Thursday, October 31st, 2013 – Halloween with Serosia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 – Secret of Boris

Round two at Curtain Club was this night, and spending two consecutive nights at my favorite Deep Ellum spot is an excellent way to spend the weekend in my opinion.

5 Billion and Counting was kicking things off this night, and even though I got there about 8:50 or so, the group was mostly done with their set. That ended up being okay, because honestly, they were much heavier than what I personally like. Still, what they do, they do well, and there were moments I found myself really enjoying a portion of a song. Besides that, they put on a pretty killer live performance.

Now, if you are into heavier music like what these guys do, check out their music in iTUNES and stay tuned to their FACEBOOK PAGE to find out about future show dates.

Second up this night was a band I knew I’d like, and that was Greysmyth, whom I was excited to see, not just because they’re a great band, but to see how they had grown since debuting their current lineup about two months prior to this.

They got off to a stellar start as rhythm guitarist Spuds Berryman cranked out some awesome notes with just a dash of feedback, before Brayton Lyons tore in on the drums, with the rest of the group soon following suit. That was the excellent setup for the explosive opener “Feed the Need”, which showcased a whole new Greysmyth then what I had seen before. It was apparent from the get go that they were all more in synch and cohesive, with lead guitarist Jerrod Nelson and Spuds putting a noticeable amount of tact in their playing, while also shredding away on their axes, and bassist Kobe Garinger rounded out the pulsating rhythm section. Al the while, Justin Ranton was moving all about the stage, towering over the crowd from time to time when he would jump up on the monitors from time to time, belting out the lyrics, “…Feed the need, my intention is to get close to you…”

They were a whole new beast for sure, and they kept moving along with some other tracks, the next of which featured a killer guitar solo courtesy of Jerrod, while the one that followed it was a track of epic proportions that took the crowd on a real journey. The next track was nearly just as good, and had another knockout intro, with Brayton doing some light tapping of his kit with Spuds soon lacing some sweet riffs over it, but it was Kobe’s hefty bass lines, which made your internal organs shift about, that really set things off.

They were really hit their stride and were owning it, so I was a little bummed when Justin announced they had one song left. That song was “Avalon”, which he informed everyone they had made some slight changes to. Having only heard it once before, I can’t say what those changes were, but they only served in making it a more bad ass tune. And a little closer to the end of it Spuds jumped off the stage, going over to the stack of speakers on the left side of the stage and rocking out for a few seconds, before he wound his way back up on stage. Justin was also killing it during this song, which had an infectious chorus that I believe went, “…Take me away, send me out to sea. I’ll be okay, it’s my destiny…”

It’s a hell of a song, and was the perfect way to end their set, or at least it would have been. Through some odd twist, things were running ahead of schedule and they had an additional ten minutes, resulting in them telling everybody to stick around as they quickly decided on what else to play. “…We’re so efficient at what we do, we’re done early…” Justin said laughing, also saying they had, had everything planned out to the second.

That gave them time for two more songs, extending their set to 38-minutes in length, as they busted out two heavier songs, the first of which was “Minotaur”, and the closing number was much more hard rock than their other material had been, though it sounded great.

This might have only been the third show they’ve done with this lineup, but you could tell their time in the rehearsal room has paid off, because they an amazing amount of chemistry, which resulted in a very dynamic show. As a front man, Justin was even more reminiscent of how I remember him being from his previous band, so despite having not played for a little over a year, it hasn’t taken him too long to get back in touch with his performer side. And by the way, he’s one hell of a singer.

The whole band was incredible this night, and if they can keep things at this level, if not exceed it, it shouldn’t take long before they really start carving out a name for themselves.

You can see them right back here at the Curtain Club on July 26th, where they will be part of an all-star lineup of bands, so don’t miss it.

Up next was the only out of town act on this bill, and that was the San Antonio based Memory of a Melody, who was the main support act for the headliner, Serosia (who got Memory of a Melody on this show in the first place).

I’d heard a lot of good things about them over the last year or so, and was eager to finally see them live and see what exactly they were like.

This hard rock (borderline metal) outfit got started with their latest single, “Between the Eyes”. They might not have much of a fan base in Dallas at the moment, but that song called quite a few people in from the patio, gathering around to watch this quintet do their thing. A couple minutes into the song there was a pause of sorts, and you could really hear the sample track that was playing concurrently with the track, and that sample was the “Mad as hell” speech from the film Network, a speech that a lot of bands seem to be incorporating into their music now days. And all that was before Wade Sigue tore into a soaring guitar solo.

