There were several great shows going on this night in Deep Ellum, but I settled for the most rock filled event of the night, which was taking place at The Boiler Room.
As far as I knew there were only three bands on the bill, but upon walking in I discovered there was a fourth, and it was the Wichita Falls based rock outfit, Twicebroken.
It had been quite awhile since I last saw them, so it was a very pleasant surprise.
A lot of their 37-minute long set was newer material, including their opening song which began a fury of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “This next song is called “Can’t Stop I Won’t Stop.” announced frontman Aaron Mullin, giving themselves just a few seconds of downtime before guitarists Bryan Crowe and Brandt Holmes fired up the intense number. Upon finishing it, Aaron mentioned that they had finished up a tour not long ago. “…It was awful…”, saying that their van had broken down while in Michigan I believe, leaving them stuck there for a few days. He obviously didn’t have good memories of it, and the way he talked it won’t be something they do again anytime soon. They did a couple more songs next, one of which was called “Crawling Out”, and then arrived at a single of sorts from their self-titled debut album, “Already Gone”. You really got to see how tight they are with one another during that one, with bassist Nick Knowles, Bryan, Brandt and Aaron all operating in perfect synch with the beats Billy Pennington was pounding out, thrashing around to them and such. Another song they did from that album was “Walkin’ Away”, which has a more Southern Rock flare to it, then slowed things down with a much more sentimental song. Aaron stated that he wrote it about a friend who died in a crash about a year ago and he wanted to write something in her memory. I think the song was titled “Walk with the Angels”, and there was a duality to it, being both very beautiful and quite sad. They started winding things down with “The Enemy In Me”, and wrapped up their set with what is arguably the best song in their repertoire, “Preacher Man”.
Their set was chocked full of rock and matched with one of the most intense live shows you can see. That was what drew me to them whenever it was I first saw one of their shows, and they’ve only honed their skills since then, making them a true force to be reckoned with.
Hell, on any normal night they would have stolen the show right out from under the other bands on the bill, but this wasn’t a normal night.
Definitely go check out Twicebroken’s album in ITUNES, and while they don’t have any shows lined up at this moment, you really should go see them if you have the chance.
Second up this night was Waking Alice, who had made the trek from Fort Worth to Dallas to do their first show of the year.
They got started with what I think is one of their newer songs, and one I’m quite fond of, then tackled a couple of songs from their newest EP, “Retribution”. One of those was “Treason”, which drummer Jon Levey and guitarist Brandon Brewer got underway with some thunderous beats and roaring notes. “…Come on one more time, play the game with me…” Rus belted out as they reached the songs chorus. It is the most rocking song on their EP in my opinion, and that showed during their performance of it, which was just a little more vicious than some of their other stuff. “This next song is called Scars.” Rus announced, before they started the slightly darker (in a musical sense) sounding song, which has some thick rhythm parts where Brayton Light tore it up on his bass. That’s all evened out, though, by Brandon’s killer solo that closes out the song, however, it was outshined by the instrumental break/jam during “Biggest Lie”. Brandon captured the spotlight during it, just riffing and going with it, but Brayton and Jon certainly added their two cents on it, while Rus took a backseat. They do that at every show, but the most interesting thing is it’s always a little different, so it never gets stale. After that powerful number, they scaled things back ever so slightly with “Fates Design”, which tells the story of Rus meeting his now wife, but not in a cliché way like most of those songs are done in. They got back to the high-energy rock stuff with “Wasting Time”, though I believe it was that song that, before starting it, Brandon cracked a joke. Now, I couldn’t understand what he said, which might have been the same problem other people had, resulting in essentially no laughter. “You better laugh at that, or we’re not gonna play this next song.” he said. Rus chimed in, “I think he’s serious.” He did seem it, but it wasn’t long before they started the song, following it with another classic from the bands catalog, “Chasing Memories”. I love the new stuff they’ve done with Rus, but some of their older material, like that one, are at least every bit of good, and it’s given all new life with the slightly different approach Rus takes to singing it. They had one song left in the chamber, and it was brand new one no less. “…It’s That One…” said Rus, saying it again and pointing out that, that really was the name of the song. I really liked it, and out of the handful of songs they churned out with Rus at the helm, this one now stands out as being one of my favorites and it was great way to end their 42-minute long set.
Which each show I’ve seen, they’ve continued to improve and tighten up, delivering a better show each time, and this night was hands down the best Waking Alice show I’ve seen yet.
It’s a nice lively stage show they put on, and coupled with their music, it should have no problem holding your attention.
Their next show is going to be on June 1st at Andy’s Bar in Denton, and it’ll be one you want to see. And be sure to head over to ITUNES and pick up their albums. Again, the newest is “Retribution”, but they have some older stuff available as well, featuring the bands previous vocalist.
The night wasn’t about to slow down, especially with Red Angel Theory being the next band up.
Their 32-minute long set was kicked off by one of the new songs they’ve cooked up, which is just one of the great things that has come out of Monica Koohi fronting the band. It was clear right from the start they, like all the other bands on this bill, were taking a no holds barred approach to their performance, and tore through that commanding opener. They weren’t about to lose the momentum they had built with that one either, as guitarist Brandon Deaton immediately fired up their next song, “Shattered”. Early on in the song drummer Nick Sarabia could be seen flipping his drumsticks up in the air then catching them, as well as adding some backing vocals during the chorus, adding some extra force to Monicas’ voice (not that she needs it) which is what makes that song stand out so in my opinion. They let loose another newer song on the audience, before taking a breather, as Monica announced who they were and such, also mentioning what they were going to do next. It was “It Often Lies”, another heavy song of theirs with Phil Sahs bass lines and Nick’s drumming working well together. “…Standing tall and proud, fighting till the day we die. Open up yourself, now it often lies…” Monica sang in her one of a kind voice, right before the songs second chorus. They followed it with what is arguable their best song, “Inception”, a true powerhouse of a song, that even comes across as an anthem of sorts. Monica got ahead of herself with the next song, saying it was one, before Nick corrected her. Instead, it was another newer one, called “Suffocate” I believe, and out of the three newer tracks they played this night, it was my personal favorite. Now they got to the song Monica was ready to do a few minutes before, but first she had to introduce it. Her speech involved stating that Red Angel Theory was “not about negativity”; rather they are about taking any negative thoughts and energy and turning them into something productive and creative, like music for example. The song was “The Darkness”, and despite the title, there are some positive, almost uplifting moments of the song. They went for a strong finish, as Nick started them right into their final song, “When the Dust Settles”, which happens to be the title track of their debut EP from last year. He provides some more backing vocals on that one, this time in the form of some ear piercing screams, which gives the song an extra layer of depth. It’s one hell of a song, and served as the perfect way to end their set.
