Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - Moving Atlas Makes Their Return to the Stage

Shortly before nine, Trees was already as lively as it usually is on a weekend. The amount of people who had showed up early was impressive.

Most people were probably there for the headliner, Nothing More, and just showed up early. Others were probably there to support the local openers, like Moving Atlas.

The thing that made this special however was that it wasn’t just a regular show for the band: this was a comeback show.

It was December 2012 the last time Moving Atlas graced a stage, and as different members were sidelined by life, the band wound up taking an extended hiatus. A hiatus that after twenty months was finally coming to an end.

“We’re Moving Atlas, thanks for having us,” frontman Dunagin Gaines spoke; the curtain of the stage still drawn as guitarists Ricky Dansby and Ben Scott, bassist Geoff Lucke  and drummer Ross Rubio exploded into the opening number. After nearly two-years, it made sense that they’d tweak their setlist a bit, and now opened with a song that was often reserved for the middle/latter part of their shows: “Muse Accuser”. The opus of sorts (it lasts more than six minutes) created an epic beginning to their show; and on the second chorus of it, Dunagin got a clap along going in time with the beat. The lull then brought things down, allowing him time to readjust his mic stand, and after doing so, he backed away from it and placed his hands in the air, telling it to stay, much like you would do with a dog. It was entertaining; and when the track roared back to life, he began jumping around.

The five-piece rock outfit played material from all four of their albums, with the Elephant Gun EP receiving the most attention, and next they did the lead track from it: “Parachute”. This was where they got into the raw rock they’re known for. “Parachute, don’t let me down inside these killing fields!” Dunagin belted on the chorus, with Ricky adding some heavier screams into the mix. The track ended with Ross delivering some rapid and tight beats, and Dunagin struck his chest with his fist in precise time to them.

“It feels good to be back,” Dunagin remarked, stating it had been a year and a half since they had played at all. While he spoke, Ross started into the next song, with the guitars and bass soon being layered over it. The title track of their nearly three-year old EP, Machina, was one song I had really missed hearing during their time away, and it sounded every bit as good as always. Perhaps even better. On the second chorus, Dunagin was making various motions with his hands that went along with the lyrics; but the best part came when he grabbed the mic stand (a boom mic stand), picking it up and carrying it back by the drum riser, all the while screaming, “…You will not stop, won’t lay down for anything. I’m willing to bet that you are the one!”

At another point, while swinging the microphone around by the cord, Dunagin did drop it, and that’s the closest thing I could find to a fault during their set this night. Still, that’s more just an accident.

Geoff now approached the mic, thanking their friends in Nothing More for having them on this bill. With that, they tackled the second longest song in their catalog: “How We’re Infected”. Given the time constraints they had this night, that was one song I hadn’t expected to hear, though was glad it made the cut. Ricky has a sweet little solo during it, and Dunagin used that time to sit on the drum riser, getting a break of just a few seconds before getting back to business and finishing the song.

“This song’s called 5280,” he announced afterwards, drawing some cheers from their fans who were in attendance. “It goes. Like. This,” he finished, stopping shortly after each word as he gazed back at Ross, waiting for him to make a move. He soon did, and the massive track that is “5280” assaulted the ears of everyone there.

“…Johnny, if you’re coming, come down,” Dunagin stated as they moved right on to the next number. He was speaking to Jonny Hawkins of Nothing More, who was most likely busy with other things and didn’t make it to help sing “Red Shelter”. That was arguably the coolest song of their set, all because of the effects Dunagin made for himself. “And the hours,” he crooned, repeating “hours” a few times, making his own echo/reverb effect, before continuing, “pass without consequence.”

They even dug back to Et Al, their 2006 debut record, pulling out “Bread and Meat”. The intro to it was thick, so heavy I could feel my chest cavity vibrating. This triumphant return was kept at just 35-minutes, and they concluded it with “Year of the Rat”, the roaring guitar riffs and thunderous beats proving an excellent note to go out on.

Honestly, I was most excited about seeing Moving Atlas this night.

I love Nothing More, and they are one of the best bands in existence. However, I’ve seen them recently, and multiple times within the last year or so. But Moving Atlas, well, I had started to have doubt that Moving Atlas would ever grace a stage again.

In talking to Ricky afterwards, he was quick to say it was rusty, which is understandable, given it had been so long. However, I didn’t think they missed a beat. They were still as tight as they always have been, and performing is just second nature to them. That was proven this night.

It shouldn’t be another nearly two years before Moving Atlas plays again, and at least one more show should (hopefully) happen by year’s end. If you don’t have any of their music, fix that by going over to iTUNES and picking it up.

I’ve got to say, that was a nice way to get warmed up for the main course that was soon coming.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 – Moving Atlas Memorialized

The Curtain Club was hosting an all-star lineup this night, culminating with Moving Atlas getting a plaque to hang on the “Wall of Fame”.

That alone made it worth going to the show, but on top of that they had, as usual, assembled some talented bands to perform before and after them.

The first one up was The Results, who I did not see all of, as I didn’t get there quite early enough. Still, I caught the last 20-minutes or so of their performance.

I enjoyed what I saw, and they had some pretty good rock songs, like “Change the World”. They really excelled in the live performance aspect, though, delivering a pretty tight and high-energy performance.

It was a good start to the night, but it was after them when things got real serious, starting with In Memory of Man.

The bands been hard at work making new music, which seemed to dominate their 41-minute set this night, including their opening number. Thankfully, they still had some of the, shall we say, hits, from their first EP in the mix, like “Headshot”, which drummer, Javier Martinez, counted them into. The fast paced, in-your-face song definitely got the adrenaline flowing, and if anyone wasn’t already giving In Memory of Man their full attention, then that should was probably the song that got them fully captivated. It was also the song that made vocalist, Alex Lilly, sweat profusely, and he was asking anyone to get him some water. Someone then laughed that, that was all he was requesting, then he added, “…Or, you know, some other beverage.” “This next one’s called Don’t Tell Daddy.” He stated, before being told by lead guitarist, Chad Beck, they weren’t doing it, at least not right then. It was something better, though. “You all know this one…” he said, as Javier began yet another song. “Paper Planes” may be a slower one, but it’s also their most beautiful, and the very distinct and unique tone Alexs’ voice has shines through the best on it. After a couple more newer (or at least unrecorded) songs, they unveiled a nice little surprise. “…This is what started it all…” said Alex, right before the band tore into the song. Honestly, I didn’t know it, but when it was over Alex mentioned it was by Soundgarden, “…For all you young kids…” he added. No, I don’t know what exact song it was, but regardless, they did a pretty killer rendition of it. They took a little break at this point, as Alex thanked Moving Atlas and the other bands for putting this show together, and also mentioned how cool it was to be sharing a stage with Pete Thomas, singer of the band that would follow them, and perhaps best known as the frontman of Slow Roosevelt. He made a little speech about how way back when (I assume late 90’s or so) he started out as a fan of the music scene, and of the mighty Mr. Thomas, “…But eventually, we became the scene…” he said. After another new tune, they decided to end with “My Sweet”. That would have been a good way to close out the set, but luckily, they had a little more time then they realized, and proceeded to hash out what to play next. “How about Cause It Can?” Alex asked, “Cause we can!” And that final track from “The Reckoning” EP proved to be a fantastic end to the show.