I believe they followed that with another newer single of theirs, “Mouthful of Razors”, which was one of a few songs I wasn’t too keen on this night. Going back to the sample tracks, they can be beneficial to a band, if used correctly, but the one that played over this song was the throaty screams Mario Galdos conjures up on the recorded version. Live that completely overpowered the singing he was doing, even burying his voice, making it appear like he was lip-synching. I get that, that’s used for the effect and to make it sound identical to the album version, but it didn’t work well, at least not this night.

That quickly slipped from thought with their next track, and one of my favorites was the one that came after it, “’Til Death Do Us Part”, from 2011’s full-length album “Things That Make You Scream”. “This heartache tears me apart. You’re not hear with me, it’s so hard to breath… You were everything that’s meant for me.” Mario sang on the chorus of that catchy hard rock love song. The songs from their debut record kept coming with “Pieces”, which, if memory serves me correctly was another song hindered by the screams from a sample track, though “Break Away” was another gem of theirs, while “Darkest Hour” was pure Rock ‘n’ Roll, just as it should be.

Their 33-minute long set went by rather quickly, and as it wound down they busted out the title track, the hard-hitting “Things That Make You Scream”, before closing (I think) with another single, “Mask”.

Yeah, there were a few elements I didn’t like, which I don’t feel I need to repeat, but aside from that they were incredibly solid. The energy they put into the performance was topnotch, and it was only aided by their smoke machines, which spewed some clouds of smoke into the air, often in synch with the music.

Wade and fellow guitarist Roel Castillo, as well as bass player Joel Martinez, Mario and the band’s drummer could and did throw down with the best of them, making a worthy opener for their friends in Serosia. And despite how what I said may sound, I don’t at all have any problems with Marios’ voice. He’s one hell of a singer and has a mighty voice, it was just on the handful of songs where the sample tracks were used as backing vocals that he couldn’t compete with them, and those tracks could stand to be turned down a little.

If you want to check out their music, I’d suggest first going to their REVERBNATION PAGE where you can find four of their songs for FREE download. If you like it, head over to iTUNES and complete the collection.

They might not have been the last band of the night, but Serosia was the headliner (or at least co-headliner), and this was their first Dallas gig in nearly five months. Yeah, this show was long overdue, and at 11:22 things got underway.

They used an intro song that played for a minute or two before the curtain was finally (and slowly) drawn apart. Once the center stage was revealed, front man Lucas D’Agata lunged towards the front of the stage, letting out a deafening scream as he jumped on top of one of the monitors. And with that, they were off…

Guitarist Derek Troxell, bassist Joseph Kuban an drummer Anthony D’Agata tore into “Ventriloquist”, getting things off to an intense start, as the song is a perfect blend of their hard rock and metal sound, with Lucas nailing some higher notes at times, while also breaking into a brutal scream at other points. “…We are Serosia, and welcome to the fucking party!” he roared after finishing that track, while his band mates bleed the final notes into one of their newer songs from the “Variables” EP, “Friendly Fire”.

They were in complete charge of the crowd (which was probably 60+ people) as soon as the curtain had opened, due to their vigorous live they put on, thrashing all about the stage, and they weren’t about ready to let up, either. “…I don’t know if you fucking heard me. We are Serosia, and this is Criminal!” Lucas shouted as they moved right along to the single from 2011’s “The Vehicle” EP.

Thus far all those songs had been blended together relatively seamlessly, but now they took a break and Lucas stated they were going to play some newer stuff from their current record, “Variables”. Derek then began their next song with the rather peaceful notes that start “The Architect”, which is a bit of a slower one by their standards, but certainly didn’t slow their performance up, and both Joseph and Derek were still shredding on their instruments. As it neared the end, Lucas dropped to his knees, crooning on the final lines, “…Change your mind today, you know I’m told it’s safe for you to say…” Anthony pounded out a few more loud beats as the song concluded, then bridged things into their next song by letting up and keeping a soft, steady beat.

