time”, which got nearly everyone moving around.
They had definitely hit their stride by this point, and in taking a short break in between songs, bassist Craig McLaughlin mentioned that their next song required the audience to sing along. Nick led the audience in what to sing, just to make sure they knew, though it didn’t seem like people not knowing or forgetting it would be a problem, what with this dedicated little fanbase. The crowd did their part, shouting out, “Mary was a tortured soul!” after Nick belted out the name that is the songs title, “Mary Rose”.
They, or rather Nick, got a little nostalgic with their next couple songs, doing one that was from his previous band, Skylines. They entered into more of a rock realm with “Not Enough”, which featured a truly wicked guitar solo, and followed it up with another song from past projects, which Nick noted also happened to be a Skylines song for a bit. In between those two tracks, it was mentioned that John had thrown his back out recently, but was still playing, a feat that was both applauded and laughed at. Craig said something along the lines of, “Give it up for premature ageing.”, getting a laugh out of everyone, band mates included.
John’s back wasn’t the only that was out, either, and after that other song his hi-hat cymbal broke. It didn’t seem like a big deal, though, and was fixed quickly, and while he worked on in, Nick filled the dead air with ease, chatting with everyone and thanking them for coming out and staying out late.
They got back to it with “Run Run Run”, then slowed things down a bit with “240 Miles”. Upon finishing it, Nick joked that they had now met their quota for the night, and that they were going to bring it back up for the final song of their 38-minute long set. It was another older one of his, which had, had life in two of his previous bands, and he added he was fortunate enough to have a band mate from each of those past projects in attendance this night. Everyone seemed all too familiar with “My 9 to 5”, again singing along as the band cranked it out, and at one point in the song, Craig hopped up on the drum riser, facing John, as they both rocked out.
The Bedlam Brothers rounded out this night perfectly, delivering a pretty intense show, that I think was the best one I’ve seen them do yet.
They have that great, gritty southern rock sound, from the music to the vocals, and a raw, explosive show to match. A show that gets better each time I see them, I might add.
Give a listen to their “Saddle Up” EP, which is under six bucks in iTUNES, and keep tabs on their FACEBOOK PAGE for updates about future shows.
It was another killer night at my favorite Dallas haunt, and I’ll say it again, because I haven’t in awhile. The Curtain Club is the best place to go if you want to see a good local rock show, and every weekend, there’s at least something that will catch your interest.
Club Dada was the place to be this night (at least in my opinion), as hometown favorites Air Review were doing what would serve as a tour sendoff show.
I hadn’t seen the band in well over a year (coincidentally, that show also happened to be at Dada), so I was well overdue for an Air Review fix. And on another note, Dada was looking pretty good, too. I had only been a couple months since I was last there, but they had changed things up a little since then. They’ve installed what I’ll call a cabinet (for lack of a better word) in front of the stage, which are where the monitors now reside, freeing up some space on the stage.
And one band that could really use that extra amount of space was Black Books, who was one of two Austin bands on the bill this night.
The six-piece indie/rock/pop outfit opened with a song that both Ross and Meg Gilfillan co-sang on, resulting in some gorgeous harmonies, before she strolled back to her keyboard, where she would spend the rest of the night. They had a great pace at first, transitioning from one song to the next, and after their second tune, drummer Chris Evans started a steady beat on the tom, rolling them into the next song.
“…This is our second time in Dallas…” said Ross, when they finally paused, pointing on he liked the welcome they had, because even at this early hour the venue was already pretty packed. The duel keys from Meg and Clarke Curtis were instrumental in setting up the dreamy pop sound of “Like You Best”, making it extremely bewitching. That lasted for about the first half of the song (which seemed longer live than what the album cut is), and in the latter part Kevin Butlers’ guitar and Mike Parkers’ bass roared into action, along with the drums, making it a song to be reckoned with.
“That song’s about making out.” Ross said after the track had come to an end. They unloaded one more song on everyone’s ears, before wrapping up with the lead tracks from their two EP’s. The first of those was from their most recent “Aquarena” EP, and “Favorite Place” was a thing of pure beauty, and inarguably one of their most amazing songs of the night. At this point, Ross check with the sound guy to see how they were doing on time, finding out they had enough left to do two, but after not being able to convince his band mates of it, and the audience seeming pretty indifferent to it all, they opted for just one. “…Y’all are wanting to see Air Review…” he said, adding they just hurry up and get off stage. Their 29-minute long set then concluded with “The Big Idea” from the “An Introduction to” EP, returning them to the soupy pop sound they pull off so well, and was an excellent end to a show that I wish had been much longer.
I had seen what I guess was their only other Dallas show, which was about a year and a half ago now, and loved them then, but they were amazing this night.