Now, there were some technical issues early on, and for a couple minutes during a few songs Chad’s guitar couldn’t be heard. Though the remaining band members helped balance it out, so it didn’t subtract from the show too much. I’ll also say that the band was out of the performing game for quite some time. Due to the bands members conflicting schedules they couldn’t play much for awhile, and are just now really getting back into the swing of things. That said, this wasn’t as memorable as say, their CD release show a few years ago, which was an astounding show, but is was pretty enjoyable. I bet after they get a few more shows under their belt, they’ll be back to perfection, and then there just may be no stopping these guys.

They have two EP’s currently available, and you can get free downloads of both by visiting their SOUNDCLOUD PAGE. And keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE to see when they will have more upcoming shows.

White Elephant was up next, Will Jaeger let loose on the drums, all before the curtain even opened. It was appropriate beginning, seeing as this would be his final time as the percussionist of this heavy rock outfit. Once you could see him, he appeared to be as happy as ever, and he continued with the beats as his band mates got ready. They didn’t dilly-dally, and delivered a punch to the gut with their opener, “Another Rapture Missed”. It had been quite some time since I last saw these guys, and I had forgotten what a beast this song is in its live form, as vocalist, Pete Thomas, belted out the lyrics, like on the line, “…Everybody’s down on one knee, everybody’s got to pray…”. Suffice to say, that tune definitely got everyone’s blood pumping. “This next song is called Trust Between Liars and Thieves.” Pete stated, as they began another powerful number. Guitarist, Matthew Miller, started them into “October 5th”, which has a misleading, tranquil intro, and started it only after Pete had dedicated the song to his sister, who was in the audience. Many of their remaining songs were ones that have yet to be recorded, and I think even a few were new to me, such as second song after the previous one, which was actually pretty slow and tame by White Elephant standards, though I found it to be one of the best songs of their set. Afterwards, they did one whose title alone is enough to make you love it. “…This one’s called Girls That Fight are Beautiful.” Said Pete, who joined the crowd at one point during the song, pushing everyone he could, causing some people to step back, while others began the mosh pit he was trying to create. Yeah, that’s something to expect from a White Elephant show. After a few more tunes, their time seemed to be up, though there was one more song from their demo that they hadn’t done, and it was one that I’ve always felt was a staple. It seemed like it would be absent from this show, though. That was until Pete asked if they would have time for one more song. They got the okay. Will busted right into “Kill the Headlights and Drive”, and Matthew and bassist, Josh Armstrong, soon joined in. Pete again hopped off the stage, walking amongst the crowd and pushing up against the fans while he sang, and only seemed satisfied once he was able to watch a few people slam against each other in the “pit”. In all, it was a 37-minute long set, and one helluva set at that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, very few, if even any, bands put on as aggressive and intense performance as what White Elephant does. It’s very easy to get caught up in it, and while I’m not big on the whole mosh pit thing and have never been a part of one, their music makes you want to just say, “Fuck it!”, and jump right in. They’re a force to reckoned with, however, a large part of that force was Will Jaeger.

He’s departing the band because, as Pete said, he has a wife and kid he needs to take care of. The reason is completely understandable, but at this point, I can’t imagine the band without him. He really is one of the most talented drummers I had the pleasure of seeing, and I doubt the shoes he leaves will ever be filled.

But the band has to try, of course, and are currently in the process of finding their new fourth member. On top of that, they are working on their first official record, which is slated for release sometime in 2013. So rest assured, this is going to be a big year for the band.

Keep a check on their REVERBNATION PAGE to see when they will have some more shows coming up. And while there, you can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song that closed out this nights set.

Following them was the band of the hour, Moving Atlas, who, without question, had the most people out this night, as their fans packed the venue to see history be made.

Multiple drumbeats began their 48-minute long set, and it was immediately noticeable that it was the intro into “Welcome Home”. Things then kicked into high gear when the guitars and bass were added to mix, as vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, sang the first few lines, “Can we please stop all the yelling? It’s getting us nowhere. Neither one of us will waive the white flag…” It was a good opener, and is one of my favorite songs off their latest EP, and to follow it up they did another I thoroughly enjoy, and the title track of said EP, “Machina”. Some may disagree with doing two of your biggest songs right off the bat like that, but for Moving Atlas, it works. Those tracks are very conducive to the atmosphere the band creates, which is an all-out rock show. Besides, they have enough other excellent material in their catalog to keep people around. Like the slower, “Red Shelter”, for example, which guitarist, Ben Scott, started, and seemed to be a pleasant surprise to the fans, who weren’t expecting it so early on. “Year of the Rat” brought things back up, particularly the intro, which features some slick sounds from Ben and lead guitarist, Ricky Dansby. It’s the chorus, though, where it really gets aggressive, with some fast paced guitar playing, thunderous beats, and some pulsating bass notes, while Dunagin belts out, “Trash. What’s in your hand? What do you feed your rodents? Trash. No chemical ban. Is it thallium mixed with lye?…” They did stop occasionally between songs, long enough for Geoff to thank everyone for coming out, the bands for playing or the Curtain Club for hosting this shindig in the first place. Oh, and promote their merch. They kept the talk to a minimum, though, and soon did the two remaining songs from their new record that are standards in the live set. First you had “Crawl out in the Cold”, which was followed by “Muse Accuser”. “…Find a place and get comfortable…” Dunagin told the crowd, when speaking of what a long, epic song it is. “It’s not that long.” Geoff said, before Dunagin retorted, “It’s pretty long.” He is right, but it at least doesn’t seem like a six and a half minute long song. “This next song hurts me.” Said Dunagin, once they had finished up their previous tune. That sounded a bit odd at first, until he added something to the effect of it involved him taking a long fall. A mile high fall to be exact. They then ripped into “5280”, which was a real highlight of the show. Though the best moment, at least for me, came with the next one, which was about “pachyderms” as Dunagin put it. It was a dead giveaway, and I felt my excitement mount, just waiting for them to start “Elephant Gun”. It truly is one of, if not the most amazing thing the band has ever written and is quite the beast when done live. At this point, their time was running short, but Dunagin talked the sound guy into letting them do two more. “…We’ll do a short one, then our last one…” he told them. “We haven’t done anything from this record yet…” he told the crowd, and I can only assume he was speaking of “Et Al”. I’ve said before that I don’t listen to that one much, so I’m pretty unfamiliar with all the songs on it. He said they were going to do one that was about two-minutes, though, and the only close to that time on the album is “Bread and Meat”. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, though. They then got to their final song of the night, and Ricky, Ben, Ross and Geoff created a killer intro for it. The piece they’ve concocted is a little haunting and sounds quite cool, before it gives way to “Parachute”, which was a good one to end with.