I liked this Red Angel Theory show much more than the previous one I saw with this current lineup. Partly because now I knew what to expect and Monicas’ unique voice wasn’t as foreign to me as it had been before, and partly because they’ve got more shows under their belt now, and that experience showed.
They were awesome when I saw them a few months back at another Deep Ellum venue, but they were really clicking this night.
Monica was often racing around the stage, with a certain urgency to her step and her singing, which made it easy for your eyes to be glued on her. Brandon and Phil were a little less mobile, but they still have a presence about them. Besides, their musicianship speaks for itself, and you can admire it all, from the subtle nuances to the more intricate riffs each one cranks out. As for Nick, well, he’s a beast, plain and simple.
This was the best show I’ve seen them do yet, in either of the bands lineups, and it makes me excited for what they’ll be like down the road.
Go pick up their new EP, “Rise for Something”, in ITUNES. Then, if you want to hear those tracks live, go see them at The Worship Lounge in Colleyville, TX on May 17th. They’ll be up in Greenville on May 25th at the Texas Tattoos and Art Gallery, then on June 29th they have a Denton gig scheduled at Hailey’s. And on July 12th they’ll be back in Dallas rockin’ the Curtain Club.
This had been an amazing show so far with some killer bands playing, and now it culminated with Early Pearl taking the stage.
They ripped into their 50-minute long set with “Get Out”, and as soon as they started it you could practically feel everyone’s excitement as the adrenaline level in the club skyrocketed. As it came to an end, frontman Bishop Booker pumped one of his fists in the air, while he repeatedly shouted the final line, “Get out!”. They kept things moving right along as lead guitarist Chris Jackson wound them into another high-octane track, “State of Affairs”, before slowing things down just a bit with “Breakdown”. The coolest part of that song (and one of the most memorable moments of this show) came towards the end of it, when guitarists Chris and Ryan Maynard, plus bassist Chris Ivey all moved to stage right and formed small circle of sorts. Then, Maynard proceeded to hit the strings of Jacksons’ guitar, while Jackson did the same to Chris’s bass, who in turn played Maynards’ guitar. Like I said, it was cool to see, but above all it was a fun moment, and you could tell the three of them were having a good time doing it. “…This is Hindsight.” Said Bishop after he had talked with the crowd for a moment, which started them on a string of new songs, however, out of all of them, it was one of the best in my opinion. As serious as they were about rocking, there was also some entertaining banter between some songs, like here when it was said that Bishop had once gotten “…someone pregnant just by looking at them.” If I’m remembering correctly that all started because some of his sweat had dropped on a girl at the front of the stage, and he was joking that she couldn’t even talk after that happened.
They got back to the music with “Sooner Or Later”, and after someone bought them some shots, which they of course subsequently did, they tackled “Letting Go”. “Will I see you later, ‘cause I’m letting go? Will you open for me, or will you let me go?” sang Bishop on the chorus, amidst a barrage of drumbeats from Bobby Primm, and shortly after Jackson started his knockout guitar solo. Upon finishing it Bishop went to say something to the fans,but it came out wrong and rather nonsensical. “…I’m sorry.” He apologized, “I’ve been drinking and can’t speak English.” That got a laugh from everybody, and they then set up their next song, a very new song, and Chris asked everyone not to be too hard on them if it sounded horrible. It was only the second time they had done it in front of an audience, but I don’t think they had much to worry about. The song is called “Sure and Jaded Symphony” and it’s a killer song, being almost melodic at times, and others it’s just raw rock, which is exactly what you expect from Early Pearl. For the next song, Bishop announced he was going to do a little screaming, adding, “…I usually only scream if I’m with the right woman.” Chris chimed in at that point, “Or the right man.” “Man, I’m not even gonna talk to you after that…” said Bishop, while Chris just laughed. That led them to “Say It”, a song that is unlike any other of theirs, and even though they hadn’t been holding back in terms of their performance, they certainly didn’t pull any punches on that track.
As their set started coming to an end, Bishop made a brief speech. I don’t recall everything he said, but one thing was along the lines of there are a lot of bands out there who aren’t staying true to themselves. He went on to say that they supported what everyone of their fans was doing, since they support them. “…Early Pearl shows are about wearing funny hats…” he said as he kind of pulled a hat of a girls head. Overall, the takeaway message was to be yourself, which is a good message to send in my opinion. Now, they got back to some stuff from their album, both of which are fan favorites. “Dear lover, I need you to listen one more time. I’ve tried to deny you, but you just slowed my stride…” Sang Bishop, as they got “Turn” going, before bringing things to a close with “This Is”.
The fans were shouting for an encore, even though the two Chris’s were the only members left on stage at this point. “I’m sorry.” said Ivey, “In ten years we’ve only written ten songs.”
The fans, myself included, were eventually okay with that, but I’m not gonna lie, I was hoping they might bust out “Regret” for an encore. Maybe, next time.
As it was, it was still an excellent show, though.
