This made for my third straight week going to the Curtain Club in Dallas, and it was no doubt going to be a great show this night.
To set it up, there once was a band by the name of Advent. I heard of them shortly after I was introduced to the local music scene. They were pretty big as far as local acts go, and while I did buy their album, I never made it out to a show before they called it quits.
Well, tonight Advent was returning to the stage and their Deep Ellum home for a one-time only reunion show. Making it even better was the fact that several great bands had been tapped to open for them, beginning with one I had not heard of before this,the Denton based, Idler.
They busted into the first song of their 30-minute long set, “Vendetta”, which immediately utilized the bands most unique feature; their two vocalists. Both Micah and Katie sang the majority of the song, often harmonizing with each other, adding a beautiful texture to what was an explosive rock song. They switched that dynamic up a bit with their next song, “Go for Broke”, which was more co-sung. Micah stood at the front of the stage while he sang the verses, then would switch spots with Katie, who had been hanging back by the drum riser, as she approached the crowd to sing the chorus, “Go for broke and see there’s nothing left to do…” The followed it with “Let Me In”, and then another newer song, which I believe was the one that Katie left the stage for. She could certainly hold her own up there, but I thought it cool that one song painted them in a more “typical” rock band spotlight, and guitarists, Jeff and Mykey, bassist, Nick, drummer, Eric and Micah really threw down during it. “Lose Control” was a real standout from their set, and was another duet of sorts, only it found Katie taking over lead vocal duties. “This next song’s called Pitchfork.” Micah said, leading them into the tune, before doing one last non-album track, titled “Cigarette”. They weren’t quite done, though, and had one surprise/trick up their sleeves. It’s no big surprise when bands do cover songs, however, there are some songs you never expect to hear a band cover. Idler was doing one of those songs, and it was the iconic Kenny Logins track, “Danger Zone”. Nick, Mykey, Jeff and Eric added a lot of grit to it, making it much heavier than the original version from the 80’s, catapulting it to more of a hard rock style. The dueling voices switched it up even further, and it was sung in the same format as their second song this night. It was quite a shocker at first hearing them do that, but there’s no doubt that they have made that song into their very own, placing a very distinctive mark on it, and it was a hell of a way to end the show.
To be the first band, and also one I had never really heard, I was thoroughly impressed by Idler. Their stage presence was on par with the other two current local acts that would follow them, and was quite fierce. Again, I love the two voices, which are really what separates Idler from most other bands, with Micah solidifying the fact that they are a harder rock outfit, while Katie gives it a more serene vibe. And even when one wasn’t adding any vocals to a song, they still rocked out to it, moving around and thrashing around slightly to the drumbeats, still being a part of it all, instead of simply standing there, waiting for their next line. I don’t want to exclude or count out the instrumentalists of the band, though, who were what made the show. Nick, Jeff and Mykey were constantly moving around the stage, shredding on their respective instruments, which really brought things to life.
They made me into a fan for sure, and I look forward to seeing them again. Speaking of which, they have a couple shows lined up at the moment. One will be on March 2nd at O’Sheas in Husrt, Texas, while the other is March 23rd at Andy’s in Denton. And if you go to those shows, you’ll be able to pick up a copy of their debut EP.
They proved to be an excellent start to the night, much better than what I was expecting, but things were about to get a lot better…
The Circle was the second band up, and personally, I was most excited about seeing them this night.
Their first song is becoming one of my favorite Circle jams, and it’s a good way to thrust the audience right into the onslaught of heavy, intense hard rock that is to come. And believe me, their shows get intense. After that opening number, frontman, Don Mills, expressed his excitement of being on this bill. “…Advent was one of my favorite bands…” he said, reminiscing about days gone by, in which he said he used to see them quite a bit, and was thrilled to finally get the opportunity to do a show with them. It had only been a month since I last them, but there were some big differences/improvements between then and now, namely the transitions from song to song. See, as Don wrapped up his thoughts, guitarists, Craig Nelson and Alan Sauls, as well as bassist, Kenneth Henrichs , played some light notes, leading into “Beggars Can’t be Choosers”. A newer song of theirs came next, which Don mentioned the title of, and if I heard him correctly it was “Wanted”. Once the group finished it, Don led a toast with the audience, toasting to local music. “…Local music is by far the greatest music that no one’s ever heard…” he said, which is all too true. The perfect segues continued, as they built up to “406”, which begins with some sweet guitar riffage. “Can I get an amen?!” bellowed Don, while that was going on. The crowd (at least some of them) obliged, shouting, “Amen!”. That’s one of their heaviest songs, with Don showing off a little more primal side of his voice, with some serious borderline screaming going on at times, but that’s also what makes a highlight of the show in my opinion. Marc Berry launched them into their next song, “I Am”, with some steady paced beats on the drums. They ran through another sweet new song, before getting to the oh so impressive, “Skeptical”, during which Kenneth added some backing vocals, which helped make the song. “What are you doing here? You look lost! You’re not from around here are you?!…” Don roared on the chorus of “My Trip to the Desert Sucked”, before they got to “Somewhere”, which ends with some killer notes courtesy of Craig. Their 39-minute long set was drawing to a close, but Don wasn’t going to let it end without giving a shout out to Keith Higgs, of WK Productions, who had put this entire show together. Topic of conversation then turned to their single, which dominated the charts on 97.1 The Eagle for six straight weeks, at which point it had to be retired from their voting competition. “…This is your song…” said Don, speaking to all the fans. That of course gave it away, as they tore into “Sleep On It”, the best song in their arsenal, and it’s worthy of being their first official single.