This was a rock show, plain and simple, which is precisely what any and every fan expects from Moving Atlas. They just get up there and proceed to rock, letting all their energy loose, which is dominating to say the least. I’ll say it again, they are one of the best bands currently in the D/FW music scene, and also one of the most professional. They also can be humorous, though.

For example, at one point Geoff noted that their plaque wasn’t quite done yet, so they wouldn’t be presented with it this night, but that it would adorn a spot on the vast empty space on the wall. He said something like it would be eleven by sixteen. “Feet?” Dunagin asked him. “Yes, feet.” Geoff replied.

They are currently working on some new material for an eventual new record, so their shows have been and probably will continue to be few and far between. So keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE to know when they will have another gig. Also, check out their music. They have their debut full-length plus three stellar EPs, all of which can be found in iTUNES.

Moving Atlas may have been the headliner, but there was one more band on after them, and that was Signs of Reason.

The band hasn’t done many shows lately, and the only other time I had seen them I only caught a portion of their set. So I was looking forward to seeing the whole thing this time around.

Being the final band on the bill meant they couldn’t waste any time, and lead guitarist, Brandon Goforth, began plucking the strings of his axe, getting “Only Human” underway. It’s got a pretty straight forward message to it, which can be found in the chorus. “…Still I make mistakes. I’m only human for Christ’s sake…”, vocalist, Garrett Gale, crooned while pacing about the stage. They mine a more Alt/Rock sound, and that song is a good example of it. And if it could be any type of indicator, then this was going to be an entertaining set. Next they did one of their many new songs, which will no doubt be on their forthcoming sophomore release, and continued the more amped up pace with “The Thief”, which has some killer percussion parts from Michael Johnson, as well as an out of this world guitar solo, courtesy of Brandon. Around this point in the show, Garrett offered some free merch to anyone who could tell a good joke (it had to be about a certain subject, which at this point I no longer recall.) It took a couple of tries, but eventually he accepted one, and handed the guy his prize. Another new song was “Wake Me Up”, which was easily one of the most gritty of their set, and one you could definitely sing along to. Now, one unique thing about this show was it was the first live show Michael Brown had ever done with the band, or so I believe. He took over the bass duties, while Chris Cole moved over to rhythm guitar, and it was during those last couple of songs where Michael really cut loose. It was readily evident that he’s a huge assist to the band, as he stomped about and thrashed around, and definitely helped elevate their stage performance (and presence) to a whole other level. “Where Rockstars Go to Die” came next, and with each listen I love it more and more. It’s by far my favorite song on their “One Bullet Away” record, and sounds even better when performed live. They did a couple more newer ones, and the latter of the two Garrett segued into by asking something like how all the assholes were doing. That word was used quite a bit during the tune, which went something like, “…You can’t tell me that you were born an asshole…”, and as you might have guessed, spoke of how no one is born acting like an a-hole, but rather, transformed into one. Before the final song of their 40-minute set, Garrett mentioned it has great personal meaning, and one he wrote around the time his child was born, sometime within in the past year or a little over. The obviously sentimental song is titled “Except for You”, and ended what had been an amazing night.

I must say, I was impressed right off the bat by Signs of Reason, and that feeling grew as their set progressed. I think they did have some slight technical difficulties here and there, but I was okay with, and still thought they were great… Especially with that new bass player I mentioned.

As I said, they play Alt/Rock music, and while it may not be anything new, they are certainly doing something right, and their music will attest to that fact, so give ‘em a listen.

You can buy their EP on iTUNES, or better yet, go see a show. They have one coming up on February 15th at the Curtain Club in Dallas. They’ll also be doing multiple sets at Six Flags in Arlington on March 17th. Oh, and you can download several songs of theirs for free as well, Simply go to their REVERBNATION PAGE.

This was a spectacular night of music, and while I hadn’t planned on it being the last show I caught in 2012, it ended up being just that. There was one or two more shows I wanted to see, but still, this talented lineup was not a bad way at all to end 2012.

Friday, July 13th, 2012 – Part I: “…The Devil’s Way is Divine Sometimes…”

First off, there was TOO much great stuff going on this night music wise. There were really four different clubs I wanted to be at in Deep Ellum this night, and I would only make it to two of those. One was at the Curtain Club where Texas Music Unites had put together a summer showcase (perhaps you were at the one back on 3/31? If not, HERE’S a recap).

Kennedy was supposed to be the opening band, but, for whatever reason, they dropped off the bill. So, at the last minute the Curtain moved the first band at the adjacent Liquid Lounge, The Results, over there instead.

They opened their set with “Jump In”, which began with a brief drum solo by Mark Huff, before the rest of the band walked onto the stage. It was a pretty solid song, though I liked their next one better, and that was a cover of “Brand New Key”. It was certainly not a song I was expecting to hear, but they did a nice rendition of it. I found it much more appealing than the other time I heard the song covered (which was almost a year ago when I happened to see The Dollyrots, who gave the song more of a bubblegum pop sound.) and vocalist, Heather Darwin, pulled the song of quite well, nailing the higher notes on the chorus.

Sadly, that was all I saw. As I said, there was a lot going on in Deep Ellum this night, and it was almost nine at this point, which was when a band was supposed to start at another venue. Had I known they wouldn’t get going until 9:40, I would have stuck around, but I agree with the saying, “Better safe than sorry.”