Soon, Derek and Joseph finished fleshing out the music bed for “Sway”, another lighter track. “…You speak in silence in ways I cannot… You have the power to fly but you fail to try…” Lucas sang early on, showing off exactly what type of vocal range he’s capable of as he hit some fairly high notes, before the song burst into its full rock glory. Those are newer songs, but not brand new, however, they had one of those to do, too.

“…This one’s called Reduced to Memory.” Lucas informed everybody as they launched into the killer song that will most likely be on a future record. Before going any further, they took a moment to finish shouting out all the bands who were sharing this bill with them, as well as thanking their fans for coming out. “…It feels like were having sex. Like this is one big orgy…” Lucas said before they fired up one of the fan favorites from the “Perspective And Balance” EP, the forceful “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars”.

At this point they had two songs left, and one was their current single, “Superposition”, and the crowd was asked to participate a bit closer towards the end, chanting along with Lucas, “I feel a war!”. That went on a few times, as everybody slowly joined in making the cries louder, and on the fourth time he looked back at his brother. “Drop this shit.” He said before jumping back from the forefront of the stage as the song roared back to life, “I feel a war, fast approaching like a storm…” For the final song of their 41-minute set, Lucas announced they were taking it back, doing “The Eye of Providence”, the closing track from “Perspective And Balance”, and that raw song was a fitting end to this show.

Like always, they put on an amazing show, and they’re one of those bands that only knows how to go full throttle, putting on a brutal live show that will wow you every time. Believe me, ‘cause I haven’t always been a fan of their heavy rock stylings, and while I have come around to their music and highly enjoy it now, it’s the live show where these guys truly excel.

They’ll be back here at the Curtain Club on August 2nd for Deep Friday, and at the cost of only $5 to get in, that will be steal considering all the great talent on that bill. As for their music, you can purchase it in either iTUNES or their store on REVERBNATION.

Closing out the night was Secret of Boris, and I was extremely excited to see them. It had been nearly a year since the last time I saw them, and finally things were aligning so I could catch them again.

They’ve devised a fun little intro track since I last them, and it sounded like a crowd excitedly chanting the band’s initials, “S!O!B!”, over and over again. When the curtain opened, the three instrumentalists, drummer Ryan Scherschell, bassist Ryan Ragus and the newer addition to the group, guitarist Ryan Byrd were already riffing a bit. Though it wasn’t until front man Cameron Taylor ran up on stage, sporting a cowboy hat and some sunglasses like what John Lennon wore, when things took off as they immediately opened with a fan favorite from the “You Ghost” record. I had forgotten what a stellar song “Retro” was, especially live, as Scherschell tore away at his drum kit with a fury, and Cameron began singing the song that deals with the current state of the music industry (or even entertainment industry in general.) “…You’re always looking backwards, bastardizing plagiarizers, loophole-ing hits already been done. Before you were born…” It was fun tune to open with, and as the three Ryan’s finished out the song, Cameron was seen lightly beating his chest with his hands in synch to the beat.

Of course their fans love those songs, which are three plus years old at this point, since they know them so well, but this show was also about some of their newer material, like one song I’m pretty certain I had not heard before, “Tonight”. It was great track with a booming rhythm section, and Ragus was often seen slapping his bass, both the strings and the body, giving a nice effect to it. Before starting another newer one, Cameron grabbed his guitar, taking up rhythm duties for “A Girl”. “…I met a girl who was oh so, so beautiful, but so ugly on the inside…” he crooned on the chorus of the song that serves as an example that beauty can be skin deep.

They didn’t stop while Cameron set his guitar back down, and Scherschell got to do a seconds long drum solo, before Byrd began plucking at a few of the strings on his axe, cutting loose once the sample track intro kicked on. Secret of Boris is known for doing some covers of songs you typically wouldn’t think a rock band of their style would do, and this ended up being one of those songs, which was A-Ha’s “Take On Me”. It was a little heavier rock rendition than the version most people now, and as great a job as they did on it, it was still kind of comical in a way seeing a band like SOB doing a song like this, but then again, that’s what makes them so enjoyable.