This was the best Circle show I’ve seen, and I’d be willing to bet the best one they’ve done to date. Those transitions may seem like a subtle difference, but they made a colossal difference in their show and the overall professionalism they radiated. Even though they never bled one song right into the next, it still helped and made them appear very on point… Not that they weren’t before this.
The performance they put on is something else, and Don emits an overwhelming stage presence that is bound to draw you in, regardless of if you like their genre of music or not. This may still be a newer lineup for the band, but they are quickly ironing out what few wrinkles they have left, and tightening up in every conceivable way. So, if you haven’t heard of the Circle yet or seen a show, go fix that, because they are one of the best bands currently in D/FW.
They’ll be doing a VERY rare acoustic show this Saturday, February 23rd, at the Liquid Lounge in Dallas. Also, on Thursday, March 14th, they’ll be performing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas. It’s the semi-final round for the Hard Rock Rising Competition and they’ll need as many fans as possible to come out and support them. They only have that one song (their single) released at the moment, and you can purchase it in iTUNES. But, to ease your wait while they work on an EP, they have some live cuts available for FREE download on their REVERBNATION PAGE.
The Circle seemed hard to top, but if any band could do it, it would be the next one, Serosia.
The curtain opened to reveal frontman, Lucas D’Agata, standing at the center of the stage, head bowed and hands behind his back. It was oddly calm for the group, as guitarist, Joseph Kuban, and bassist, Derek Troxell, stood on either side of him, also making no movement. But that peacefulness wouldn’t last long…
Joseph lit into his guitar, with he and Derek alternating riffs, as they fired up “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars”. Once Anthony D’Agata came in on the drums, Lucas broke the tranquil demeanor he had, going wild as he proceeded to thrash around the stage. Yeah, that was more like what everyone expects out of Serosia. The pushed on with their 38-minute long set, and rounded things right into their next, “The Room”, which was one of the most extreme of their set, with Lucas screaming a large portion of the lyrics. While I’m not usually keen on stuff like that, Lucas makes it sound good, plus it fits well with the music. After a quick pause to introduce themselves and thank everyone for coming out, Lucas stated that they were going to play some songs from their new album, “Variables”, beginning with “Friendly Fire”. Anthony quickly launched them into the beast of a track, and they didn’t get much chance to catch their breath upon finishing it. “Let’s keep this motherfucker going!” shouted Lucas. “I am concealed. I am in no way…” he sang, which prompted the fans to erupt with cheers, realizing it was one of everyone’s favorites, “Criminal”. They were far from being done with their newer stuff, and had saved one of their strongest songs, “Superposition”, for right now. It fit better in the middle of the set, instead of being the closer like at the previous show of theirs that I saw. Here it helped continue the epic flow they had created, further exciting the audience, some of whom had started a mosh pit, and towards the end Lucas got some crowd participation, having everyone shout out the line, “I feel a war!…” a few times. It has only been about five months since they released their latest EP, but Serosia is one of those bands that’s always working on new material. Proving that was a song that they unveiled this night, called “Reduced to Memory”, and I dare say it was one of the best tunes I’ve heard these guys do, which is saying a lot. The mood was lightened a bit with “The Architect”, and I say “lightened” in the sense that it is not as heavy as some of their other material, which made “Sway” a good follow up for it. At times it’s a balls to the wall rock song, but it’s filled with some softer moments, like when Lucas softly croons, “…You have the power to fly but you fail to try…”. That brought them to their final song of the night, which Lucas mentioned came from their “Perspective And Balance” EP, which, along with their other records, could be bought over at their merch table after the show. The song was “Ventriloquist”, which is similar enough to their opening song that it made the two seem like bookends, and made for a fitting end to what had been an astounding set.
I’ve seen Serosia a few times now, and personally, this was the best shows I’ve seen them do. As far as performances go, you’d be hard pressed to find a band in North Texas that can one up them, let alone even hold their own against them. Hell, you could probably broaden that view to include most national acts and it would still stand true.
