Saturday, March 30th, 2013 – The Music Enthusiast’s Local Rock Showcase

It had been over a month in the making, but this night was finally the night of the WhiskeyBoy Radio, RYA Entertainment and The Music Enthusiast presented show at Reno’s Chop Shop in Dallas.

It had been a while since we had put together a show (actually last August when WBR did their benefit show to raise money to help the fight against breast cancer), so this was long overdue.

Five great bands had agreed to play the show for us, and after one dropped of just a week before, Bawcomville was kind enough to fill the vacant spot for us.

About a year or so ago the band’s singer, Jeycin Fincher, had done a hilarious interview on an episode of WhiskeyBoy Radio, which was how I was introduced to the band, bust since their shows are very few and far between, I had never really had an opportunity to see them.

The band released a solid EP almost a year and a half ago, but near as I could tell they didn’t do anything from it, unleashing a slew of new songs on the small crowd that had gotten there by 8:30 to see them play.

I knew they were a rock band, but what I had listened to gave the impression that they were more of a softer rock band, so when they busted out of the gates with a killer, loud rock song, I was pleasantly surprised. They didn’t let up, either, tearing through three more songs and upping the energy level more with each one. At this point, WhiskeyBoy himself made a reference to the interview he had done with Jeycin, calling out a “sponsor” Jeycin kept naming, called “cunt nectar”. This obviously got some strange remarks from some of the people who didn’t get, as Jeycin joked not to mention them anymore, as they had decided to drop their sponsorship of Bawcomville. They got back to their music, rocking out four more songs in their 34-minute long set. Jeycin mentioned they had two more songs than they would “stop bothering everybody”, but it turned out that drummer, Ryan Pogue, had really gotten into it, and broke his kick drum pedal. That almost forced them to cut their set short, but luckily Doug of Long Sword Spectacular was nice enough to loan them his pedal, allowing them to properly finish out their set.

Part of it is probably because I was expecting something different, but the guys of Bawcomville were out of this world. Jeycin has a killer voice and he owned it on the guitar. Aside from that, he added some funny moments to the set, saying thanks after almost every song, but saying it in a high-pitched voice that sounded like it could have been well suited for a cartoon character. Both bassist, Chris Nutt, and guitarist, Derek Bennett, put on just as mean of a live show, moving all about the stage and shredding on their respective instruments, while Ryan solidified the rhythm section with some flawless drumming.

Catch the band on Saturday, May 4th at the Tentacle House in Plano (see their FB page for info). Also, pick up a copy of their self-titled debut EP, and hopefully soon they can get some of these newer songs laid down and released.

Long Sword Spectacular was up next, and one of only two bands on this bill that I had seen before.

The Hard Rock trio started their 43-minute long set with singer and bassist, Josh Harelik, giving shout outs to all three parties who put the show together, and then they got their first song underway. That song was “Manhunt”, which quickly immersed everyone in their heavy Hard Rock sounds, which even has some tinges of Metal thrown in. “…I’m the devil incarnate and I’m here to say… I’m on a mission of killing all my enemies…” growled Josh at the end of the first verse, leading into the chorus. That was one of the songs from their 2012 self-titled debut album, but they also did a few of their newer songs, like their next one, which drummer, Doug Jones, guitarist, Daniel Reid, and Josh segued perfectly into. It was during that track that Daniel let loose a wicked little guitar solo, and once they had finished with that song, Doug started the drum part for “Hey (We Want You)”. He patched them seamlessly into the song, which was then followed with another new number. They had been owning it thus far, and had everyone enthralled, but they managed to kick things up a few notches with the intense and gritty “Firewalk”. There are a few instrumental stretches during that one, which freed Josh from the microphone, allowing him to move and thrash about to the music. I also really enjoy that tune because there’s a certain sense of urgency to it, which only grows the deeper they get into the song. They cranked out some more new ones afterwards, and before one of them Josh shouted, “…We’re gonna take you all to Babylon!”, as they tore into the song. It wound up being my favorite song of their set, partially due to the lengthy instrumental break they took, which showed off what outstanding musicianship all three of them have. When he spoke in between songs, Josh did so with a lot of enthusiasm, and now he excitedly told everyone they did have CD’s for sale, but left out the price, as he checked with Doug. “…For pay what you want!!!” he shouted. They did one last new one for the night, saving three of their heaviest hitters for the final songs. One of those was “Threat Display”, which could be considered the bands anthem in way, with the opening line being, “When the dead rise, red fills the eyes. Revenge sparks the fire. LSS for hire…”. “Dead Soul (Down the Hatch)” was probably the most fun song of their set, with Josh switching up the lyrics at the beginning, incorporating Reno’s into the story that the song tells. It really is a story, too, and one I laughed at a few times, because how many songs have the line “…I smoothed out my mustache…” in them? I don’t think many do, but as fun as it was, it was also a serious Hard Rock song with a thick rhythm section that shook your innards. The final track on their album, “Breakin’ Loose”, was also the final song of their set, and brought it to a fiery finish.