To somewhat repeat what I said about the last Early Pearl show I saw, they put on real rock show. Sure, there are many bands that do that, but Early Pearl is a head above most others. Their music is still some of the best I’ve heard, and the live show is one of the best I’ve seen, and they won’t leave you disappointed.
In a month and a half now I’ve seen Early Pearl as much as I did in 2008 and 2009 combined, and will no doubt see them at least a few more times before the years over with. You should do the same, and while they have no shows scheduled at the moment, keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE for future show updates.
Also, head over to their SOUNDCLOUD PAGE to download their entire “This Is” album for free, as well as some live cuts of several of their new songs.
This was one hell of a rock show, and I’m glad I decided to spend my night at the Boiler Room.
There were several great shows going on this night in Deep Ellum, but I settled for the most rock filled event of the night, which was taking place at The Boiler Room.
Tonight was an incredible, special night for several reasons, and despite feeling like shit from being diagnosed with strep throat only 24 hours prior to this show, I still didn’t see that as a reason to miss this one. Why was it special? Well, for starters this show marked the official launch of Texas Music Unites, who, as the name suggests, it out to unite the Texas music scene and help elevate all the talent found here to a new level. There was also an amazing line-up of talent taking the stage, and what other venue in Dallas would be best suited to host this caliber of talent than the Curtain Club? If those two things weren’t enough, WhiskeyBoy Radio was presenting this show and my boss, Matt “WhiskeyBoy” Blake, was hosting the event… My bad, I think he prefers to be called the “evil network executive” over “boss”. So, the stage was undoubtedly set for epicness, and epicness it did get…
I got there not long after the first band, Cold Bloom, had started, and as I paid I happened to see the Texas legend himself, “WhiskeyBoy”. I wondered in and began to pay attention to Cold Bloom, a band I have heard of before, but never actually heard. The voice of Josh Miller was what grabbed my attention from the get-go as it sounded amazing. It even reminded me of someone in particular, though I can’t think of who right now. They ran through some songs, one of which was titled, “Medicate”, and after awhile Josh turned it over to his band mates, leaving the stage while Phil Powell rocked out on the drums as guitarists, Jayson Pilkinton and Geramy Mays, and bassist, Kori Sinister, churned out some notes as well. Josh returned after a bit, and one of the songs they did then was the most intense of their set, “Burnt” I believe it was called, which found Josh doing some hardcore screaming. That’s not typically what I like, but it sounded killer.
Their set was phenomenal, and not at all what I expected to walk into. The band has an amazing progressive rock sound with a tinge of metal. They are a definite must see, with both the show and music being great, and I will definitely make a point to see them more often now that they are on my radar. Speaking of seeing them, they have a show on May 14th at Trees opening for In This Moment.
Up next was Fantasma, who was of course introduced by the host of the night, “WhiskeyBoy”. A semi-serene sounding sample track began their set, before Michael Kudlicki roared to life and began pounding away on his drum kit, while vocalist, Dale Wilkerson Jr. or “DJ”, added to the percussion by slapping another drum with his hands. All the way the spacey, otherworldly sounds echoed in the background. It’s pretty dramatic and really builds suspense, before Dustin Daulton and Dan Castaneda rip into the song, “Ra”, with their guitar and bass, respectively, and really get it underway. Dan and Dustin really let loose at the instrumental bridge towards the end of it, leaving their posts on each side of the stage and moving towards the center, just rocking out. Dan did so much in fact he knocked over the stool that sat there in case DJ wanted to use it. That was the only noticeable “fault” I could find thus far, was that DJ wasn’t on his game like he usually is. Turns out, he had, had his gallbladder removed a few days before, so not being up to par is completely understandable, and because of that they had enlisted a guest vocalist to help them out on some songs. The front man of Carmeci, who is named Carmeci, joined them on stage, taking the stage left mic from Dan and added some killer backing vocals, which at times sounded more like lead vocals, to “Dancers and White Lines”. He and DJ sang each chorus, “I can’t wait for your world to change…”, while Dan moved over to stage right mic to add his screams of, “…STEP BACK, LET GO.” Two songs in and my jaw just might have already been touching the floor in sheer awe, and there was still a lot left of their 42 minute set, too. Next, Dustin started them off on “The Chase Scene”, which I still think has the best sample track intro/outro ever. “This next one is called The Good Son.” stated DJ, as they did another stand out track from their album, which I do believe was another that Carmeci helped them out on as well. Speaking of their album, “Stories of Earth Women”, I wasn’t familiarized with all the material when I saw the CD release show last December, so I didn’t know what all they did and didn’t do. But in listening to it, the closing track just never struck me as being one that would make the live cut, though it is a personal favorite of mine. So, when DJ said the following song was “The Rest to the World”, I was ecstatic. The piano intro for the song played out, which can be very misleading, as the band eventually tears into an all rock song, with Dan doing his signature move of stomping around on stage. The mesmerizing, “My Little Centerfold”, came next, and then every Fantasma fan who was there got a special little treat… The debut of a brand new song titled “Fire and Blood”. Like some of their other tunes, it was hard to get a feel of it from the initial intro, which I thought almost sounded like it belonged as the background music to some of the very first Super Mario Bros. video games, but once it got going, it slayed. Very great tune, and based on this, I’m looking very forward to what else they will crank out in the future. Now, it was time to end their set, which was of course capped off with “Colors Run Red”. When the song subsided in the final moments, Michael left his drum kit, as Dan and Dustin stopped playing, while DJ crooned the final few lines, before they thanked everyone and said goodnight.
As I said, DJ was far from being at his peak level as a performer, but I didn’t feel like it hindered the performance in any way. He still put on as good a show as he possible could, and for any energy he lacked, Dustin and Dan more than made up for it. And having Carmeci stand in as a backing vocalist added to their sound exponentially. I’d really like to see this happen more often, even when DJ is 100%, and if it doesn’t and you missed this, I’m sorry, it was your loss. Be sure to pick up their record, “Stories of Earth Women” on iTunes for only $9.99… It’s well worth it, and if you see that the band is doing a show near you, go see them. You won’t regret it.