Afterwards, they got back to their originals, and Cameron offered a more G rated explanation of their next song, at least compared to other ways he’s introduced it in the past. “This song’s about S’ing D.” he said as they got the somewhat funky “What You Became” going. If anyone is still in need of an explanation, the chorus should do it, and it goes, “Say you’re coming up, but I see you’re going down, on whoever’s around who could make your name…” That was one of a handful of songs I was hoping to hear, and it was followed by another, but first Cameron took a moment to say how much he was loving the excitement of their little crowd, particularly a group on the stage right side. Much of that group was being extra boisterous, aggressively banging their heads to the music, and he also pointed me out for repping an “old school” SOB shirt. He then picked his guitar back up, using it for the next couple songs, one of which was a single from their LP, “The Watcher”. I’ve always loved the mood that track creates, walking a fine line between being a love song and a song about stalking a person. “I’ll be watching you, from the distance but not far, I’ll always know where you are…”

“…You know what, y’all are something else.” Cameron, who had now ditched the cowboy hat for his signature fedora, said to the fans, which is the standard segue into “Something Else”. They kicked out one more classic, “Falldown”, before arriving at their most current single. “I have one question for you!” shouted Cameron, trying to get the crowd pumped up. “What’s the question?” he then said, turning and looking at Ragus, who merely shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t know. “I thought we rehearsed this?” Cameron said, unable to keep from laughing, then noted it wasn’t important anyway. He still posed a question though, and that was, “How Do You Feel?” That one’s a rock song with a serious groove, and one people could really dance along with if they wanted.

Like all the other bands that played this night, SOB’s set had passed by insanely quick, and now to wrap up their 43-minute long set they were going to do the staple closer. “This song’s about a girl from right here in Dallas.” Said Cameron, still giving the same vague, intriguing explanation he always gives “Virus”, before walking off stage. He had done this a few times already this night, any time there was a lengthy instrumental portion leaving while his band mates rocked out. When he returned to the stage, he pointed the microphone out at the crowd, allowing the audience to sing a line before he took back over, though the fans got to help out again later, repeatedly shouting the line, “Were do we go from here?” near the end.

That was a fitting end to things, but as the band thanked everyone for coming out, the cries for an encore started. They talked about it briefly, then told everyone if they really wanted to hear one more, they were going to have to make some noise, something the audience did no problem. “…Are y’all ready to push it!?” Cameron asked. While that earlier cover may catch some people unfamiliar with Secret of Boris off guard, this next one would truly shock them, because they sure don’t look like a band that would cover Salt-N-Pepa, though “Push It” is one of the mainstays of their repertoire, and one they own by putting their unique spin on it.

I had forgotten how amazing Secret of Boris is live. They are just as high-energy as their friends in Serosia, albeit in a slightly different way. They were in show mode the instant they started, with Scherschell’s tight, assertive drumming, and Ragus occasionally thrashing around while owning it on his bass. As for Byrd, this was the first time I had seen SOB with him in the lineup, though he’s been with the band for a little while now. He’s a perfect fit with the band, being an energetic, slick guitarist, filling the void that easily could have been left by Taylor Walding.

Point is, if you want to see a killer rock show that is also a fun one, go check out Secret of Boris.

They’ll be playing at Tomcats West in Fort Worth on July 27th, and then on August 3rd they’ll be at The Hanger in Greenville, TX. They’ll also be playing the Couvapalooza music festival in Vancouver, Washington on August 17th. You can find some of their music for FREE download (including their latest single) on their REVERBNATION PAGE, while you can purchase their “Your Ghost” record in iTUNES, and if you’re interested, check out their old record when they used the moniker LaME.

It wasn’t just a great night, but a great weekend of music here at the Curtain Club, which is why I think this is the best venue in Dallas. Because it’s the only one that you are guaranteed to be able to see an all local rock show on any given weekend.

Friday, November 30th, 2012 – Drowning Pool: Version 4.0

It’s always risky when a band, especially a well established band, welcomes a new member into the fold, particularly a new singer.

Not to say the other members in any band aren’t integral parts of it, but a singer has the ability to completely change a bands sound. Because of that, I’m usually a little worried when any band changes vocalists, because there’s always that chance that it could turn me (and other fans) off of the music.

It’s something the Dallas Metal band Drowning Pool knows all too well, though, having been through a couple vocalists since the death of the bands original singer, Dave Williams. They recently found the latest addition to Drowning Pool, after former singer, Ryan McCombs, left the band late last year.

This night marked their first hometown show with Jasen Moreno in the lineup. As usual, they were performing at Trees, and I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this would probably be one of the biggest hometown shows the band had done.