They put on the most fun show I had seen in a LONG time (with the exception of a certain band I had seen the previous Sunday). They were up there having what looked like the time of their life’s putting on a legitimate rock show, and their songs only added to that fun.

That’s the thing about their music, there is a light, fun quality to most of them, despite the fact they are very heavy and more Metal sounding. That in turn is what makes them so enjoyable in my opinion, because while there is a bit of anger to Joshs’ voice and all the other Metal traits are present, too, they don’t fit the stereotypical mold, and have a style that is all their own.

They stole the show this night, and every other band could only hope to be as half as good as they were.

Their next shows will be on May 10th at the Rail Club in Fort Worth opening for Saliva. On June 1st they’ll be in McKinney at Dawgz ‘n’ Hawgz. The next week, June 8th, will find them in Dallas at the Liquid Lounge and on July 5th they’ll be playing O’Riley’s in Dallas. Also, be sure to check out their record in ITUNES.

Smack dab in the middle of this show was the Dallas based Rock band, Always the Alibi, who had been laying low for most of the year thus far.

They had some surprises for everyone, but first up was one of their songs from their debut EP, “Wave on the Sand”. They’ve changed up the intro of it for the live version, and personally I like it so much better, as it just has a slicker sound to it. That got them off to a strong start, and they built on it with one of their newer songs, “Edge of the World”. Now, during their time off from the club circuit, they’ve been working on some new material, and now they were ready to debut one of those brand new tracks, which was titled “Twelve Years”. It was a really good song from what I remember, but I was more wowed by the other new track they would eventually get to. At this point, guitarist Kelly Panter mentioned that he and singer/guitarist Henry Coke had done an interview for my podcast the week before, with Kelly warning everyone of how I “tricked” them. “…He gave us beer and Victoria Secret mailers to look at…” he told everyone. Yes, it’s true, but I was informed that beer and Playboy’s were a part of their rider, so I the best that I could with what I had. Ha. Several more tracks from the “We Are Waiting” EP came next, like the one that was for the ladies, “Beautiful Girl”. They wound it right into one of their best rock tunes, “Dream”, with the killer chorus, “…Go on, move on knowing I was never enough.”, which Henry sang with real emotion. “She’s Letting Go” was another standout track with its at times blistering guitar solos, but it paled in comparison to their next one, “Ain’t Another Girl”, which packs a punch that most songs could only hope to have. Some more funny banter ensued as Kelly mentioned he had used the bathroom earlier and talked about how bad the conditions were. “…[It] smells like sex…” he said, jokingly accusing WhiskeyBoy of getting it on and being responsible for it. They then tackled another brand new song, which was one I had been looking forward to, called “My Little Ghost”. It started off very quiet, mainly with Henry strumming his axe, but after awhile grew into a real rock number, with bassist Evan Scates and drummer Richard Muenckler getting a good rhythm section going. Like I said, out of their two new ones, that was my most favorite, and whenever they get around to recording their next album, hopefully it’ll make the cut. They had a few more songs planned for everybody, but their set got cut short when they were informed they only had three minutes left.  “We Are Waiting.” They all said after looking at one another, opting to close with the title track of their EP. That rock anthem capped off their 38-minute long set, and they raced through it, slowing up near the end for some audience participation where Henry asked everyone to shout “You know, you know, you know” after his “Come on, come on, come on.”, but few people did. Soon, he gave the sign to Richard, Evan and Kelly to move on as they got into the final stretch of it.