Next up on this fantastic bill of Texas rock bands was one who had been absent from the live scene for a while as they took time off to record their debut EP. The band was Red Angel Theory, who got a very enthusiastic intro by Matt “WhiskeyBoy” Blake.
Guitarist, Brandon Deaton, drummer, Nick Sarabia, and bassist, Phil Sahs, began the first song as Matt wrapped his intro up. Those three guys got their first song, “It Often Lies”, going before vocalist, Justin Ranton, walked on stage and the show began. You could feel their presence before, but once he got on there it skyrocketed. Man, what a hell of a way to start the show, and while part of me wondered if it could get better from what the past band did, this song right here proved that it could. Brandon began the next song, “Shattered”, a song that finds Nick singing, or more rapping in a way, some of the backing vocals. It sounds great on the recordings, but the way his voice and Justin’s intertwine live was something else entirely. At one point Justin knelt down near the drum riser, singing his part with such passion, and then waiting for Nick to do his thing before his [Justin] next part. There was only one bad thing at this point, and that was that since I felt under the weather I was sitting at the very back of the Curtain Club, while the large group of people who were already here were up front, hindering my view. It didn’t diminish my excitement for what was going on, but it did impact my view, and I could tell I missed some stuff on stage. Next up was “No Regrets”, which Nick got going by building up with some quick beats. Again, it had been an excellent show thus far… And it was about to get a whole lot better. “Inception”, the first and possible best track on the record, was played next. During the middle of the song Justin took a moment to thank the host of the night. “This song is for you, Matt Blake.” He said, remembering that in Matt’s review of the album he pointed out this one as being his personal favorite song. This one just has all the right elements, getting off to a slower start before exploding at the chorus, a chorus that is insanely catchy I might add. It then slows back down on the next verse, still managing to pack a punch, though. Then it makes the vocals the highlight at the end as Justin sings, “I can’t remember what I came here for. Was it good for you? Can’t you see, all the memories turn and pass us by like the sands of time?” It is perfection, pure perfection. Justin announced the next song, “Promised Land”, which was the only tune they did this night that cannot be found on their record. It gets off to a nice start, having some killer notes from both Brandon and his guitar as well as Phil and his wonderful bass. However, even after all that the highlight of their set had yet to be performed. I found this out only recently, but when the band went into the studio to begin recording, the song that became the album’s title track was still being hammered out, therefore,it had never been played live… Until now. There was a longer pause in between this song and the last than there had been at any other point in their set, but it was worth it as they soon tore into “When the Dust Settles”. This is another song that showcases the vocal talents Nick has, though in a much different way than earlier. On this one he does more screaming, especially at the tail end of the song as he screams out, “WHAT IS LEFT!” while Justin sings, “When the dust settles.” Afterwards, they had one final song of an all too short 29 minute set, putting it to an end with “The Darkness”.
In regards to the show, this was hands down the best one that I’ve seen Red Angel Theory do. Granted, I’ve only see them twice before this, so I don’t have much to draw on, but it is evident that in their time off they honed their skills, too. I recall Justin being a very good front man, but tonight he dominated. Phil was a beast on the bass, while Brandon shredded it on the guitar. And Nick, well, from the fleeting glimpses I caught of Nick, he was a machine back there on the drums. Red Angel Theory was good before, but tonight they elevated themselves to a completely new level. And if they can continue to do this every time, there is no reason they won’t soon become one of the best bands currently in Dallas.
Purchase the bands EP, “When the Dust Settles”, on iTunes. You can of course get physical copies at shows, too (along with shirts and what not). Speaking of shows, they have several coming up over the next few months that you should really get out to, beginning with Saturday, April 14th at Six Flags in Arlington. You do need to pay for admission to the park to see that show, but if you want to go out, ride some roller coasters for the day and hear some badass rock music, then Six Flags is the place to be. On Friday April 27th they will be in Fort Worth playing at The Aardvark. Then Friday June 15th will find them back in Fort Worth, this time at Tomcats West for a show that is being presented by WhiskeyBoy Radio, Sawed Off Productions and my very own, The Music Enthusiast. We three groups are also doing a two day benefit show for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation on August 3rd and 4th at the Ranch in Arlington and Red Angel Theory will be playing the event that Saturday, August 4th, so come out and support. Oh, and listen to THIS episode of WhiskeyBoy Radio where the entire band was in-studio and did some songs.
The band of the night was up next, and to add to it, the curtain stayed closed this time as Matt “WhiskeyBoy” Blakes’ round face soon poked through. This was quite possible his best intro of the night, as he instructed everyone to pull out their cocks and stroke them during Moving Atlas’s set… Yeah, that’s the kind of wordsmith WhiskeyBoy is.