You can get a couple songs for free download on their REVERBNATION PAGE, and be sure to check out their FACEBOOK PAGE for future show announcements.
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After that other show I went to see, I planned to hit up yet another one, but after looking in the door of the place, some other band was just getting on stage, which meant the 10 o’clock set time I had been told ended up being wrong for the group I wanted to see. I figured I’d just go back to the Curtain and wait for Moving Atlas to take the stage, then I remembered that Gray, the New Black was going to be at the Liquid Lounge right about this time. And I had wanted to see them, just didn’t think it would happen with my original plans.

The trio was finishing setting up when I got there, and they were a few differences from the last time I had seen them. For one, they had several white sheets hanging on the wall behind them, serving as a screen for their video footage they’ve started using. The other was some little contraption that singer and guitarist, Mike Hamilton, used to give the music some electronic sounds. It was mainly used during their first song, a new one, which I think was entitled, “I Do”. He created a pretty involved intro for the song, tapping the screen to make different sounds which, some of which were layered over other parts, and would loop throughout the duration of the song. Once that was set up, they then got the song rolling, as Johnn Hesseltine came in on the drums and Eric Gibbons on the keys. They followed it with “Every Hipster Has An iPhone”, which is as unique as its name suggests, partially because there’s no real chorus to it. But really, does every song need a chorus in the first place? They wound it right into another fairly new one, “Enough Ain’t a Number Occurring in Nature”, and afterwards, Johnn started them into their most Rock “n” Roll song, “Gun”. The drumbeats alone are pretty catchy, but perhaps the best thing about the song is the guitar part of the final minute or so, which is very experimental sounding, to the point that if you don’t know the band, you would think that Mike is free styling it there on the spot. When it was done, he stated the name of that song, and then the next one they had, another new one by the name of “8mm”. “…It’s not about a gun.” he finished. “It’s a camera!” someone in attendance shouted, which Mike confirmed was right. “Occam’s Razor” was next, and ended with Johnn and Mike leaving the stage, giving Eric the spotlight as he did a short key solo. They soon returned, as Eric continued playing, winding his solo into “Poets & Philosophers”, which would bring their set to somewhat of a sudden end.

They had only played for 29 minutes, so not too long and I figured they’d do a couple more after that, but oh well. I have to say this was the best show I’ve seen them do yet, even with the shorter time they got. They are all incredible talented at their respective instruments, despite the fact they are never too flashy. And I’ve mentioned this in the past and I’ll say it again, I love the lyrics and the unique approach Mike takes to penning songs. There’s a certain level of complexity to some of them, which should get your mind thinking. As for the video thing they had going on behind them, it actually did add a nice element to it. It opened with some footage of the sky as the band’s name as well as band members names scrolling up the screen and ranged to some other random things, such as a close up of a pill bug crawling on the ground.

Some readers may know I’m pretty critical when it comes to bands having video going behind them, as I usually find it to be more of a distraction than anything. But this actually was pretty good, and, in some delightfully weird way, fit well with their music.

They have a couple of shows coming up, one on July 27th and the other is August 17th. Both of those will be at the Crown and Harp in Dallas. You can also purchase their debut, self-titled record in iTunes.

Once things quieted down in the lounge, you could hear the music bleeding through the wall that separates it from the Curtain Club. Moving Atlas had evidently started right around their 10:50 set time, and where already in the swing of things. I’ve seen most (if not all) of their shows over the past few months, and they’ve all been pretty close to the same, at least in regards to the setlist. They had brought back some oldies that fans had requested at their last show, but still, as far as the opening song and all that, they had all been the same and I didn’t see why they would change things up now. So I knew I had probably missed out on my favorites of their newer material, but hoped I could at least catch some of the older stuff as I made my way over to the Curtain.

They were finishing up “Muse Accuser” as I walked in, saw Mike of the band Redefine (who played before Moving Atlas) and went to say hey to him. As we chatted, my ears perked up when that song ended and drummer, Ross Rubio, started their next one. For whatever reason they had decided to switch up their set, and I couldn’t have been happier that I was at least going to get to hear “Welcome Home” once more. This is probably one of the best songs in terms of showing off the bands key precision and just how in synch they are with everything, Dunagin Gaines’ voice soared as he belted out the chorus, “After all I’ve done, you’ve left me here alone. How could I be wrong so long? Was it something I’ve done? You were always welcome home.” They followed it with an oldie from the “Elephant Gun” EP, “How We’re Infected”, and as they finished it, Ross kept lightly tapping on some of the cymbals, while guitarist, Ben Scott, played some softer riffs. Dunagin was back by the drum riser as bassist, Geoff Lucke, told everybody they could sing along to this next one if they knew it. I had my suspicions of what this was going to be, and they were proven correct as Dunagin walked back towards the front of the stage, suddenly striking his hand out and grabbing the mic out of the stand and shouting out the opening line of “Elephant Gun”. Everyone seemed to love this, as most of the crowd was singing along to it. “…Yell! It isn’t good enough. You’ve been giving to throwing fits in my face. Fill! You’ll never get enough. You’ve let your gluttony turn to waste…”. The sound seemed better here than at their last show, and I could better hear Ross’s backing vocals on the chorus. After “I’ll use my elephant gun to blow my enemies down…”, Dunagin drops out, where Ross picked up, “…And it goes away. Eventually, you will bow…” I had surely missed out on the title track of their latest EP, but that right there more than made up for it, and the intense pace continued on with, as Dunagin put it, a song about “…Big ass waterfalls.” They tore into “5280”, which ended with Dunagin banging his head to the two drumbeats the quickly follow the last line, and then he played a little air bass. They next did the eerie, “Crawl out in the Cold”. “…I, I could have killed you dead. I, I could have killed you long ago…”. In the brief pause that came after that song, Dunagin said something along the lines of, “This is something special.” The backing track kicked in, and I was ecstatic to find out that, for whatever reason, they had not opened this show with “Machina”. “Wherever you go you will seek and find a friend. You will climb atop his home and scream into the wind. If your words fail, climb down and start again. Shake the dust off of your feet and leave his home to me…” Dunagin crooned, before getting to the chorus, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among the wolves…” That made this a perfect Moving Atlas show for me, and whatever they had left would just be icing on the cake. Ben immediately started “Red Shelter”, but no sooner had he started it than he quit, as the band found out they had just five minutes left. They went right to the closer, rocking out the instrumental lead in they’ve designed for it, before truly getting “Parachute” underway, an saw the other guitarist, Ricky Dansby, letting out a deep scream on the chorus as he somewhat echoed Dunagin, “THESE KILLING FIELDS!”.