I hated that their set got cut short, ‘cause they had a couple more songs to do that I would have liked to have heard, but oh well.

They were able to dish out all the highlights in their time on stage, which was the most important part, and they put on a great set, too, with a nice blend of awesome rock and humorous banter in between some songs. Part of me even wants to say this was the best show I’ve seen them do yet, due to all the new material they did and how amazing it was. Quite honestly, it’s even better than some of the stuff on their debut EP, which is saying a lot.

You can get a free download of one of their songs on REVERBNATION, and if you lie it, get the rest of the “We Are Waiting” EP in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP. Also, see them on May 3rd at The Boiler Room in Dallas.

A Rook/Metal band by the name of Zativah Kid was next, and from the one song they had available to listen to, I didn’t really think I’d like them.

Their first song proved my assumption wrong, though. They, too, were a Metal/Hard Rock band, with even hints of Punk Rock, I thought, which sounded fantastic in the live setting. They ripped through their 34-minute long set, doing songs such as “Destroyer”,  “Hereatic”, “Killer Freakout”, “Reality Check” and many others, eventually getting to their closer, “Fast, Wet and Easy”. While doing that song, drummer, Danny, did a solo on his massive kit, and as the song came to an end, singer, Coz Kalamity, jumped of the stage and into the crowd of people who had gathered around and had a small mosh pit going.

The live show is definitely where it’s at with these guys, who had an abundant amount of energy. Coz displayed the majority of it, racing all over the stage, and it’s also worth noting that he had a much better voice than I was anticipating. The rest of the band may not have been quite as active, but guitarists Chris Zativah and Blaise, bassist, Brian, and Danny are excellent musicians.

Go see ‘em if you have the chance, and I know I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. They have two shows coming up at O’Riley’s in Dallas, one will be on May 10th, and the other is July 5th.

Responsible Johnny was the final act of the night, and personally, I just didn’t dig their style of Punk Rock. I am grateful to them for playing the show for us, though.

You can find their three albums in their store on REVERBNATION, and they are $5 each. As for shows, they have one coming up on June 14th at O’Riley’s in Dallas.

The turnout was rather light, but all in all it was still a great show from the quality aspect, and another big thank you to all the bands for playing and Reno’s for hosting the show.

Speaking of Reno’s I want to put my two cents in about the venue. It has been typecast as a venue for Metal bands and a biker bar. Yes, they do host a lot of Metal shows, and sure, there are some bikers in there at nights. I’ll admit, that’s what kept me away from the venue for so many years, until finally going there about two years ago.

The place isn’t nearly as bad as some people might think, though. The handful of shows I’ve seen there have been great ones. The sound, while not on the level of some of the bigger name venues in Deep Ellum, is better than most. And the crowd at most of these shows is the same you’d see at any other venue, in the sense that it’s just people who want to see live bands, and not a ton of scary looking bikers.

The way Reno’s is now, it’s not worthy of the bad rap it kind of has, and if you’re a music fan and know of a show going on there, go see it. And bands, see about playing there. They do put on some Rock shows at times, like this night for instance.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 – The First Annual Broadcasting for Boobies

Broadcasting for Boobies. The idea was conceived by Chrys Starr of WhiskeyBoy Radio: East Coast in the early part of this year. Well, at least doing something to help raise money for breast cancer research was his idea, which Matt “WhiskeyBoy” then expanded upon, deciding to this concert.

This event had turned into quite an ordeal putting together, first of with the venue change, moving from a worthless place that is no longer opened in Arlington to Tomcats West in Fort Worth, and then the fact that so many bands dropped from it. It was originally planned to be a two-night concert, but the first night got scrapped, and then four out of the six bands that were scheduled for this Saturday night show canceled, leaving us scrambling to try to find replacements. Even the day of it looked like it was only going to be a four band night, until tow acts suddenly stepped up to the plate to fill the vacated spots.

My parents and I arrived shortly after seven, and the rest of the crew was recording a special WhiskeyBoy Radio Podcast (Listen to it HERE. Also, check out this epic DOUBLE SHOT PODCAST.) They wrapped it up soon enough, and after hanging out for a bit to kill time, it was time for the first act to hit the stage.