They put it all out there, giving 110%, and that’s obvious if you see one of their shows. You can’t even say that one is a more fierce performer than the others, as Joseph, Derek, Anthony and Lucas all bring an equal amount of energy to the show, meaning all of them are entertaining to watch.
Between their store on REVERBNATION and of course ITUNES, you can purchase all the music the band has released. And while they don’t have any shows on the books at the moment, keep an eye on their Facebook Page, because they’ll no doubt have something coming up in the near future.
That made for a fine night of current local music, but know it was time to get a little nostalgic and watch Advent. And for me, experience a Advent show for both the first and last time.
Before they started their set, vocalist, Brandan Narrell, welcomed everyone to the show. “…We’re still five fat guys who like to rock…” he said, before they tore into the first song of their epic set. Their first song sounded pretty, though it was a non-album track, so I’m clueless to what it was. Actually, the same goes for the next couple of songs. It probably shouldn’t have, but it kind of surprised me that they didn’t get right into the material from their album. But now that I think about, there are only eight songs on their record, which would explain needing more songs to fill the time. Like I said, I had never seen them before, and if I had, I would have known to expect this. After another one, Brandan kind of summed up the bands career by saying they set out to make a dent. “…And this…” he said, referring to all the people who had gathered there to see them, “…Proves we broke the windshield…”. That led them to a slightly slower song, which I think was titled “Bringing Me Down”. To be a softer song in comparison to their other stuff, they pulled it off well, and it sounded outstanding. It became apparent early that their set was going to be filled with some crude banter, so if anyone was easily offended, you were at the wrong show. For example, after that song, Brandan said something like, “The girls of Texas have the biggest tits and the tight slits, and the guys have the biggest dicks…” With that, they did a song called “Gone Again”, which led them to a very unexpected cover song. This hard rock outfit had picked a Phil Collins classic, and proceeded to perform “In the Air Tonight”. Guitarists, Josh Sanders and Derek Sanders, and bassist, Vernon Greer, made it much more gritty than the original version, putting their own spin on it, but it still maintained the same vibe as the original. I was honestly surprised Brandan could pull off more of a falsetto tone, but he did, and rather well at that. They joked afterwards that they had written that song, getting a laugh out of everybody, and after talking a little more, Brandan worked their next song title into his speech. Now they were getting to the really good stuff, with the first track of their “The Lines of Healing” album, “Better Than OK”. I had been enjoying the show thus far, but it was with that song where I really felt it take off and when I got dragged into it. The drummer, “Sonic”, did a short solo before their next song, which got a unique intro. “…As you get older,” said Brandon, “You’ll find that if it’s a pussy or an asshole, it’s always caving in.” Josh and Vernon both gave him a look like, “What the hell?” He just shrugged, as “Sonic” got “Caving In” going. “Silenced” followed it, and then another song which I assume was an original, “What I See”. They had another cover song in the chamber, though, “Policy of Truth”, which was another that they left their mark on. “We wrote that one the first day we got together…” Brandan said when they finished, and couldn’t help but laugh while he said it. “…We just got in there and were like, “This will make a good song.”, speaking of the Depeche Mode tune. He continued by stating how proud he and everyone else in the band was to be from Dallas. He again thanked everyone for coming out and supporting the bands. He then let everyone know that because of this, people continuing to support the local bands, he knew that legends like “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera, and Drowning Pool’s original vocalist, Dave Williams, would live forever, because they could never be forgotten. They got back to business with “Everything You Know”, which combined the best of both a ballad and a rock song, sounding like the former on the verses, before getting heavier on the choruses. With “Choices”, Vernon got add some backing vocals, or rather screams, which worked perfectly with Brandans’ smoother voice, giving the song a little dose of piss and vinegar. Upon finishing it, they were told their time was almost up, resulting in them ending their 64-minute long set with “Faceless”.
It’s a good song, but didn’t offer the right note to end on, and left me wondering if they really would come back, since it was already well after one in the morning.
Some people did clear out, but they missed out, as the curtain was soon drawn apart again, with Brandan saying they didn’t get back together for this show to short their fans. Once again he thanked everyone. “You all could have gone down the street to see Sum 41…” he said. Derek, Josh, Vernon and “Sonic” then broke into a few second clip of a Sum 41 tune, which was pretty humorous. Now they got to the song every single person there had been wanting to hear, and that was “Back Down”. That offered a more appropriate end to their show, but they weren’t done yet. They invited anyone they had every shared the stage with up on stage, and two notable people were there. One was J.R. Munoz of the band Overscene, the other was accomplished singer/songwriter, Christian Sly. “This isn’t enough people. I don’t care who you are, just get up here!” said Brandan, prompting many fans to storm the stage. “…C’mon, we need to get this tighter than a nuns pussy…” he said, which they eventually did. The stage was packed, so much so that each of the guys had just enough room to take a few steps. Closing out this 12-minute encore was what I guess was another cover song, and it sounded pretty good, especially with Christian and J.R. adding their talents to it.