Damn! This was a killer rock show, even though I had missed just a bit of it. When it comes to elite bands who put on a spectacular live show, you will be hard presses to find one better than Moving Atlas, and only a handful are even close to the same caliber. According to a Facebook post the band made, this was their last show for a bit, as they take some time off to beginning writing some new songs. Maybe that means sometime next year we can expect another new release from this band? I guess time will tell. For now, purchase “Machina”, “Red Shelter”, “Elephant Gun” and “Et Al” in iTunes. And keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE for when they will have another show.

Up next was a band I had not seen in quite some time; The Raven Charter. It has probably been close to two years since the last time I saw them, during which time they’ve apparently relocated, and now call Dallas home, not Denton. They kicked off their 41 minute long set with “Survival Kit”, a mostly instrumental song that saw guitarists, Daniel Baskind and Brandon Bond, bassist, Anthony Sosa, keyboard player and occasional acoustic guitarist, Erik Stolpe, and drummer, Brian Christie, rocking out. I had forgotten how intense these guys are, and I would say they’ve only gotten better with time as those who could shredded on their instruments and all dominated the stage. Towards the end, lead vocalist, Garrett Bond, made his way on stage to start singing, with one of the lines from the song being a recurring theme in most of their songs from an older album of theirs, “…Anything is possible, but everything will happen…”. Upon finishing it Garrett greeted everyone, thanked the Curtain Club for having them, and said that their fans would probably know their next song, which was the title track off their current EP, “Kidnapping”. The band had a lengthy bit of time off recently as they searched for a new drummer, and it was pointed out that this was Brian’s first Dallas show with the band, and during that time they’ve written some new songs, one of which was played next. They then got to a staple song, which was one of the things that made me a fan of the band after seeing them up in Denton three (or maybe four?) years ago, “Thousand Worlds”. The two Bond’s sang most of the first verse in perfect unison with the other, and it sounded great. After another song, Daniel traded spots with Garrett, so he could sing lead on their next tune, the sexually charged, “Tailchaser”. Both of their voices harmonized well when they both sang, though Garrett mostly added some backing vocals. There was a nice bit of emotion added on this number as well, for example, on the chorus, “We’ve got all night to think ‘bout tomorrow. We’ll get lost in the passion, all our sorrows…”, making it seem more real. They resumed their original positions after that, and did what I think was their best song of the night, “Reveal Reframe Release”. Not only is it a killer rock song, but I thought Garrett’s voice was at its best as he delivered the chorus, “It pains me to do this, but it’s who I’ve come to be. The antagonist of our story. When I brought you into my world of sin I should have known that I’d get burned…”. I was really enjoying this, more than I had the last couple of times I had seen them, but sadly their time was already up, as they closed with “Sacrifice”.

I still have mixed feeling about this band, which I will get to in one second. On one hand, and being totally objective, this was a fantastic rock show. The energy and presence all rolled into one made this a spectacle to watch. On the other hand, and this is the last time I will say this in my blogs, a large part of still misses the way that The Raven Charter originally was. Garrett can sing, there’s no question about that, but I still miss the unique dynamic they had before he was in the band, when both Brandon and Daniel shared the responsibilities of being the lead vocalist, sheerly because that was unlike anything I had seen a band do before. And, in my opinion, that set them apart from the other bands in the area. In all honesty, when they initially added Garrett to the lineup and after seeing them with him, I was turned off of their music, hence why it had been so long since I saw one of their shows, because I didn’t view it as something I had to see like I had before. But that’s far enough in the past now it’s time to leave it there, and based on what they did this night, The Raven Charter is once again something I really want to see, and you should, too.

They have a show coming up on July 27th at the Abbey Underground in Denton, which is free for anyone 21+. You can also purchase their two EP’s, “The Raven Charter” and “The Kidnapping”, in iTunes.

It was late, but there was one last band on tap here, and it was the one I was most looking forward to seeing, New Magnetic North. They took a few months off earlier in the year, but since they got back in the swing of things I had managed to miss all their shows, putting it at nearly seven months since the last time I had seen them live, which is just far too long.

They opened with “Elephant In the Room”, which I was surprised I even remembered in the first place since the only way you can hear most of their music right now is in the live setting. Lead guitarist, Jacob Aaron then launched them into their next song, “Which Some Can Say”, which has a stellar guitar riff there at the beginning. I believe it was after that one that vocalist, Tim Ziegler, stated the band’s name to the handful of people that remained. “We are Bob and the New Magnetic Theories. We’re all theories…” he said. A joke like that could be truly appreciated since about the only people who remained were the bands true fans. Oh, and by Bob he meant the bands bass player, Bob McCrary. He then bent down and looked at the setlist, “This next one is called View of the Seconds.” he said. NMN certainly has a very hard sound to their music, but this one is by far the edgiest song in their repertoire, and is probably one of their best period. The joking continued after that, as Tim said something like they were going to switch to their alt country band, “Big Bridge” and made up a song on the spot. “…That bridge is so fucking big that’s why we call it big bridge.” Going in to this I had no clue I’d be getting a comedy show mixed in with a rock concert, but it was great. They followed it with “Feed the Pig”, one of the song that Jacob adds some backing vocals on and showcases what a great voice he has. “Dedicated To: The Machines” was next, and had a nice, lengthy instrumental portion around the halfway point, which first just consisted of Bob and drummer, Chris Kinsey. That went on for a bit before rhythm guitarist, Bryan Ziegler, joined the mix with some softer riffs, and finally Jacob got in on it before they closed the tune out. They somehow got back to the country theme of earlier, and Tim started to do a little dance with his bandmates soon adding some music that made it sound like a hoedown. They only had two songs left at this point, and had saved what I think are their best two for last. The first was “Eleven”, while the final song of their all too short 35 minute set was their most epic, “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”.

Their set was a little shorter than I would have liked, but whatever. It also reminded me of why I don’t need to let too much time pass between NMN shows, because they put on a ferocious live show.

They don’t have anything else lined up at the moment, but they no doubt will sooner rather than later. And as they continue working on their debut record, go listen to and watch the music video to “…Owls…”.

This was one astounding lineup, and kudos to Texas Music Unites for knowing how to put on a proper rock show. It was a fantastic night. So fantastic in fact that I stayed to chat with some people until it got late enough that they had to kick us out. Good times.

Above: Moving Atlas / Below: The Raven Charter

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

Photo Credit for the pictures below goes to Laura McCrary.