He disappeared, though the curtain soon opened on vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, guitarists, Ricky Dansby and Ben Scott, bassist, Geoff Lucke, and Ross Rubio, who’s drum set was bathed in such light for most of the show it was hard for me to even see him sitting back there. The music escalated before they really ripped into the first song of their 50 minute set, the title track of their latest EP, “Machina”. This definitely set a great mood for the show, especially at each chorus when Dunigan sings the line, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among the wolves…” in such an eerie and ominous manner. Indeed, the mood was set, and it was clear it was all about rocking out. That song had barely ended when Ross started back up on the drums, beginning the mighty, “Welcome Home”. I’m not trying to overstate this, but yeah, I felt crappy. Still, hearing them do that song, one of my favorite Moving Atlas tunes, I couldn’t help but get into it and start banging my head to the beats. They followed it up with one of the singles from this newest EP, “Crawl out in the Cold”, and then did rocked out one I didn’t know at all. I know the band spoke of doing a song from “Et Al” to celebrate their seven years together, so I’m not sure this one of those tunes or something completely different. When it was done, they waited a few moments before doing the next song, I assume to build anticipation. If that was the reason, it worked for me, as I wondered, “What are they going to do next?” Ross then but a beat down on the drums as Ricky, Ben and Geoff raced along with the killer intro to “5280”. The onslaught continued with the title track of their 2009 EP, “Red Shelter”, another semi ghostly song, especially at the line, “…You can’t take this from me, my hands are untied. I know what it feels like to be alive. If you stay topside then soon you will die. I beg you to come down…”. A sample track of a women speaking began to play once that song ended. What was said I don’t recall, but it served as a nice set up/segue into the next song, the epic, “Muse Accuser”. On the album, while I like the song, I’ve never been much of a fan of it. But live, live it translates into something far different than what you get just in listening to it. The ebb and flow it has makes the live performance of it, as all the instrumentalists can (and do) switch from in-your-face intense playing to a calm, relaxed style in an instant. The same goes for Dunigan, too, who shows off a little more of his softer singing side on this song. Next up was an “older” song as Dunigan put it, as either Ricky or Ben (I couldn’t see who for sure) started the opening line of “Year of the Rat”. “Parachute”, another track off the “Elephant Gun” EP, came next, and since they saved this older material for last, it had lead me to believe the title track would close out the show. Alas, that was sadly not the case, as I haven’t been to enough shows to have heard “Elephant Gun” nearly as much I would like to. They still closed the show in spectacular fashion, though. This night was a bit of a who’s who of the local music community with several notable local musicians attending. One of the bands hanging out here was Serosia, and for this final song Dunigan invited the bands singer, Lucas D’Agata, on stage to help with the singing. This was another one I was clueless to, but whatever it was, they knocked it out of the park.
I’m still a newer fan to Moving Atlas, as they finally managed to suck me in with their music a couple of years ago now and I haven’t seen just too many shows in that time frame. But each time I do see them, they make one thing clear; They may well be the most talented band here in Texas that is currently on the local circuit. They have the professionalism and showmanship, the music is top notch, and practically every quality a national act should have, they possess. A lot of other people I think have similar thoughts about them, too, because while the Curtain Club had a nice crowd for most of the bands, the venue was packed while they were on stage. The only time I’ve seen the Curtain this packed recently was at The FEDS reunion show a couple of months ago, so it’s nice to see that a hometown act can pull out this many people… Even if part of it was because this was their first show in a little over three months.
You can see Moving Atlas at Andy’s Bar in Denton on May 4th, and be sure to listen to and purchase their music on iTunes. The still new “Machina” EP, as well as the “Red Shelter” and “Elephant Gun” EPs, and lastly the “Et Al” record.
One final band was one the bill for the night, but sadly, not many people stuck around for them. This is one thing that grinds my gears, and I think I may touch on it a little bit here. As packed as the Curtain Club was for Moving Atlas, only a few dozen remained for Dawn Over Zero. I know it was late, but that’s not an excuse. Sure, I will leave a club before some bands, but only IF I know I don’t like their stuff. My point is, that if I only went to shows and saw the one band I went there for, then there would be a ton of my favorite groups that I never would have heard of. Going out and supporting one band is great and respectable, but staying to support the others is even better. It just upset me a bit because in this instance here, Dawn Over Zero is one of the most amazing bands in Texas right now and they don’t get to Dallas too often and are deserving of more than a few dozen people watching them. So folks, if you go to show, stick it out, because you never know when you might come across a band that you could like even more than the one you originally went to see…
Getting back on topic, Matt had one final introduction for the final band, the Austin quartet, Dawn Over Zero…
They opened with the first song from their “Unity and Division” record, “Caricatures”. As soon as it started, the band came to life, especially lead guitarist, Steven Abbenante, who thrashed around to every beat that Mack Linan pounded out on the drums. And they didn’t let the small crowd bother them, either, as singer and guitarist, Mike Mears, did everything he could to engage the listeners. They next did the super infectious, “Catapult”, and towards the end of it Mike and bassist, Jonathan Boyce, harmonized as they sang a line. I dare say it sounded gorgeous, which totally contrasts the typical hard rock edge they have. That song never really ended, as they continued on with some notes which eventually turned into an older favorite, “Take You Under”. “Kidney Stone”, one of the bands few songs that is slightly less in-your-face, came next, and almost as soon as it ended Steven began a catchy, repetitive note on his guitar. Mike once again asked everyone to get into the song by clapping their hands. Some obliged, others didn’t seem to care that much. That went on for a few moments before Mike released the floodgates and started spewing the first lines of “Give and Take”. “There were times in my life when I took a look in the mirror, and I watched as the day goes by, and I think of the times I’ve tried to be a better man then I am…” That one has been one of my favorites of theirs for awhile, from hearing it live before the album was released and not knowing what it was, and each time I hear it live now, I love it a little more. It’s seriously one of the best songs they have… But they followed it with some other pretty killer tunes. “Short On a Dime” was one of those songs, and how could you not like a song with the line, “…I need a ticket for the next train to the moon, and I’m short on a dime…”? They wound that one right into their current single, “Carry Me Home”, with the final notes of it being transitioned into “The Obvious”, as Mack pounded on some of the cymbals. That right there could have been the show for me, because so far it had amazing. Thankfully, they still had time for one last song, though. The day that “Circulation” is no longer in rotation will be a sad one. Hopefully it never will happen, and luckily it did not tonight, as this masterpiece closed out 40 minutes of greatness. During this song, Mike did something I’ve never seen him do before; he ditched his guitar. Not for all of it, but at least the last half, and focused just on being a front man, telling everyone, “I want to see you jumping up here!” to which some did.