That was a pretty cool end to their set, seeing this fairly iconic Dallas band surrounded by their fans as they left the stage for what was in all likelihood the last time ever.
I know I never saw them back in their heyday, but I think they were every bit as good this night as they were in their prime. The Sander’s brothers were great, especially Josh, who I’m familiar with from his current band, The Commotion. I think he cut loose more here, simply because Advent’s music is easier to rock out to. And for “five fat guys” as Brandan put it (which isn’t an accurate statement), who have been out of the game for awhile, they more than held their own against all the other bands on the bill.
This was really a great night, and I’m glad I finally, after almost seven years, got to see an Advent show. It was worth the wait.
This made for my third straight week going to the Curtain Club in Dallas, and it was no doubt going to be a great show this night.
After nearly two weeks since the last concert I saw, I was itching to go somewhere to hear some live music, and this night, Trees was the only place to be.
Though it had been out for a couple of months, Meridian was finally getting around to doing an official CD release show (there’s a long story behind that), and they were headlining this night of all local rock to celebrate the release of their debut record.
Oddly enough, this was a three band bill, but while this night was lacking in numerous acts, there was an overabundance of rock, and The Circle was first to deliver it.
They got right down to business, and opened with a pretty heavy number where frontman, Don Mills, did a fair bit of screaming while he sang. It was a beast of a song, and a solid opener, though the most impressive thing so early on was how tight they appeared to be. I had seen them once before, shortly after Don had joined the band when they played a show for RYA Entertainment (co-founded by WhiskeyBoy Radio and myself). It was a good show then, but you could tell were still finding their groove. Well, it was noticeable right of the bat this night that they have since found it, and have become quite the cohesive unit. After that song, Don made a little speech about the local music community, thanking everyone for coming out to support all the bands this night and that it wouldn’t be possible without them. Afterwards, they started another pretty intense song, “Beggars Can’t be Choosers”. Afterwards, Don had a question for the audience. “…Who was the last band played on the [radio station] The Eagle in twenty-twelve?!” They had some devoted fans out this night, who yelled in response, “The Circle!” “That’s right. And only one band gets to say that.” He added, as his band mates started into their next tune, which I think they said was a fairly new one. As they finished up what was a slightly slower song for them, they wound it into another rocker, “My Trip to the Desert Sucked”. Upon finishing it, Don referred to this as “church”, which effectively made the crowd their congregation, all of whom seemed anxious as to what would continue their “sermon”. Next up they did one which I believe Don later added they had not played since their show at the House of Blues, all the way back in June. “How many of you were there?” he roared, and was answered with some applause. Drummer, Marc Berry, led them into their next song, “I Am”, which quickly exploded Craig Nelson and Alan Sauls, the lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist, respectively, and bassist, Kenneth Henrichs, tore into it. After another song, which, if memory serves me correctly, was another one they hadn’t played live in awhile and had dusted off for this show, they started to wrap up their set with “Somewhere”. The song has some sweet guitar licks from Craig, and towards the end of the song he indulged everyone with a stellar solo, where he really shredded on his guitar. During the brief silence that followed after that song, one fan made a request, shouting out, “Sleep On It!” It’s the bands newest single, and so far the only one they’ve released featuring Don at the helm. It’s also arguable the best song in their arsenal, and like any professional, national level touring band, they had saved the best for last. It’s hands down an incredible song, and while it was acted as a nice conclusion to their set, it also left you wishing they could have done more than just a 36-minute long set.
You could tell the band has done a lot of growing during the last six months, which can no doubt be attributed to a great deal of practice at rehearsals, and subsequently honed their live performance with their consistent schedule of shows.
They were a fine tuned machine, and every bit as good as the two acts that would go on after them. In some aspects, even a little better, and because of that The Circle should be a band you familiarize yourself with, and do it pronto.
They have some songs you can download from their REVERBNATION PAGE, all of which are live cuts, and most of them feature Don as the singer. Then you have the single, “Sleep On It”, which you can purchase in iTunes. Now once you do that, you’ll probably be wanting to see a show, and they do have a big one coming up in February. On the 2nd they’ll be at the Curtain Club in Dallas, as one of the acts opening the reunion show for the band Advent. That’s going to be an impressive night of music so, don’t miss it.
After them was the only out of town band, and that was Austin’s own, Dawn Over Zero.