Below: New Magnetic North

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 – Moving Atlas

Tonight, Trees was hosting what will probably be one of the best local shows of this entire year. Indeed, the lineup was astounding, featuring some great local Dallas bands and then a little ol’ band from San Antonio who I recently declared the best currently active band in all of Texas. I’d actually been looking forward to this one for over a month, and was thrilled that the day for it had finally arrived.

Signs of Reason was already rocking when I got there, finishing up “Adjust to Change”, but I don’t believe I had missed much of their set. They followed it with a bunch of other great songs, and I believe it was the song they did afterwards that I liked the most, “Where Rockstars Go to Die”. It quickly became apparent that the band has more of a mainstream sound to their music, at least in the fact that their originals are very radio friendly sounding, which helped them pull off a cover that they did. “If you haven’t heard this song, then you’ve been living under a fucking rock…”, vocalist, Garrett Gale, told the crowd. I figured I’d be one of those people who had been living under a rock, but I actually knew the song… But for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now, it did sound very true to form, though. I really don’t know what else they played, since I’m not familiar with their music, but at one point they did “The Thief”, where Garrett called attention to guitarist, Brandon Goforth, who took off on a rip-roaring guitar solo. They saved one of their best songs, “Only Human”, for next to last, which saw Michael Johnson pounding out some powerful beats on the drums. Then, during their final song, Garrett took time to name all the band members, which also included their other guitarist, Chris Cole, as well as their bassist, who Garrett mentioned was a very new addition to the band.

Again, their music does a mainstream feel to it, but they pull it off well, and don’t sound nearly as generic as most actual mainstream acts do. It was a really good set and they had a good sound, though there were a few times where I thought Garrett’s voice fell flat. It was nothing terrible, like, not enough to be detrimental to them or their performance in anyway, but still, I did kind of hear it.

They’re a good band, though, and seem to be on the rise, which is really something considering they haven’t been around for too long. If you want to check out our purchase their record, you can buy all 5 tracks (in mp3 format) from their REVERBNATION STORE.

Redefine was up next, doing their first show in a little over two months, when their previous drummer decided it was time to leave the band. They found a replacement quickly, though, making their set tonight the live debut of their new drummer, Jaron Davis.

They got their 35 minute long set going with “Take Your Medicine”, which reminded me immediately of why I love Redefine shows. They came out of the gates strong, as lead guitarist, Chris Apaliski, dashed around the stage, jumped up on and then off of the drum riser, and so on. Bassist, Mike Diquinzio, was more or less doing the same, as was fellow guitarist, Ryan Maynard, and it’s these high-energy shows that make Redefine so enjoyable. The song that followed it was new to me, or if I have heard it live it’s been long enough ago that I’ve forgot. It was pretty intense, even for these guys, and had Scott Headstream screaming into the mic for the majority of it. It sounded killer, though, and I like the direction they went in with that tune. Scott announced the next, as Maynard started them into the heavy hitter from their latest EP, “Motorcade”. They next did another song from “Blur On the Horizon”, as the music began to build before Scott sang, “Oh, don’t you go waving your battle flag…”, the first line of “Arcana”. They next ripped into “The Silent Hum”, which may well be the best song they do live, and after it was done, Scott lightened the mood with a joke. I believe it began with him promoting their websites, then added something like, “…We have a sex tape… We’re all in it…”, then said that if people wanted to watch it, just search for Redefine. That was a segue into their next song, “Like a Vision, a Ghost”, which, if memory serves me right, they started a bit differently, with the intro even more minimal than it already is, as Scott sang, “I need to hear whisper, because I’m tired of scream. It’s her lips I remember when I see the scars from her teeth…”. Up to this point, the show had been fantastic, with the exception that I found it hard to hear Scott’s vocals. They were audible, but not too loud, but I didn’t think a whole lot about it, thinking it was probably the fact that I wear earplugs. But after that song, someone else in the crowd asked me if I could hear his singing okay, saying he couldn’t. It was apparently quite enough in the building that Scott overheard this and asked the sound guy for more of his vocals, and man, did it ever make a difference. You could hear him much stronger on “Fall Down, I Believe It”, during which he pulled out the trusty Redefine megaphone, using it for a line from the second verse, “…Wake up, you’re falling anyway…”. Sadly, once it was done, they were on their final song of the night, but brought the show to an amazing close with “Leave The Light On”.

It was a very impressive set they did, and I would say one of the best Redefine shows I’ve seen. At one point during their show, Scott remarked at how hard they had been working Jaron to make sure he knew the material, and their hard work from the practice space was definitely noticeable. He looked like he had been playing these songs for years, and meshed perfectly with the live show these guys put on.

Their next show on tap is slated for July 13th at The Curtain Club in Dallas. They will also be performing the Broadcasting for Boobies benefit on August 4th at The Ranch in Arlington, which will be sponsored by RYA Entertainment/WhiskeyBoy Radio. And you if you don’t own them already, be sure to check out their EPs, “Blur On the Horizon” and “The Power Of Persuasion”, in iTunes.

The crowd had been pretty small thus far, which was sad considering some killer talent had already graced the stage. It didn’t seem like it would improve, either, but as the San Antonio based Nothing More got ready to begin I looked back to the bar (I stood right up front, near the stage) and there didn’t seem to be an empty space in the whole venue. These people had missed out greatly, but they at least knew to make it there in time to witness Rock ‘n’ Roll perfection.