They traversed several different styles of music in their songs, very much eclectic, so there’s no chance that any of their songs are going to sound the same, and even more impressive is the fact that they can pull it all off so well. They can be the loud rock band when they need to be, then switch to an indie/pop band at the drop of a hat, and sound at home playing all of those genres.
Black Books is a sensational band, and one you should really check out if you have a chance to. You can find their music in either iTUNES or BANDCAMP, so take your pick. They also have an Austin gig lined up for September 5th at The Mohawk, and hopefully their Dallas shows can become a little more frequent, too.
Following them was another band from Austin, and actually, Ross of Black Books returned to the stage to introduce his friends in Good Field.
“When You Walk” began their 37-minute long set, and was one of several songs they did from their self-titled debut. It was a good introduction to their sound, which I thought had more of a nostalgic rock vibe at times, reminiscent of the 60’s to 70’s era. They cranked out another song before stepping things up a bit with “These Dreams”, which was just one of several songs that showed off what an exceptional guitarist that singer Paul Price was. The guy has some serious chops, and made it all look relatively effortless.
One of their shortest songs of the night, “Something’s Different”, was followed by what was one of their longest, which had a lengthy instrumental section. For starters, I’m not a fan of instrumental anything (most of the time), and this song was no exception, and it was stretched out for so long, it just seemed to drag the song out. The outro was rather cool, when Paul dropped to his knees and fiddled with all the pedals for his guitar, creating all sorts of distorted effects, but it wasn’t enough to save it.
Afterwards, while tuning for the next song, Paul pointed out that bassist Michael McLeod was playing with a broken finger, having broken it on a hiking trip a week or two before. It seemed irrelevant, though, because he was often tearing it up on the bass, making the broken finger seem like it wasn’t even a hindrance. They ran through a few more songs after that, before finishing with “Gimme a Reason”, which served as a fitting end to their show.
Overall, I liked it, and they were a good band with some really good musicianship. There were some times here and there where Pauls’ voice hit some notes that it’s not suited for, and it did make you (or at least me) cringe ever so slightly, but in the end, they were still enjoyable.
You can find their album in iTUNES, and they do have a hometown show coming up on September 28th at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin.
With the out of town bands done, it was time that things got more localized, and the Denton based Pageantry was the first of the more hometown bands this night.
I had heard about the band for a little while now, but had yet to actually see them, and this wound up being a great introduction to the band.
It didn’t take too long for the trio to get set up, and they promptly launched into their first song, which was one of many newer ones they did this night. It was a great song, immediately capturing my interest, and they never waned. The marvelous title track of their new EP, “Friends of the Year”, seemed like a definite favorite, at times showing off a softer side of singer and guitarist Roy Robertsons’ voice, as he sang in a falsetto voice at times.
Upon finishing it, he encouraged everyone to move a little closer to the stage and fill in the empty gap. “…You can touch me…” he said, answering one girl’s question, before adding, “Please don’t, though.” Roy then started them in on another album track, “Dirt”, which boasted a very strong rhythm section, which was comprised of drummer Ramon Muzquiz and bassist Pablo Burrull, yet the song had a rather serene quality to it, and was a personal favorite of mine. They rolled through another song, or perhaps it was two, but if it was they were segued it so flawlessly into one another, it was hard to tell. Another song that was patched into the previous one was “Disaster”, which was as good a rock song as you could hear, and the guys of Pageantry totally owned it.
They wound their 36-minute long set down with two more of their newer tracks, one of which found Pablo doing a good deal of backup singing on the chorus, his voice adding an extra punch to what Roy was already singing, and their final number was quite good, too.
Pageantry sounded great, and while their music may not be anything new, it does have a very unique quality to it, setting it apart from most other music. A large part of that should probably be attributed to Roys’ distinct, fantastic sounding voice.
They definitely delivered this night, putting on an amazing and energetic show, and personally, I thought they were the best act of the night.
You can check out Pageantry’s record on either iTUNES or BANDCAMP, and they have plenty of shows lined up, too. This Friday, August 30th, they’ll be at Hailey’s in Denton. They’ll be doing a bit of touring in September, and for the full dates and info, check out their TOUR PAGE. However, they will be playing in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Arkansas, so if you happen to live in those states, see if they’ll be coming near you. They also have a few other Texas shows lined up and scattered about late September through October.
Once they finished, a majority of the crowd wondered out to the patio to chat with friends and smoke, while those that remained inside quickly staked out spots in front of the stage in anticipation of Air Review’s show. By the time the sound check rolled around, the fans came back in, and it sure looked like this show came very close to being a sellout.