Several acts were opening, including one I didn’t even know was on the bill. I’m not sure who they were, though they were not from Texas, and I’m relieved I only saw the last minute of their set.

They were very Metal, which is a good fit for this bill, but with the excess screaming that I heard, they were too Metal for my taste.

The Fort Worth based, No Scope was on after them.

I had seen them a little over a year ago, when they also opened for Drowning Pool, and didn’t much care for them then.

That held true this second go around, mainly because I just don’t dig their singer’s voice. It’s more of a borderline scream (again, that’s just not what I’m into), but even when he does sing, he doesn’t have a very strong voice.

On the other hand, they do put on a good live show, and it was better than what I remembered it being. And whereas the last time I couldn’t wait for them to get off stage, I did at least find some enjoyment in the performance this night. It probably didn’t hurt that they didn’t even get a 30-minute set, though.

They have a few records that you can purchase in iTunes, and for more information on the band, check out their FACEBOOK PAGE.

There was one local act after them, and it was Serosia.

I had missed their CD release show a couple months ago, so I was pretty excited to finally get another chance to see them.

As the curtain opened on them, guitarist, Derek Troxell, was hitting the back of the guitar’s neck, creating a killer sound. Soon, drummer, Anthony D’Agata, ripped into their first song with some hefty beats, while Joseph Kuban proceeding to attack his bass and Derek started thrashing about. The song was one from their new “Variables” EP, “Friendly Fire”. It was an explosive way to start the show, and they didn’t let up, following it very closely with “Criminal”. “I am concealed…” sang/shouted singer, Lucas D’Agata, upon starting the song. They did another tune after it, and afterwards Lucas announced they were now going to play some stuff from their new EP. “…We recorded it up in New Jersey with some guy named Cristian Machado…” he said, adding, “If any of you know that guy. Oh yeah, he’s in Ill Nino.” That got a roar from the mass of people, most of whom seemed more excited about seeing Ill Nino then Drowning Pool this night. “This song’s called The Architect.” Lucas finished. It’s one of the bands slower songs, in the sense that he sings on the entire song, but he brought out his signature brutal scream for parts of their next song, “Sway”. Sadly, they only got a 24-minute long set, and at this point, they just had one more to go. “I feel a war… A war’s going to start tonight.” Lucas said to the crowd, who seemed unsure of what he was talking about. The Serosia fans knew, though, and it was the song I had been most looking forward to hearing from them. “I feel a war, fast approaching like a storm…” he sang, while his band mates tore into “Superposition”. Lucas tired to get some audience participation towards the end, asking everyone to join him and shout, “I FEEL A WAR!”, though not enough people did to really make it audible. After a few times of that he resumed command and finished out the song by flailing around while producing some violent screams.

Honestly, even though I’ve only seen Serosia a few times, I’ve seen much better shows from them than this one was. Lucas’s voice was off. It was worst on the first song, and while it did improve steadily throughout, it never hit its full potential. But what they were lacking in sound was more than made up for by their performance.

Very few bands in the Dallas are (or probably the world for that matter) bring it like Serosia does, where everything is left on the stage. And even them on a bad night is about then ten times better than what most bands could ever hope to do. Really. It’s the raw energy and passion they all put into it, and more often than not, it’s hard to figure out who to watch, because they are all very intense performers.

They have a show coming up on December 31st, if anyone wants to ring in the new year with them. It will be at the Boiler Room in Dallas. And to listen to/purchase their music, go to either ITUNES or their REVERBNATION STORE. A few of their records are on iTunes (including their newest one), but the latter has their earlier stuff.

So, I mentioned everyone was pretty pumped for Ill Nino, and I overheard countless conversations by people talking about they couldn’t wait for them to take the stage.

I wasn’t one of those people, though. I knew the band was pretty hardcore Metal, and while I may like Serosia and Drowning Pool, what I listened to of Ill Nino seemed to push my tolerance for the genre. But I was just going to have to suffer through it.