Astounding set, and I know I may not have said as much about them as the other bands, but sometimes it is better to keep the best things simplified. And that really is the case here, because if you want to find some good ol’ original Texas brand Rock ‘N’ Roll, you really need look no further than Dawn Over Zero. Buy “Unity & Division” in iTunes, as it is one of the greatest things ever produced. Also check out their self-titled EP and their Demo EP, plus the single, “Catapult”. And go see one of these upcoming shows: April 13th at Bar Six in Harker Heights. April 20th at 502 Bar in San Antonio, and then April 28th at The Dirty Dog in Austin. They will also be performing at Weirdo’s in Austin on May 19th.
This was an AMAZING night and I am now even more proud to be able to say I am part of the WhiskeyBoy Radio Network (Actually, I didn’t even know I could be more proud to be a part of this network, but apparently I can.) Go check out all of these bands if you are unfamiliar with them, as they will astound you. Go “like” Texas Music Unites on Facebook, because I can pretty much guarantee they will be doing great things for the music scene as a whole. Check out the Curtain Club, because it is the ONLY place in Deep Ellum where you can always see an all-local rock bill. And finally, head over to WhiskeyBoyRadio.com and check out all the fine programming they (we) bring you. Matt and his crew host WBR, Chrys Starr and his band of misfits do WBR: East Coast, while the two co-host the Double Shot Podcast every Thursday night. And I of course bring you The Music Enthusiast Podcast, the only show where you can find stellar local talent from around the globe (literally). Oh, and “Producer Lance” will be starting WBR: Gulf Coast in the future. And be sure to click on each individual show link to find the iTunes page and subscribe to every show so you will never miss an episode.
NOTE: If any bands want me to A.) write a review of their album or B.) wish me to play their music on my podcast, than email me. Also, I have partnered with Sawed Off Productions & WhiskeyBoy Radio, both of whom will help me present The Music Enthusiast showcases. If your band would be interested in performing at a future showcase, email me for consideration: TheRealMusicEnthusiast@GMAIL.COM
A note to whom it may interest: I’m wanting to get advertisers on my blog. If you are a band, music venue, or have any type of product or business whatsoever you want to promote, e-mail me at: TheRealMusicEnthusiast@gmail.com for full info. I will tell you now though, I get good traffic on my site and my prices will be VERY, VERY affordable to even the most broke bands/people. So please, allow me to help promote YOUR product constantly, and not just when I do a show review. Venues, I can list all your upcoming shows as I do for the Granada Theater. Bands, I can put up an image of your album cover and link that to iTunes, etc. Let me know if you would be interested in getting in on this exciting opportunity!
Some people prefer quality over quantity… I am not one of those people. That’s not to say I like the quality to be crap, but rather that my preference is both of those two things. However, with “When the Dust Settles”, the long awaited debut EP from the Dallas hard rock band, Red Angel Theory, the quality outweighs the quantity by far.
The EP is comprised of six songs which span just a little over 23 minutes, but it is some of the best 23+ minutes of music your ears will ever hear.
Two immediate stands out to me when I listened to the record were “Inception” and “The Darkness”.
The former one begins with more of a unusual instrument to the band, as you won’t see any of them playing it live; a violin. It’s one of the most gorgeous violin pieces I have heard, though it is also quite ominous sounding, before it dies out and gives way to the rock music. I find this to be the most original sounding song of the EP, as it has the perfect build by beginning slower, ramping up at the choruses, and then slowly subsides at the tail end.
“The Darkness” is the longest offering on the EP, and goes along somewhat of the same lines as the previously mention song, with the opening guitar notes resembling that of feedback, and they set a ghostly, end of the world feel to the song, before Nick Sarabia’s drumming breathes some life into it. The softer side of Justin Ranton’s vocals are also shown on this song, at times sounding almost like an eerie whisper. Also, on the chorus, the song manages to break away from the vibe established on the verses, as it explodes out of nowhere and then tapers off just as quickly. I think the fact that they can pull such a transition off so flawlessly only displays their superb musicianship.
Another track on the EP is “Shattered”, which, like every song on the album, begins with an in your face intro and also has the most hard rock vibe of all the songs. I find this one, one of the more interesting songs on the record, as it incorporates Nick on lead vocals, who does his part in a rap style. Even more unexpected however is how well the rapping blends with Justin’s singing, as they intertwine quite well.
Something about “No Regrets” makes it come across to me like a classic rock song, just with a very updated and modern twist put on it, and I think it due time this will become a classic of the bands.
The guitars, bass and drums are obviously an essential part on every song, but on “It Often Lies”, Brandon Deaton guitar work, Nick’s beats, and Phil Sahs bass notes work in perfect harmony, with each instrument contributing an integral part to the track, as well as getting their own moment to shine.
Then you of course have the title track, “When the Dust Settles”. Justin has a vast vocal range, which can be heard throughout the album, but some of the most intense, hardcore screaming comes on this song and is supplied by Nick. “What is left?” he screams repeatedly in the final moments of the song, which is layered over Justin’s singing, “When the dust settles.” There is also a pretty stellar instrumental bridge featured on this song as well.
All the songs have a certain similarity about them that gives the entire thing a great flow, but don’t misinterpret that, as these aren’t the same song in a different packaging, much like mainstream radio is these days.
It’s truly a great record, and should stand an excellent chance at being named one of the best local releases of the year.
Until March 31st, you can pre-order the “When the Dust Settles” EP for $1 HERE.
Red Angel Theory will be performing at the Curtain Club on Saturday, March 31st. The show will serve as the launch party for Texas Music Unites and will include an staggering line-up of talent, with tickets costing only $5.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Jeff Current. He fronted the Dallas band, Seven Story Drop for many years. Then, nearly three years ago, they broke up, so Jeff could pursue his music career in Los Angeles, singing in a new band, Against All Will. That band was created by former Puddle of Mudd guitarist, Jimmy Allen. AAW has played several shows out in the part of the country, and even toured a bit here and there, but never made it to Dallas… Until tonight. The band was making their Dallas debut at non-other than Trees. The perfect place for this homecoming of sorts. I was going to be here regardless, but, to make it better, Trees sent out a promotional email the previous week. And at the bottom they offered anyone who wanted it a spot on the guest list for two select shows. This was one of them. Yeah, you can’t beat a free rock show.