It’s well documented on here how much I love that band, though it had been about ten months since the last time I had seen them. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear what they had in store this night.
Their 39-minute long set began with the lead track from their “Unity & Division” album, “Caricatures”. It’s one of the most fiery tracks from the record, and was a good choice as an opener, as it immersed everyone into the straight up rock sounds their ears would be enjoying. Bassist, Jonathan Boyce, quickly gave a shout out to The Circle for opening, and before he could completely finish, singer and rhythm guitarist, Mike Mears, and lead guitarist, Steven Abbenante, fired up “Catapult”. I could be wrong, but I’m thinking that tune was absent the last time I saw them, but either way, it was good to hear it again, as it is one of their catchiest. Steven didn’t even take a break, switching the final note of that song into the first one of their next one, a classic from their self-titled EP, “Take You Under”. Nothing against their new stuff, because I do love it, but there’s something about those older ones that are downright amazing. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that I like the chorus, “Well you take another trip, crossing the lines and now it’s time to stray from all the steps that may take you under…”. Of course the bulk of their set did come from their new album, though, and they pushed on with “Kidney Stone”, which is much more enjoyable than the name might suggest. They did pause occasionally between some of the remaining songs, but only long enough to thank Trees for hosting the show, the people for coming out, or the other bands on the bill. And it was after that, that they began a favorite of mine, “Short On a Dime”, followed by one of their best songs. “This sounds like a workout video, doesn’t it?” Mike asked, doing something that resembled a jumping jack and looked like it belonged in a jazzercise video, all while Steven played his part of “Give and Take”. Those chords alone sound incredible, and the fact that he cranked it out for a few seconds before his band mates joined in only enhanced the tune. The show then took a turn and got a little humorous, as Mike stated that the day before he had been threatened on Facebook. Saying he had been told that if they didn’t do this song, than their trailer would be vandalized. It probably wasn’t a credible threat, since it came from a member of the previous band, but he joked that he didn’t want to take any chances. The song that had been requested was a cover of a Johnny Hates Jazz tune that can be found on their record, and that song is “Shattered Dreams”. Mike sang the first verse (or maybe a little more) almost a cappella, with only Steven adding some very soft guitar notes over his voice. It was a stellar extra touch, but soon, fill-in drummer , Kevin Abbenante, (their master drummer, Mack Linan, was ill with the flu) busted into it, and really got the song underway. “How much time to we have left?” Mike asked the sound guy when they finished. Ten minutes was the answer, giving them enough time for two more, one of which is my favorite DOZ song and one I had not heard in an incredible long time. With all their new(er) material, “The Confidence” has become a deeper cut, and one that, at least based on the last few times I’ve seen them, has been seldom heard. In fact, I was afraid it may have been cut from the live show all together, so I was ecstatic when they started it. And for the record, it sounded even better than I remembered. Only one song remained at this point, and I assumed it came down to one of their two lead singles. “…This is the single from our first record.” Announced Mike, as they oddly (though thankfully) decided to end with the epic, “Circulation”.
This was as solid a set as any band could hope to do, and while I was surprised that “Carry Me Home” (their most recent single) was missing from the setlist, I’m okay with that, because I enjoy everything they did do so much more. Plus, it was just an amazing selection of songs.
I’ve seen more than a few DOZ shows, and this was the best in my opinion. It exemplified what the band is all about, and that is a high-energy live show (with tons of racing and jumping around the stage) that engages the listener, regardless of if they’re already a fan or are having their first ever Dawn Over Zero experience.
They’re a great band, and one to check out. One way to do that is of course by purchasing their music in ITUNES, and you can also find a couple of free downloads on their REVERBNATION PAGE. You can also go out to a live show, and while they don’t have any scheduled at this moment, keep a check on their Facebook or Reverbnation pages.
It was a little after eleven o’clock at this point, and approaching time for Meridian to take the stage.
They originally had a CD release show booked here in late October, but due to Trees being double booked, their show got cut. And while they had not done an official CD release show any time since, their EP had been available at both shows and online. In some ways, maybe that did diminish the excitement level that usually surrounds CD release shows, but still, this was a CD release show, and those are always ones for the books.