Now not being a fan, I obviously don’t know the band’s music, but I think I may have pieced part of the show together. And if correct, they opened their 45-minute set with “If You Still Hate Me”. I hated the screaming Cristian Machado did on this and every other song, and the music was much heavier than I care for, but even with all that, I found something odd happening. I was enjoying it. All that aside, they were excellent performers and just that one aspect was more than enough to keep my eyes glued to the stage. They continued with “This is War”, and upon finishing it, Cristian thanked everyone for coming out. “…We’re just a little Latino Metal band from New Jersey…” he said, seeming to sincerely mean that, though I think that bands history and achievements speaks to the contrary. They did a couple more songs which I didn’t know, and before starting the second of those two, Cristian got a Texas flag from somewhere and draped it over his back, proclaiming how glad they were to be back in Texas. It was also that song that had an acoustic guitar part, and a roadie of the bands brought what appeared to be a mic stand out on stage, though it had a acoustic guitar secured to the top of it, which one of their guitarists proceeded to play for a few lines. I can honestly say I had never seen anything like that before, and it was pretty cool. They got back to some really heavy material with their next tune, which I think was “I Am Loco”, and was my favorite of theirs. “Does anyone here have our new record, Epidemia?” Cristian asked before they started the next song. Some people seemed to, though it was awfully silent. “…This one’s called The Depression”, he said, starting the lead track from their most current record. One of the most interesting things about Ill Nino to me was the fact that they used two drummers. The mere idea of that seemed like overkill to me, but then I heard it. Oddly enough, both full drum kits meshed well, and I believe it was the secondary drummer, Daniel Couto, who even delivered some of the beats by slapping the cymbals and drums with his hands. Anyway, at this point in the show, drummer, Dave Chavarri, tore off on a short solo. It was just the right length, long enough it showed off the skills he posses, but short enough it never got boring, and shortly after finishing it, they fired up their next one, which might have been “How Can I Live”. “Alibi of Tyrants” followed it, which sounded like one of the heaviest, most aggressive things they had done thus far, and then came yet another song from 2001’s “Revolution Revolución”, “What Comes Around”. That album seemed to be the main focus of the night, and before doing one of the earlier songs from it, Cristian asked if it’d be okay if they took everyone back to 2001. “…Eleven years later and you are all still coming out to shows and singing along to these songs…” he said, sounding humbled by the peoples dedication. It’s also worth noting a later conversation he had with the audience, saying back in his day people “had the balls” to go into a record store and walk out with an album, not pirate the music, which is so easy these days. He went on to encourage everyone to keep buying music, one way or another, to keep them and other bands, like Deftones, alive. There time was almost up after that one, having just enough time for one more, and I think it was “Liar” that concluded their set.

I said I thought I’d have to “suffer through” their set, but that was proved very wrong.

There’s no doubt about it, Ill Nino is a beast live, and their performance was impeccable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like nor can I appreciate their style of music, but some things transcend music and can appeal to everyone, and that was what happened with their show. And looking at it in both my unbiased and personal opinion, they were the best band of the night.

They have a few show dates scheduled, and to see where and when, check out their OFFICIAL WEBSITE. And to purchase their albums, go HERE.

It was getting close to the moment I had been waiting for, and I figured I’d either really like this new incarnation of Drowning Pool or really hate them. And at 12:08, after their intro song played, the curtain opened and it was time to find out.