Yeah, I was excited to see Against All Will. But I was almost equally as psyched to see the opener, Red Angel Theory, who had wowed me a few weeks ago at the Curtain Club. Their intro song started playing at 8:29, and it was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. Seemed like an odd choice to me at first, but it actually flowed quite well into the song they opened with. The curtain opened on guitarist, Brandon Deaton, bassist, Phil Sahs, and drummer, Nick Sarabia playing the tune. While vocalist, Justin Ranton, stood a little out of the way, over at stage left, for a few seconds before walking to center stage. They ran through a few songs, before Justin said of their next song, “This one is called Shatter.” And both it, as well as the next song, which was their single, “Hard to See”, really showcase Nick’s backing vocals, which is more screaming. Even for a point during “Shatter” he somewhat takes the lead, before Justin begins screaming out the songs final lines. And after “Hard to See” another two or three followed to fill their 38 minute set time. During their final song, Justin launches into a little speech, which I don’t remember all of, nor could I hear all of it. At one point I think he said the point of Red Angel Theory was “…To discover who you really are…” And later he asked everyone to ask themselves what they had done to make a difference in the world. “…It doesn’t have to be anything big. It just has to mean something to you…” I liked these guys even more this time then I did before. Their music is just killer, and I’m quite excited about their debut album, which Justin said would “hopefully” be out in the fall. I’d promote their next show here, but I don’t know when that is. So, all the more reason you should go “like” them on Facebook and keep tabs on what they do next.
My Lucidity was next. Their songs were either a hit or miss with me. And for the most part they were a miss. I really enjoyed their music, it was just their singer’s voice, or lack thereof. His voice couldn’t really carry the real rock songs that they played. But on some of the songs they slowed things down a little, when they were joined by Orion Pitts on the violin. He did probably four songs with them altogether (maybe five) and about three of those were the ones I dug the most. And on those, his voice did sound a bit better.
And then it was time for Dallas “hometown hero” of sorts, to play his first hometown show in nearly three years.
At 10:33 Against All Will ripped into the first song on their “A Rhyme & Reason” album, “Swept Away”. Then the curtain opened, and vocalist, Jeff Current, was knelt down by the monitors, rocking out to the music. They followed it right up with “The Blue”, then Jeff took a moment to express how glad he was to be home. “…I’m seeing a lot of people who I haven’t seen in a long time…” he said. He also said something about wanting everyone to have fun, but to be nice. “if there are any pricks here, then check your ego at the door.” he told them. Luckily, there weren’t (or they listened to Jeff). Then, he encouraged everyone to sing along with the next song, if they knew it. The song was “Let Go” and a lot of people seemed to be familiar with it, as they helped out on the chorus for instance. “…I’m not your game or your puppet on a string. It’s getting a little too carried away. Hey, girl. I’m not your Play-Doh, you can’t just bend me and mold me into what you want…” They were only three songs in, and I was already amazed. And I didn’t expect to have that kind of reaction to them. “How many of you have gone out with a person that you just hate. You even hate the way that they breath?” Jeff asked the crowd (which was pretty sizable for a Thursday night.) “Well, that’s what this song is about, and the chorus is pretty simple. So, if you pick up on it, sing along. This one is called I Hate.” I just want to not I love the strategic pause taken in this song. The line is “…I hate the stupid face you make when you come (brief pause) home…” Their stagehand brought an acoustic guitar out for the next song, and handed it to Jeff. “Strap that acoustic on, Jeff.” said guitarist, Jimmy Allen, as he was hooking up the acoustic axe. “So, how many of you guys have had your heart ripped out, thrown on the ground, and been stepped on by a pair of Jimmy fucking Choo’s?” Jeff asked. “Well…” he continued. “…If you were ever in a relationship with someone here, now’s the time to look them in the eye and flip them the bird. As they started the awesome, “All About You”. As it came to an end, Jeff backed away towards the drum riser, as Jimmy and bassist, Cello Dias, played some light notes. Then. he returned to the mic. “…All about…” he sang as Cello and Jimmy really came back into the song. And as soon as the word “…you.” left his mouth, drummer, Phil Gonyea, started pounding away drum kit. The cymbals, the skins, he was wildly beating on everything. “This next song is called Nothing Good Anymore.” said Jeff, who used the acoustic guitar on this song as well. “Cause the world is fucked.” They followed it with a newer song of theirs, “You Can’t Change Me”, and then did “Discard You”. Near the end of “Discard…” Phil started into a very familiar beat, though I didn’t really recognize it at the time. “Do you want to play this game with me, Dallas?” Jeff asked the crowd. He began prowling back and forth along the stage, shouting out, “Scream! Scream! Scream!” Then, he began singing the song they had turned this into. And when he got to the part of this rock anthem that everyone knows, the fans started chanting along with him. “…We will, we will rock you!…” That went on for four to five times, and after that final time they returned to the tail end of “Discard You.” “…I discard you. I discard you.” sang Jeff, finishing the song. Their stagehand brought the acoustic guitar back out to him for the next song, “Tomorrow and Today”. And after it, Jimmy asked the people a question. “So, Dallas. Do y’all want to hear a new one?” Everyone seemed excited at this. “These are my peeps.” chimed in Jeff. “I think they should get to hear a new one.” And what they cranked out next was probably their most intense song of the night. And honestly, I thought one of, if not the, best song they played. It ranks right up there with “All About You” in my book. “Well, Dallas. It’s that time of the night.” Jeff said when it had come to an end. “This is going to be our last song of the night.” Though I didn’t hear her, some girl near the stage apparently named the final song. “She said it.” said Jeff. “This is The Drug I Need.” Which put an end to their 53 minute long set.