The quintet opened with the gorgeous “Rebel”, the lead track from “Low Wishes”, and was just one of many songs they would do that had most of the band harmonizing together, albeit in smaller doses on this song. A sense of excitement filled the room when Justin Robinson started the drumbeats of their next song, with Richard Carpenter and Dragan Jakovljevic layering some light guitar notes over it. It was their classic, “My Automatic”, which is a pretty rocking number at times, particularly at the end this night, and during the stellar instrumental outro, when Dragan dropped to his knees and proceeded to shred on his axe, leaving everyone amazed.
There was barely a pause in between songs as singer Doug Hale jumped up from his keyboard and grabbed his acoustic guitar, working his way to the front of the stage. Dragan also switched instruments, readying what looked like a lap steel guitar, and those were the primary instruments for much of “H”, another knockout number of theirs. It grew into a louder song by the end, though, and along with the key parts Richard was adding to it, Justin and bassist Jeff Taylor helped escalate it.
“…This is the first couples skate of the night…” Doug told the crowd once he was back behind the keys, stating that the next two songs came from their first album. The first song was a retooled version (retooled since the last time I had seen them) of “All Because You’re Mine”. At times, I personally thought the keys had a slight techno sound to them, being very different, but also breathing new life into the old fan favorite. And it was a fan favorite for sure, with nearly everyone chiming in as soon as it had started, and the voice from the crowd nearly overpowered Dougs’ later in the song, when everyone joined in singing, “…All it takes, all we have is what we make…” They rolled it right into their other oldie, “At the Switch”, which was without question their most rock based song of the night, briefly returning the fans to their original sound.
“…I think that was the first song we ever wrote as a band.” Said Doug, sounding a little unsure about it, before he again switched out to his acoustic guitar, while Jeff took over on piano duty. Everyone was delighted to hear their the single from their latest album, “America’s Son”, and after knocking it out, Doug pointed out how nice it was to be here, because it had been awhile since they had done a “proper” Dallas club show. The reason for that was because they’ve been playing out of town a lot, “…but you guys are better…” he added, while his band mates geared up for the next song. The ethereal sounding “Waiting Lessons” was another song that caused the fans to rejoice as they excitedly sang along to it. The multi-instrumentalist Dragan acted as an extra percussionist on that song, beating on a tom in exact time to the beats Justin was churning out. Jeff then split his time on the bass and that additional tom for their next song, “Animal”, which sounds phenomenal in the live setting.
With that, they had already played most of the nine tracks from “Low Wishes”, and Doug said next up they were going to do an ”obscure” cover song. “…I know it seems like we’re always doing covers, but our album’s only thirty minutes long and we need to fill sixty minutes, so we have to do something.” he joked. But right before they started, trouble struck, when the trigger Justin was using suddenly quit working. After a minute or so some said they should just move on without it, until Doug realized something. “That’s going to suck for the new track.” He pointed out, while Jeff and Justin continued to work to fix it.
To kill time, Doug made everyone aware that this was Justin’s last show with Air Review. “…But anything could happen…” he added, informing everyone who might not have known that Justin had left before years earlier, then decided to come back. Doug was quick to point out that there were no hard feelings between any of them, and after saying how amicable it all was, uttered, “Asshole.”, which received a laugh from everyone. And as chance would have it, right after he said that was when the trigger began working again, as they launched into their cover song. It was “Tender” by Blur, and they did an extraordinary rendition of it, making it completely their own.
They had made mention of a new song, and they unleashed it next. It mined the same vein as some of the songs on their current release, but I felt it had a little more of an electronic vibe to it, which sounded quite good and made it just a little different than any other Air Review song.
“This isn’t a sexual thing.” Doug clarified to everyone as he pulled his shirt off, revealing the under shirt he had on, before laughing and saying, “Because I’m so sexy.” They were almost done now, and for their final two songs Doug again used the acoustic ax, and first up they did “Young”, which quickly turned into a clap along for the fans. They then wrapped things up with one more uplifting and overall positive sounding song, which was the title track itself, “Low Wishes”, and was a brilliant end to the 61-minute long set they did.
Having not seen Air Review in so long, I had honestly kind of forgotten how incredible they are, and how much more so they’ve become in the sixteen months since I last saw them.
From well written lyrics, to catchy music and beautiful harmonies, Air Review really does seem to be the full package. And after listening to their new album more than a few times since its release earlier this year, I have warmed up more to their new (or technically current) sound, verses what they were doing when I first became a fan.
If you like indie music, you’ll love these guys, and you might be in luck, too, because they are about to do some touring. They’ll be kicking off their tour on September 3rd, playing in Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama. They also have some Texas dates in late September, one on the 20th at Common Grounds in Waco, the other on the 21st in Austin at Scoot Inn. ANd for full info on their tour, go HERE.
This night wound up being a nice change of pace for me, seeing some bands I don’t catch all that often, or had never seen before, and each one certainly delivered a show.