Guitarist, CJ Pierce, bassist, Stevie Benton, and drummer, Mike Luce, were at the ready, and as they tore into their opening song, “Step Up”, Jasen Moreno removed his microphone from the stand, and they were off. It got the excitement going, with its untamed, aggressive sound, and to follow it up, they had a classic and the title track of their 2001 album, “Sinner”. The crowd went crazy upon realizing what song it was, and sang along to almost every word. “…You look at me but you don’t see, understand I’m a sinner. Don’t corner me, don’t lecture me. Raise your hands, you’re a sinner…”.  Most of their set this night was comprised of songs from that release, but they of course had to add in some other stuff, such as one more song from the “Desensitized” album, “Think”. It didn’t do much for me, but I grew more interested with the next one, as Mike started them into “Let The Sin Begin”. It was after all the song that got me interested in the band in the first place. It became apparent with it, though, that I was not digging Jason’s voice, which was a mix of a growl and a scream. I thought (and hoped) it was just those first few songs, but here you had my favorite Drowning Pool song. A song that they opened with when I first saw them a little over a year and a half ago and it had me instantly enthralled. A song that I loved so much it caused me to go to a store and buy their most current record (2010’s “Drowning Pool”). A song that both previous times I had seen them sent me into a state of euphoria. Yet now, I felt nothing. It was just another song. Oh boy, that couldn’t be a good sign for how I was going to enjoy the remainder of their set. Pretty much the same thing could be said about their next song, “Children Of The Gun”, which lacked the edge it did, and afterwards, the sirens from the sample track revved up, beginning their anthem for the people who keep this country safe, “Soldiers”. The talk was kept to a minimum during their set, but after that song, Jasen said they had some members of the service at the show this night, and asked everyone to make some noise for them so they’d know how much we appreciate what they do for us. “…Do y’all want to hear a new song?” he asked after that, which the fans seemed eager to hear. I found it to be so-so, again, because of the vocals. It was still Drowning Pool, though, and in terms of the music it’s about what you’d expect from them (in the best way possible). It kind of surprised me that, that was only one of two new songs they did (I guess they’re keeping the bulk of it under wraps until their new record is out). But that meant they could do a lot of what people wanted to hear, like “Pity”. I will say this, Jasen’s voice is most comparable to Dave Williams voice than any other singer the band has had since, so he was able to pull of those classic hits quite well, but it still didn’t engage me. So far this night there had seldom been a break, with at least one of the musicians playing an instrument to bridge the songs together, and that held true at this point, as Mike went into a short drum solo. As he neared the end of it, CJ proceeded to lace a few soft guitar notes over it, sounding just enough like a certain song of theirs. It was a cool prelude to lead them into “37 Stitches”. And near the end of it, before the final chorus, CJ ripped into an amazing guitar solo where he really rocked out. Mike again brought them into the next song, one of the singles from the “Full Circle” record, “Enemy”, before hitting a string of classics. “Follow” was one of them, while Mike next got them going on “Told You So”, which was one of many songs that showed off how tight they are, with Jasen and Mike alternating on who sang certain words of the chorus. For example, one shouted “SHUT UP!” then the other would, and it went back and forth. Jasen made a statement before their next tune, encouraging everyone to pay close attention to the lyrics. “…It’s probably the truest rock song you will ever hear…” he said. I think he was referring to the line, “…I don’t care about anyone else but me… I don’t care about anyone or anything…” from “Tear Away”, and he was sort of right about that. They then broke out another new one, and the first single from their forthcoming album, “Saturday Night”. It is a stellar rock song and I am fond of its mantra (chorus), “…I’m gonna live my life like it’s Saturday night. I’m gonna live my life, sleep when I am dead and buried…” I suspected that was a sign their set was nearing its end, and that seemed even more likely with yet another single, “Feel Like I Do”. Then came the part everyone had been waiting for. Mike began pounding out some beats, and eventually CJ and Stevie added the guitar and bass into the mix. Jasen walked back and forth across the edge of the stage, holding the microphone out towards the crowd, who were shouting, “Let the bodies hit the floor!…” over and over again. I believe it was Mike who started singing “Bodies”, of course whispering the first couple of lines before letting out a scream on the third one. That staple song ended their 75-minute long set, and once it was done, before leaving the stage, they took time to shake some hands of some of the people down front and threw out some picks to the people. I think that’s pretty cool, because not every band makes their appreciation of theirs fans so obvious.

In regards to the show, it was not what I was hoping for. I had listened to that single (“Saturday Night”) and liked it. But be warned Drowning Pool fans, Jasen’s voice does not sound remotely the same in the live setting as the recording(s) would lead you to believe.

No one this night seemed to have an issue with that, and I imagine most Drowning Pool fans won’t. His voice is somewhat of a mix between Dave Williams and Jason Jones’ voices, so if you’re a longtime fan of the band, you’ll probably like it. But for me, it was too big a departure from Ryan McCombs vocal style.

I just don’t think he has that good of a voice, and I guess because of it, I won’t feel like I have to see Drowning Pool the next time they stop by Trees (or any other Dallas area venue).

At least I saw two amazing Drowning Pool shows when Ryan McCombs was a part of the band, and I’ll just have to be satisfied with that.

However, this is still a Drowning Pool concert, and they all (yes, Jasen included) go all out. It’s as intense a performance as you could ever see, and even that one aspect makes it well worth seeing a show.

As for now, they have one last date scheduled, on December 21st at The Midland Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. And to buy all their music, go HERE.

The below photos are courtesy of James Villa Photography. All rights belong exclusively to him.

Drowning Pool


Ill Nino