I’d been looking forward to this for a long time, but I didn’t expect to like the show as much as I did. But they were incredible. Jeff has definitely grown as a front man, and that’s saying a lot. Cause when I first saw Seven Story Drop, oh, 4 1/2 years ago, he quickly became one of my favorite local performers. Hell, they are all excellent showmen. When they finished they expressed their thanks to everyone for coming out. Jimmy handed out a few of his picks to people at the front, and Phil did the same with his drum sticks. And each of them shook the hands of different fans. And Jeff left everyone with this. “…We hope to see you all next time. And we promise, it will be very, very soon.” All I can say is it damn well better be. Cause after finally getting a taste of a live AAW show, I want more.
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I arrived at the Curtain Club a little later than I would’ve liked to his night, but I didn’t figure it was a huge loss. Until I walked in and heard the music of the 5 piece, Red Shift. They were finishing one song, and their singer and, at that moment, third guitarist, Tommy Barker, introduced the next song as their newest single. “Gone Away” was what I understood him to say, and it was easily the best song I heard them do. But they only did three more afterwards, before their time was up. And for those last three Tommy ditched his guitar, and focused solely on being a front man. What I saw of this Denison, Texas based band impressed me. They were great performers, and they should have a bright future at this.
I’ve been to the Curtain a lot this month, so much so the times have run together in my mind. But either the first or second weekend of this month I was here, and there were some CDs laying on the tables. They were of a band called Red Angel Theory. I listened to the single that was on it, and they sounded pretty good. So good in fact, I decided to come out this night with the sole purpose of seeing them. And I wasn’t disappointed either. They went straight into their 32 minute long set, as vocalist, Justin Ranton, asked Dallas what was up. They really didn’t waste anytime in between songs, just moving from one to the other. As the second song neared it’s end, Justin moved out of sight, to the stairwell, and let guitarist, Brandon Deaton, bassist, Phil Sahs, and drummer, Nick Sarabia, have the spotlight. He did the same thing after song three. As the music died out, the intro track for the next song began, a mixture of keys and a violin, which sounds phenomenal. Then Justin returned, with a guitar. “This song is called Hard to See.” he said when he got back to the mic. (Note: This was the song on the single CD I had picked up.) Another intro track played after it, leading into the next song, and Justin ditched his guitar after that one was over. The next song, I think, began with Nick doing some light beats, before Brandon name ripped into it, as (SINGERS NAME) made his way back on stage. And they finished their show with two other tunes. I wasn’t a real fan of any of these bands coming into this show, so I can be completely un-objective when I say Red Angel Theory was the band of the night. They have the presence and showmanship. In fact, I quite enjoyed watching Phil slap and attack his bass. Their music is awesome, and as great as “Hard to See” is, there were two or three other songs they did that I liked even more. And Justin has a pretty good vocal range. His singing voice is much better than most, and he could turn it into a scream in a split second, which was best displayed in their final song. The only thing, they apparently don’t have a very big, or perhaps not too loyal, fan base. When the door guy put me down for them when I got there, I noticed mine was the first mark they received. I glanced again when I left, and they totaled two people this night. Sad, cause I could easily see them headlining the Curtain, if they can just bring the people. So check them out!
Revolution of Knowledge took the stage next. I almost think I’d seen them sometime in the past, but maybe not. Either way, I could’ve cared less for what I heard. Their singer either screamed the lyrics or sang them angrily. Neither way sounded too good. And it seemed like every other word he said was “Fuck”. Come on dude, increase your vocabulary a bit. Now, I’m certainly no prude when it comes to cussing, but, and I’ve said this before, I did it a lot when I was in like, Jr. High. Because, at that age, you think it makes you look cool when you use words like that. Then, when you get older, you realize it really doesn’t. I don’t know, I guess I just find it juvenile when all a person knows how to say are words that would be bleeped out on basic TV. I did agree with one thing he said though, “…Local music is the best music there is, that no one’s ever heard of.”So true. Music and vocally I may not have liked their stuff, but I’ll give them this, from a performance aspect, they were great. They brought a real, raw intensity to the stage, more so than the other bands this night.
Next up, the curtain opened on what seemed to be the most professional band of the night. Faint the Fiction. Well, before the curtain revealed them, their intro track played. The line/quote from Pulp Fiction, “…And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers….”. Though it got had much more of it, both before and after where I started the quote. Then they tore into their first song as the curtain opened. Vocalist, Jacob Pierce, looked like a character from The Matrix at the start. Wearing what looked like, or at least similar to, a trench coat and a pair of sunglasses. And I guess his cool looking dreads can help perpetuate that look, too. They did a couple of songs before doing one from their newest EP. “We have a new CD called Lies and Alibis.” Jacob said. “This next song is on it, it’s called Blame.” They did a couple more afterwards, before doing what Jacob said was one of his favorites from their older album, “Moving On”, then did a cover song. And finished their 39 minute set with three more tunes. I’d seen them once before, like a year ago, and remember thinking they were good, but tonight I was completely enthralled by their set, right from the get-go. Kinda like I touched on at the beginning, they have a real professionalism about them. Their crowd was few tonight, but they all acted like they were playing to a sold out House of Blues. And guitarist, Chad Meyer, and bassist, John Reeves, are just as entertaining to watch, and they killed. They’ll be playing Tomcats West in Fort Worth on August 5th. On the 19th they’ll be at the Boiler Room in Dallas, and the 20th they’ll rock Andy’s in Denton.
The Funk Among Us was headlining, but I just decided to call it a night. Two nights in a row where I’ve left before the headlining band. That goes against almost everything I stand for, in regards of supporting local music. Definitely can’t do that again for a LONG time, unless I know I dislike the band.
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