They ripped right into it, opening with “Re-digress”. I’m still not used to the new version of it, and couple that with the fact that I hadn’t seen the band in months either, and I didn’t even remember what song it was at first. I only recognized it when frontman, Tim Ziegler, sang the final line, “…Fuck all your politics. Fuck all your stupid tricks. Fuck all the things you say, words only get in the way.” Killer opener, and while I do still miss the original version of the song (which used those last few lines as the chorus), this new incarnation is more polished and has some sweet notes courtesy of guitarists, Mark Sims and Shannon Nedved. Following it up was their first song of the night from the EP, and that was “All Hands”. It was the best I’ve heard the song sound, and somehow it was also the first time I really took notice of the chorus, “I heard you call for me, but I could not be there, and you are wanting something that I forgot so long ago. And I have found the next best silhouette to take the place of you…”, which Tim crooned quite well, considering he was ill with the flu. Chris Gentry stepped up as the song concluded, and kept riffing on his bass, doing a brief solo which segued it into their next song, which was a newer one. Upon finishing it, they took a break, during which Tim mentioned his sickness and pulled out a bottle Singers Saving Grace throat spray. “…Let’s see if this works…” he said, testing it out, and also making a few wisecracks about it. They got back to it with their most aggressive song, “Nights Like This”. I’m not sure if the throat spray helped Tim or not, but it couldn’t have hurt either, because he sounded basically as good on it now as he has every other time I’ve heard them play it. A couple more tunes followed, the latter of which was an incredible sounding new one, while preceding it was what strikes me as being a fan favorite, and the chorus goes something like, “…This is war. The city is going to burn tonight…” Before moving on, Tim took a moment to plug their album. “…Let me tell you something about it. It cost eight thousand dollars to make. So go buy a copy. I think they’re only, like, five bucks… So at the very least you’ll have a cool coaster…” I already had plans to buy the CD, but hearing that only reinforced why I needed to. After he finished his speech, the sample track began for their next song, “The fire starts and ends.” It repeated a few times, with Tim adding, “With you.” to it to officially begin “Starts & Ends”. I said once before that was unsure about their tweaked version of this one, since the lyrics were what really drew it to me. But after hearing the recording of the new incarnation, I can say I still love it just as much as the old one… Maybe even more so. His voice may not have been one hundred percent, and while Tim has always been capable of a goofball personality on stage, he really seemed to let it shine through now, almost to compensate for the other areas. For example, during that song, he began thrusting his hips and humping the air. It was a nice dose of comic relief so to speak, and it only got better with their next song. “Lazy Eye” is another newer addition to the live set, and is not only a remarkable song, but was also the best one of their set this night. It just sounded better than anything else during their set, and while belting out the lyrics, Tim made his way around the stage, first to stage left to hump Mark, then over Shannon, where he proceeded to grind against his band mate. It was wrong, but oh so funny. “We have a couple songs left…” Tim stated, leading them into their “slow” tune, “Train”, which is also rather beautiful. That then took them to the final song of their 41-minute long set, as Mark began the song, before drummer, Joe Maurer, busted them into “Hey Lover”.
Considering Tim’s illness with the flu, it was a good show. Though I’d be remiss if I said it was flawless. There were just a few times I heard his voice crack, or you could tell he wanted to step it up on a part, but just couldn’t take it to where he wanted to. I can’t really fault the guy, though, because how many singers would still perform if their instrument was compromised like that? I doubt many would.
In every other aspect, though, it was pretty solid.
You can find the bands EP on iTunes, and by all means, go buy it. You’ll be glad you did. They also have at least one show coming up, and it will take place on February 9th at Tomcats West in Fort Worth.
The only bad thing about this show was the lack of people. It was an amazing lineup, but there were maybe fifty or so people there throughout the entire night. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but pathetic is the best word I can think of to describe the turnout, and it should have been much better than this. Oh, well. It’s too late to do anything now, and at least those who did show up where true, diehard fans of the bands.
Dawn Over Zero
This night marked the official launch party of RYA Entertainment and hosting this monumental event was Tomcats West in Fort Worth.
I couldn’t help but think of how quickly things can change in a week’s time, though. Or even just a few days for that matter.
By the time this show rolled around we had realized there was a difference between the three members of RYA and the direction we wanted things to go in, subsequently parting ways with Katie Boyd. (View THIS press release for more information)
That wouldn’t mar the excellent show that we had assembled, though.
After losing the original opening band we had, we thought we’d just be down to a five band bill. That is until The Circle stepped up to take the opening spot just days earlier.
I knew nothing about them, but from what I listened to online they sounded killer. Turns out, the songs they had/have available online are with their old vocalist, so it ended up not being a true representation of what they are like now.
They started throwing down with their first song, and afterwards, vocalist, Don Mills, announced their next tune. “This song is called, My Trip to the Desert” he bellowed, as guitarists, Craig Nelson and Alan Sauls, ripped into the song. There was a funny moment in between it and the next song, as Don picked up a shaker, and began talking to someone, which I believe was the sound guy. “Remember when I used to get a guitar to play? This is what I get now…” he said, holding up the shaker. “…Apparently I just wasn’t good [on the guitar] and nobody every told me.” he finished. He started shaking away as drummer, Marc Berry, started into “Beggars Can’t be Choosers”. They got three more in, blending the latter two right into each other, before squeezing one final song into their 25 minute set, which I think was “Sleep On It”.