Two acts joined this show just hours before, and one of those acts was a twelve year old girl named, Mikayla. Matt’s wife introduced her, reading Mikaya’s story to everyone, which was sad and touching. For starters, doctors had found a growth in her throat, and they weren’t sure if it was cancerous or not. So, to be on the safe side, they removed her thyroid. I assume partly due do that unfortunate situation, it had been two years since she last performed on a stage. If you’re not doing the math while reading this, that means she was ten years old the last time she sang publicly like this. And I’m sure this was a much different venue than what she had performed at in the past.

She was visibly nervous when she first got on stage, and while there was only a handful of people there at this time, we chose to hang back from the stage so as to not add to her stress. She did a short set, and it was all covers of Joan Jett tunes, such as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You”. Like I said, she was nervous, but soon as she opened her mouth to sing the first song, it was evident she had no real reason to be. She had an incredible voice, and if you weren’t paying attention to who was singing on stage and just focusing on the voice itself, you never would have guessed it was a twelve year old. She got more comfortable with each song, and by the final one she was asking everyone to come out to the stage, even leaving it for a bit as she walked around amongst the handful of people who had gone up there.

It was a nice little set, and she rocked those cover songs. Check her out if you ever get a chance.

The first actual band of the night was Enamored. And on a random side note, I’m not sure if this is the same Enamored, or rather, a new incarnation of the band, but I remember seeing the name on various venue websites a few years back. Anyway, they started their 31 minute long set with “Empty”, a shorter song that began more melodic, but got heavier, with some hefty drumbeats from Robert P. Guitarist, Aaron, started them on their next song, “Bring Down”, and then they took things down a bit with “Better Off Alone”. That was the song that solidified Jules outstanding voice, which was deeper and very powerful, really shining through on that song. Most of their songs clock in at three minutes or less, but they got back into the real rock swing with their longest song, “Escape”, which has a dynamic rhythm section, which also includes bassist, Robert. They really hit a lull with the song, “Free”, which showcased a completely different side of the band from their other songs, and then did what was probably the most electric song of their set, “Slaves and Toys”, where they all really let loose and owned it on stage. By that time they weren’t sure how much time they had left, and after asking the sound guy, they found out they had enough for one last song, another all-out rocker, which I believe was “Release”.

It was a great, high-energy set they did, and a great way to open the rock floodgates for this show. Great band with some harder rock music and stellar vocals. Go check them out if you get a chance, they’ll be back in Fort Worth on September 22nd at The Rail Club.

After them was another act who had just joined the show earlier in the afternoon. They were a trio by the name The Sonic Underground, which I, nor anyone else for that matter, had ever heard of. The funny thing, though, was after they got on stage I recognized their singer/guitarist, William Carlson, as a guy I frequently see at shows by another band, The Orange. At one of their shows they even got William on stage to sing one of their songs, and I thought, “Man, that guy has a pretty good voice.” Turns out, he’s putting it to use, too.

They did a shorter set, maybe 30 minutes, if not a little less, but in some aspects I think they might have been the best band on the show. Well, let me put that a different way. They were certainly the underdogs of the show, seeing no one in attendance was familiar with them, and that was why I was so impressed, because I had no clue what to expect. And for the record, they managed to blow me away.

They are all under twenty-one, but their musicianship was well beyond their years, flat-out owning it on their instruments. Their original songs were great, too, and at one point William told the crowd, “You might know this next song.” He then proceeded to play the first few chords of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”, which they killed.

I can’t elaborate much on their set, at least not to the extent I like to, and I can’t really promote them, since they have no pages on the interwebs. But I can say this, if you happen to see this promising, young band doing a show near you, go see them.

Triple SP was next up, and I will share with you their interesting story of getting on the Broadcasting for Boobies show. See, they played here just a few weeks prior to this, and billed that show as their last one for three months or so, since the bands guitarist and singer, Derek Procter, was going out with another band of his, and they just decided to take a little hiatus. Then, in posting that we needed some bands, drummer, Alex Lanz, contacted me telling me they’d be interested, and he told me even though he had repeatedly seen the date was August 4th, he thought it was a different date, so told me they would be interested. By the time he realized otherwise, we were planning on them playing, and they said since we had, had trouble with other bands dropping, the last thing they wanted to do was back out on us.