Drummer, Paul O’brien, strode on stage and back behind the kit, while Mark Vollelunga followed suit, taking stage right and grabbing his guitar. Once Daniel Oliver joined them on bass they began to rock out, but the show got into full swing when vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, rushed on stage and started pounding away on his three piece drum kit at the front of the stage. The excitement in the air was palpable, and their 43 minute set really took off as they rounded that instrumental greatness into “Gone”. The emotion put into this song is unbelievable, especially on the second verse as Jonny cries, “…I wish I’d never seen cancer, I’d die just to find that answer…” (for those not in the know, the song is about his mother’s battle with cancer, which she ultimately lost.) As the song wrapped up, you could hear some sample backing tracks echoing in the background. It repeated part of the chorus, “I’m gone.”, over and over, and as it faded out, they segued it into “Under The Eyes of Selene”. Mark slayed on this brief instrumental song, shredding on his guitar and thrashing around, as they brought it into “Sixty Second Affair”. Jonny’s one to do various little things to alter his voice, such as on this one, where towards the end he waved the mic around wildly as he made a noise, creating an awesome, natural sound effect. They brought on an onslaught of rock, and wound that one right into the first of two new songs, “First Punch”. The song maybe new, but the fans were quickly picking up on the chorus for it (as well as the other new ones) and singing along, like on this one, “…I’ll throw the first punch, ‘cause I’ve kept my mouth shut for far too long…” Afterwards, they brought that one into what I think is one of the most standout newer songs of theirs, mainly because I really like the chorus, which Dan and Mark also chime in on, “…I’ll keep sucking, sucking, sucking you dry until you realize you are no J-J-J-Jesus Christ…”. Mark and Paul kept the music going, while Jonny went over and picked up a rod/stand for their little trick that will leave you floored if you’ve never experienced a live Nothing More show. As he fit the rod/stand into a slot on his drum kit, Dan then placed his bass in it, holding down the strings as Jonny beat away at them with his pair of drum sticks, with Mark joining in at the tail end of it, as he held down various strings on the fret board. That never ceases to be a crowd pleaser, and out of all the times I’ve seen them do it, it has yet to get old (and I don’t think it ever will). I thought they might finally take a pause after that, but no, they whirled that right into another new tune of theirs. I don’t think they did it at their Denton gig last month, but I’m pretty certain I’ve heard this one before, with its chorus being, “…If I were God, just for a day, I’d be guilty of letting the whole world slip away…”. As it ended Jonny acknowledged that they had been focusing a lot on new stuff, “…So where gonna do an old one for you…”. I don’t think it was one that anyone expected to hear (myself included). It was the final tune from the “Few Not Fleeting” album, “It Seems…”, which they’re making into a powerhouse of a live song. And the few lines of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” that they’ve started adding to it, “…Look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from…”, does a lot for it, and definitely fits with the mood the song establishes, for example, “…He said he wants to die. He wonders how anyone survives being overlooked and trite…”. They had saved some of the best for last, once again bridging the songs together, this time as the sample intro for “Ballast” kicked in, before Paul, Dan and Mark tore into it. This is one of the heaviest, most intense things I’ve heard these guys do, and even though the song is only available to listen to via a few of their pages (Youtube, Reverbnation, etc.), there were plenty of people singing along to every single word. Their show finally came to a halt after it, but only so they could discuss what to do next, seeing as they were informed they only had time for one more song. “Do y’all want to hear one more or two more?” Jonny asked the crowd, which was a bit of a stupid question, as two was the obvious answer from the packed venue. But at least the sound guy allowed them two more, otherwise there might have been some very upset people in Trees, since their last two are staples. Dan began his glorious speech that mimics the “I Have a Dream” speech, only this is about him growing up being chunky. As he closed it with “…Most of all, Dallas, I had a dream where beef was what’s for dinner every night!”, they fired up “Fat Kid”, and then to cap off the show, rocked out “Salem”. That last one had every single person yelling along to it, especially at the end when Jonny held the mic out towards the fans as they all shouted, “Burn!”, and rotated with Dan and Mark shouting it into their mics next, followed by the crowd and so on and so forth. But the highlight of the song was when they took their percussion break, where Jonny proceeded to bash away on his kit, while Mark and Dan each grabbed a tom and walked behind him. He made the rounds, hitting his kit and the toms, before Mark handed his off to Dan, picked up a pair of drum sticks, and he and Jonny did little circles, hitting either the kit or toms, whichever was in front of them at the time. Their stunts like that add such an eye-popping, jaw dropping element to their shows, and make them just that, shows.

As I said, it had barely been a month since I saw them up in Denton, and while I liked the longer set they got that night, there was one thing that made this a much better show, and it was the fact that they were relentless, moving from song to song.

Starting June 15th they will be on tour with Bravo Delta and perform in the following cities: San Diego, CA on June 15th at Brick by Brick, Hollywood, CA on June 16th at Amplyfi, Tempe, Arizona on June 20th at Tempe Tavern, Albuquerque, NM on June 21st at Warehouse 508, Denton, TX on June 22nd at Hailey’s, and June 23rd in Tulsa, OK at The Eclipse. On June 24th you can see them at Whiskey Chicks Parlor in Oklahoma City, OK. For the month of July, they will be in Baton Rouge, LA on the 14th at Click’s Billiards and then the Riverside Warehouse in Shreveport, LA on the 27th.  Then they have a hometown show at Sam’s Burger Joint on August 4th in San Antonio.

I just want to say I can’t wait for that Denton show, which they will be headlining, so you can expect them to pull out all the stops… At least I hope they will, ‘cause I might cry if they don’t do “Bullets and Blue Eyes”. And while you wait on the release of their new album due out sometime this year (hopefully), check out “The Few Not Fleeting”, which should satisfy your ears for awhile.

After a performance like that, I wondered if Moving Atlas could even follow them, and I was relieved to learn I wasn’t the only person who had those thoughts. But any reservations I did have quickly faded once they took the stage.