These guys were astounding. I mean, for an opening band, they did at least as good a job as most headliners do. The sad thing was almost no one was there to witness it, which is just a shame because they deserved so much more than the meager crowd they had. Especially since the caliber of performance they put on was enough to entertain a few hundred people, easy. Craig, Alan, Marc and bassist, Kenneth Henrichs, owned the stage, while Don was a true force to be reckoned with. Comparing the recordings I had listened to of the old incarnation of the band with seeing them live here, he (Don) has a much harder voice, which is a better fit with the alternative rock sound that the band is. This was also only their second show with this current line-up, which I was surprised to hear, because they were tight to the point it looked like they had been playing together for years.
They have a couple of shows lined up at the moment. The first will be July 21st at The Aardvark in Fort Worth, while the next one will be in Denison, TX at Rock Star Bar on August 10th.
Ursa took the stage next and began their short 26 minute long set with what was a new song to me, titled, “Fantasy”. That song was incredible, especially with the performance they put on to accompany it. Vocalist, Michael Keeney, announced their next song, which was “Aim to Please”. They kept right on going with another song from their self-titled record, as Michael said, “This is, This Is Your Captain Speaking”, as drummer, Brian Sumler, started pounding away at the song with guitarists, Jovan Santos and Dave Perez, and bassist, Pat Llull, joined in. There’s a lengthy pause is this song that could have one thinking the song is over, and when they reached that part Michael held up his finger, in the universal “wait a second” hand language, as they soon ripped back into the song. They did a couple more new(er) ones, one of which I think I heard them say was called “Harpoon”, while the other was “Make My Day”. One of those they said was about getting physical with a person, and Michael noted that it was of course “in the consensual way.” After it, they then had one song left, and then their set was done.
I wish they had gotten more time, because I was REALLY enjoying them. I’ve seen them only a few times before, but have never been impressed with them as I was this night. Everything was spot on and precise, and I really like the formula that most of their songs follow, where Michael’s voice is a little more relaxed on the versus and then soars to life at each chorus.
Their next show will be on July 6th at the main room of the House of Blues in Dallas, and best of all, it’s FREE. Go to the bands FACEBOOK PAGE, send them a message with your name and mailing address and how many tickets you want, and they’ll mail them to you. They’re playing with some other astounding bands that night, too. So don’t miss out on this free night of rock. Also, you can download their entire debut, self-titled record on their REVERBNATION PAGE for free.
Next on the bill was the Austin based, Done Deal, who is currently the only band managed by RYA Entertainment. They classify themselves as Alternative/Fusion, which is true. They do have an alternative sound, and the vocals are the fusion part, as they are done in a hip-hop style. Hip-Hop in a genre that I’ve never been able to get into, and in listening to the band’s music online, I just had never been able to get into it. But in the live setting bands can be completely different, and I was hoping that would be the case for Done Deal. It was…
As soon as they started you knew you were watching something special, as they plowed through their first two songs, going from one right into the other. They did another song before vocalist, Luckie, said their next song was called “Time for Change”, as an audio clip of what sounded like a speech from former President George W. Bush played in the background. Luckie then asked who all smoked, and one person of the small handful of people they had drawn towards the stage said, “Only when I drink.” “Oh, we ain’t talking about cigarette’s…” Luckie told, noting that this song was about “the herb”, and could have possible been “I’m So High”. Their DJ, Kold Kurt, killed it during this song, and he wasn’t the only one who had some time in the spotlight on this tune. “Our drummer wants to do something for y’all. Is that cool?” Luckie asked, as he and his other band mates stepped back on the stage, getting out of the way. Justin then broke into a minutes long drum solo that was nothing short of epic. There were a few different times it seemed like he might be done with it, but he just kept on, his arms almost a blur at times. Everyone got back at the forefront of the stage as Justin rolled that song right into their next one, a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name”, which they knocked out of the park. “We’ve got one song left. This is called I Rock Hip-Hop.” declared Luckie, as he started spitting out the words, “…I rock hip-hop all the way to the top. Not gonna stop till the number one spot, ‘cause I rock hip-hop…”, to the song that would end their 34 minute set.
Best band of the night? I would say so. His style of singing might not be what personally appeals to me, but there’s no denying that Luckie slayed as a frontman, often standing with one arm behind his back while he delivered the lines. As for guitarist, Sam, he could shred like no one’s business when he wanted to, and bassist, Kevin, had a good swagger going on.