All that deserves some major props in my opinion, and to fill the spot of their other band mate, they enlisted the help of Bryan Motley from the band, The Aurora Crash, to play guitar, while John-Marc Stanley filled the spot of vocalist, and at times added another guitar into the mix. So, this wasn’t a true Triple SP, but it was going to be a very unique one.

Alex got their 37 minute set going, leading them into their first song, “I Want it All”. That was a brand new song that will be on their forthcoming record, and they followed it with another newer one, “Symptom”, which Bryan started shredding on to begin. His band played one of our RYA Entertainment shows a few months back, and he’s a good guitarist, but man, he really cut loose on these songs and just destroyed them. “Never Again” came next, which Brian Scheid started with a sweet, low end bass riff., and then a couple more form their “Transmissions” album, “Step Aside” and I believe, “The Walk”, which is just a true blue rock song, that is also straight and to the point. Another new tune came next, and towards the end of it, Brian stumbled back, falling on his back, and as he laid there, he continued to nail all the bass notes. It seemed almost natural, like he meant to do it, but a couple songs later the same thing happened, and he told everyone, “That’s the first time I’ve ever done that.” Alex then wanted to clarify, “That is not the first time Brian has ever falling down on stage.” He conceded to that, but said the was the first time he had ever fallen down during that specific song. They next did “Behind Your Back”, then one more new tune, which they pointed out they could release at anytime they wanted, but are “holding it at ransom” until they get 500 “likes” on their Facebook page. So go give it a like if you haven’t, because the sounded great, and I would very much like to hear the recording of it. Then, to cap things off, Brian stated that they like to do a different cover song at each show, and while I had no clue what song it was, it sounded pretty good.

It was a really good set they did. I know I’ve been wanting to see them for awhile, after realizing they knew who I was and even gave me a copy of their record, all of which is a humbling experience. Alex and Brian are great at what they do, Bryan added a nice flare to the show, and John-Marc Stanley sang quite well. I’m gonna have to make it to another show sometime, though. A real Triple SP show where they are just a trio… And one where I can hopefully write something a little better than this. But I guess that’s the main point, after seeing this show, I do want to see more.

They’ll be back her at Tomcats on August 25th, and also on December 31st. They even have a date that is probably tentatively set for March 16th in Austin for SXSW. On that day they’ll be playing the Heart of Texas Rockfest. And of course don’t forget to check out their “Transmissions” album in iTunes, or some of their new songs on their REVERBNATION PAGE. You can even get a free download of “I Want it All” on the latest ROCK COMPILATION from Torch Entertainment.

This was a co-headlining sort of night, and up first in that spot was Meridian. They kicked off their performance with “Re-digress”, and I must say, I was more fond of this new version this second time around then I was the first. I always thought any censorship they gave to it would make it loose its edge or something, but it hasn’t, especially with the slightly edgier music bed it. And even if the original chorus isn’t used as much, it still lingers, as towards the end, vocalist, Tim Ziegler, belts out, “Fuck all your politics. Fuck all your stupid tricks…”. The followed it with another heavy-hitter, “All Hands On Deck”, and then a new song, which the name on the setlist read, “30 Seconds”. It was pretty killer, and out of the handful of new songs I’ve heard them do, it’s heads and tails better than the other stuff, which is saying a lot, because their older material is much better than most bands. You can even hear a tighter, more cohesive sound in the new tunes. Still, it’s hard to compare to songs like “Nights”, which came next, and the song that followed, which guitarist, Shannon Nedved, started. “Starts and Ends” came next, and afterwards some instruments needed to be tuned, putting Tim in charge of killing time. He wasn’t sure what to say at first, then pointed me out. “Does everyone know Jordan?” he asked, saying he has know me for several years (over six at this point), then went on to thank Matt and everyone else at WhiskeyBoy Radio for putting together this event. “I don’t want to bring the mood down, but I just got back from Chicago…” he said, saying he had gone up there for an uncle’s funeral. “…And he died from cancer, so this a cause I fully support…” Tim has said before he doesn’t like filling dead air, but he did a good job, and after that they were ready for their next song, another new one, “Lazy Eye”. Mark Sims really let loose on that song, shredding on his guitar. They took it almost straight into the next song, and one of their slowest, “Train”, which shows off the bands softer side, as well as the lighter side of Tims’ voice, and is quite a pretty song. They brought things back up with “Wrecking Ball”, and then ended their 30 minute set with the usual, “Hey Lover”, where both Mark and bassist, Chris Gentry, where jumping around, perfectly timing it to Joe Maurer’s drumbeats.