You can download a few of their songs for free by going to their REVERBNATION PAGE and catch them back here at Tomcats West on August 3rd for the RYA Entertainment/WhiskeyBoy Radio produced show, Broadcasting for Boobies, which will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Another out of town band was next, as Downsiid took the stage. They began with a cool intro that DJ AkirA began, spinning some turntables and stuff. The whole band soon filed on stage, and that was when things really got underway. Jason Atwood’s voice was stellar, and there were more than a few songs where DJ AkirA left his turntable/keyboard and helped Jason sing a few songs, adding a rap style to the tunes, giving them a very distinct sound. Guitarists, Jeff Scott and George Dell, and bassist, Jason Quintero, helped carry the performance, putting on an incredibly intense, high-energy show, and the same could be said for drummer, Rich Burgos. I wish I could talk more about them, but I didn’t know any of the songs they played, sans a very unexpected but sensational sounding cover of “When Doves Cry” by Prince.
They have several albums available to purchase in iTunes, which includes their newest, “Life of Lies”, “The Evolution of Ghetto Rock” and more. Their current show schedule is as follows: June 29TH at The Railhead in Lawton, Oklahoma. June 30the at The Rail Club in Fort Worth. And July 14th at Fitzgerald’s in San Antonio.
The main attraction of the night was Kennedy, and well… There’s just something about them that I’ve never been quite able to get into, and still couldn’t tonight. I have grown fond of their song “Lust in a 4x6 Frame”, which was a highlight of their set, but still, it’s like it just failed (or fails) to click with me. Their set did get cut a little short, as they evidently had a cover planned, but scratched it so they could unveil a brand new song.
You can find both of the bands albums, the full-length, “Diaries: Volume I”, and their EP, “Set It Off”, on iTunes. Their next show is slated for July 13th at the Curtain Club in Dallas for a event put on by Texas Music Unites.
Last up for the night was RedShift, whom I was looking forward to finally seeing again, especially since it had been around eight months since the last show I caught. They started their 37 minute long set with “Don’t Run Away”, which had vocalist, Tommy Barker, adding a third guitar to the mix. As the song ended, though, he took it off and set it aside to focus on what he really excels at, being a true frontman. They did another song that I was unfamiliar with, and rounded it right into the next one, as I believe Jake Cox started shredding away at his guitar, with the drums and fellow guitarist, Chris Hathcock, soon joining the song. “That song’s called Pulling Through.” Tommy said when it was finished, who proceeded to set up their next song. I didn’t understand all of what he said, but it was something about 2012 and the whole thing with the Mayan calendar predicting the world would end, though I think he noted he wasn’t so sure about all that, but that the next song could fit with all that. Clay Wise started in with a great drum solo before they broke into “Down With A Grin”. The song does fit along the lines of what he talked about, such as the opening line, “Here we are, the end is closer today…”, but I have a feeling that there’s a little more depth to the song than being about the Mayan doomsday. They did another song I wasn’t familiar with, but had a sweet guitar solo from Jake, and then Clay segued it into one of their heaviest numbers, “Red And Black”. They are certainly more of a hard rock band, but this is the best example of that, with Tommy letting out some killer screams that are downright gritty. During their next song was when things started to go awry, as Jake experienced some guitar trouble and wasn’t a main part of the song. They kept right on with it, though, and didn’t let these technical difficulties stop them. At this point, bassist, Alex Cantrell, briefly mentioned everything anyone needed to know about the band, like where to find them online and where to purchase a digital copy of their EP, before they started their final song. Jake was still hindered during that song, finally unplugging his guitar and walking over to stage right to use Tommy’s amp, which seemed to work fine, but that was only for the final minutes.
Despite the issues there at the end, I still thought it was a great set. The last time I saw RedShift they were still a fairly new band who had only recently released their first ever record. They were quite good, but you could tell they were still new. But tonight, I could quickly tell that they had tightened up. They were all much more in-tune with each other and appeared more comfortable on stage then the last time I had seen them. They just a fantastic job of bringing the rock, and are truly a force to be reckoned with.
You can, and should, check out their EP, “The Awakening”, on iTunes, and as of right now their next show will be a hometown one in Denison, TX on August 10th at the Rock Star Bar.
From the music standpoint, I’d say the official RYA launch party was a HUGE success, as every band did an outstanding job and I want to say thank you once again for playing the event. Other than that, everything was pretty much on par for what I had imagined. We were far from selling the place out, but still had an okay turnout.
The next RYA Entertainment event will be on August 3rd and 4th right here at Tomcats West and will the Broadcasting for Boobies benefit show that was mentioned a little bit above. ALL proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and we have some awesome talent lined up to play, so don’t miss out!
We also did have a show at The Aardvark on July 6th, and while we have dropped it as far as being directly involved (due to the sudden changes we are going through), you still should go to the show. Bands performing include Dawn Over Zero, Half-Stack Heart-Attack, Sayonara, Sonar Lights, The Devils Bards and Ashley VanArsdel.