I said about their last show that they weren’t firing all cylinders that night. Well, that was far from the case this night. In fact, this was one of the best performances I’ve seen them do. They were all on top of their game this night, putting on a very lively performance, both as individuals and as a group. Also, with each show, Joe meshes better and better with them, proving to be a sensational addition to the group.

I’ve said this the past few times I’ve seen them, and hopefully I won’t be saying it for much longer. They will have their debut EP coming out in the near future, but until then, go to their REVERBNATION PAGE to listen to a couple tracks from it. Lastly, stay tuned to that page or their FACEBOOK PAGE for details on their future shows.

Closing out this benefit concert was the one and only, Night Gallery. Matt and I helped to introduce them, and they wasted no time after that, as lead guitarist, Nathan Hanlon, started them into their 40 minute set by rocking out the intro of “My Friend Pretend”. Drummer, Randall “Duckie” Etherton, finished that song out with some quick beats, then rolled it into the next one “Dirty Side”, which the two guitarists, Nathan and Jeremy Root, and bassist, Mikey Auringer, hastily tore into. Them going from one song right into the next was what had made their CD release show at the end of June so amazing… Or at least even more amazing than they already are, and I loved that they were following the same pattern this night. Duckie again segued them right into the next song, as Patrick ”Otter” Gonzales told everyone they’d need some help with their next tune, and wanted everyone who knew “She Runs” to sing along to it. They took a short breather after that, though it didn’t last long, as Jeremy began one of my favorites of the bands, “Separation Anxiety”, during which Otter danced with the mic stand as he belted out the chorus, “But you’re fighting a battle you can’t win, against something that’s never been…”. They slowed things down for a minute by bringing that one into “Lynne”, but picked the pace back up with “Crazy Brave”, which was then followed by “Without Regret”.  That one was wound into the second single from their new record, “The Tide”, and afterwards they took a few moments to thank everyone who had a hand in planning the event, before getting slightly off topic and thanking other things, but at this point I can’t remember what. They started to wrap things up with the semi-chilling, “Untimely Demise”, moved right along into “Mr. Ripper”, and truly saved the best for last, as Duckie pounded away with the opening drum part of “The Signal”. “One! Two Three!” he shouted before the first time, changing up the counting each time he did it, to Spanish and other languages.

Night Gallery was an incredible way to end the night, and I thought this show of theirs rivaled their CD release, which was by far the best show I’ve seen them do. Yet in some ways, this tonight was even better, I think because Nathan and Mikey seemed more comfortable (this was only, like, their second live show as part of the band). Plus they were all pretty lively, with Jeremy and Nathan jumping around on occasion.

They have quite a few shows coming up over the next few months, with the next Dallas gig being on September 14th at The Boiler Room. On October 6th they will be down in San Marcos, TX at the Wake the Dead Coffee House, then return to the D-FW metroplex for a show at The Grotto in Fort Worth on October 12th. Then, in November they have dates at Fast Eddie’s Billiards in Waco on the 3rd then they’ll be at The Rock Star Bar in Denison, TX on the 24th. You can also pick up your copy of “Loud as the Sun” at any of those shows, or in ITUNES.

It was an incredible and successful night, as we raised nearly $1,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I want to again thank all the bands/acts who played this. So many of you hopped on last minute and helped save the event, and thank you to the other two for keeping the scheduled date.

I also want to apologize to all the acts for this blog being VERY sub-par in my opinion. The epic weekend the WhiskeyBoy Radio crew had set me pretty far back on my blogs, and my memory isn’t as crystal clear writing this nearly two weeks after the show.

Oh, and the second annual benefit show will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which Chyrs will put together. You know, if anyone reading this wants to make a road trip. Word is the third one will be in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Saturday, March 31st 2012 – Texas Music Unites

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.

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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

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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!