Before the curtain was drawn open, they began “Machina”, and once it was the four instrumentalists were in the midst of the song, but one member was missing. As guitarists, Ricky Dansby and Ben Scott, bassist, Geoff Lucke, and drummer, Ross Rubio, cranked out the song, Dunagin Gaines suddenly walked out from behind a silk screen on stage left, there were two on either side of the drum riser, each being a portion of their latest album cover. He approached the mic, and crooned, “Wherever you go, you will seek and find a friend. You will climb atop this home, and scream into the wind…” The mood that song sets for the rest of the show is incredible, as they’re announcing they’re here to rock, but, as I’ve said in the past, the song just has an underlying element/sound to it that makes it rather ominous. They got into some brash Rock ‘n’ Roll next, though, and after a pause just long enough for the fans who had packed the venue to applaud them, Ross launched them into “Welcome Home”. As they got to the bridge you heard their sample track/vocals in the background. “Don’t stop, don’t stop…” it went, with Dunagin quickly flipping the mic up after that and singing, “…Don’t stop with an inch to burn. The candle wick is thick you’ve learned…”. The icy sounding “Crawl Out in the Cold” came next, but after it was when then so far routine set got very interesting. Geoff said something like, “If y’all want to sing along with this next song y’all can.” and then Dunagin chimed in, “Yeah! Do y’all want to do that? If y’all know this next one y’all want to sing along with it?” The anticipation of what was to come built as they allowed a few moments of silence. Dunagin began to kneel down on the stage floor, and as he did so, he let out a line that I think everyone in Trees was hoping to hear. “Don’t want to contemplate the time…” he sang, with a bit of ferocity. I don’t know how long it’s been out of the setlist, and it’s been the song I’ve wanted to hear the most the last two times I’ve seen these guys, and tonight, they finally resurrected the title track of their 2008 EP, “Elephant Gun”. I believe it was when they exploded into the chorus from the bridge that Geoff, who had worked his way onto their box in front of the drum riser, leapt from it, right as Dunagin shouted out, “…You will bow…”. Once it was finished Geoff stated that was from their older EP, “…I think there may be a few copies back there for sale. I don’t know.” he said. “You lie!” Ricky shouted at him in a joking manner as he tuned his guitar. Geoff then added, “We’re gonna do some old stuff for you tonight. Real old.” Ross got them going on the song, and seeing the way he owned the drum kit for this solo of sorts was something else and definitely mind-blowing. The song was the oldest they pulled out this night, “Cheating Mark”, from “Et Al”, and live, it was one of the best songs of their set. They talked to the crowd for a minute after that song, but as they did, you could hear Ben playing his guitar. It was pretty light at first, but it grew louder, enough so that you knew it was “How We’re Infected” before they announced it. “Will the queens hold the scepters when the kings are all gone?… Nearly all of our wanting reeks of entitled air. And we all feel so numb that we hardly even care…” sang Dunagin as the song got started. He let out his final line while standing on that box in front of the drums, then tossed it to the floor at the front of the stage as the other guys finished out the song. But when the mic landed, it made an awful sound, and as the tune concluded Dunagin walked over to it, looked at it, then acted as if it were a wrestling opponent and he was about to jump on it, striking it with his elbow. He of course didn’t, and after checking it, it still worked perfectly. “We’re gonna slow things down a bit.” Geoff said, as they proceeded to play “Red Shelter”. Dunagin added some hand motions at the end, first striking his hands as if he was knocking over some buildings on the line “…I tore your tower down…” Then moved his hand lower towards the stage, “Invited you underground to compare skies…”, before looking up at the ceiling and finishing the song, “…We’ll meet you in red shelter, we’ll count our losses together.” Things picked back up, and swiftly, with “Muse Accuser”, and afterwards Dunagin went on what seemed like an odd tangent about Richard Branson. He said something along the lines of, “…He’s gonna take people to the fucking moon. Not space, the moon!…” I wondered where he was going with that, and then he stated what the next song was, and that it, “5280”, was about all of that. As Ricky was shredding on his guitar, Dunagin jumped back close to him, and, mirroring him in a way, started tearing it up on an air guitar. He did something similar at the end of it, only this time he licked one of his fingers and began to slap an imaginary bass. They went right in to setting up their next tune, as Dunagin asked what year it was. “Is this the year of the Rabbit?” No, that didn’t sound right. “…Is it the Year of the Rat?” That sounded more like it, and served as a nice segue into what is possible their grittiest song. After it, the fans seemed like they were only warmed up, as several different song titles were hurled at the band. “No, how about we do Parachute?” Dunagin said. That seemed to satisfy everyone, but there seemed to be one question that remained after they finished it; was that the end or not?

Indeed it was, and while several people waited around after they said they were through, there was no encore. Not that, that was a disappointment, because they had left everything on the stage in the 52 minutes they were up there. And the difference between this and when I saw them in Denton last month was night and day, proving that this band best excels when they have a stage big enough for them to roam around on. With their live shows, they’re very precise with everything, almost tactical in a way, yet they still manage to give it that raw feeling that a live show should have.

To find out for yourself what I’m talking about, go see them on July 13th at the Curtain Club in Dallas, and check out their records in iTunes, “Machina”, “Red Shelter”, “Elephant Gun”, and “Et Al”.

Thus ended this night of rock, and a spectacular night at that.

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NOTE: Some amazingly talented individuals and myself have partnered up to create RYA Entertainment. We give you all the benefits of working with a major label (booking and promotional experience, industry connections, strength in numbers) without the hassles and cost associated with signing to a label. If your band would be interested in working with us in any of those aspects or performing at a future show of ours, contact me at: 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!

Friday, May 4th, 2012 – Nothing More Returns to Denton

The WK Entertainment Group had put together a VERY impressive line-up of bands at Andy’s Bar in Denton this night. There was no doubt that it would be a memorable night, but making it even more epic was the fact that Matt Blake of WhiskeyBoy Radio and Katie Boyd from Sawed Off Productions were there. With all three of us, that meant RYA Entertainment was out supporting in full-force, and Matt had even picked up our RYA shirts earlier that day.

Indeed, greatness would transpire this night, and beginning it was Paco Estrada. He had a full band for this show, and joining him and his drummer was a couple of the guys from Nothing More, Mark Vollelunga and Daniel Oliver, on guitar and bass, respectively. It’s been some time since Paco last had a full band like this backing him, so it was bound to be interesting. The set was rather short, only consisting of five songs, as they opened with “Haunting Me”, and in typical Paco fashion he tacked on part of a cover tune to the tail end of the song. They followed it with another song best known from Paco’s last band, One Love, “This is Life”, and afterwards go into some of his newer material. The beautiful love song, “When We Were Made”, came next, and then they slowed things down with “Spark”, both from the “The Definite and Indefinite…” record. Paco removed his acoustic guitar for the final song of his 31 minute long set, “Breaking Down”, which also had a portion of a cover song added to the end of it.

It was a really good set, and Dan and Mark helped add a few layers that Paco’s music has been missing for a little while, and the fuller sound did make a difference. I wish he had gotten a little bit more time though, because you can’t really get the full greatness of his music in just five songs. Oh well, hopefully the next time I see one of his shows he’ll have more time.

Speaking of shows, his calendar as is follows: May 26th at The Prophet Bar in Dallas. June 1st at Jack’s Bar in San Antonio. June 2nd at Darwin’s Pub in Austin. June 16th at Sue Ellen’s in Dallas. Also, be sure to visit his BANDCAMP PAGE to listen to/purchase all of his music.

Not too long after Paco’s set we (Matt, Katie, “Otter”, of the band Night Gallery, and myself) ventured down to the basement area of Andy’s and chatted (and laughed) for a bit. If memory serves me correctly conversation turned to, “Wouldn’t it be funny…” if while you were being intimate with a girl (I’ll class that up a little over what was actually said) you tell her, “…Oh, I have herpes. But don’t worry, it went away not long after I got it, so you should be okay…”

Interesting conversations to say the least, and soon we went back upstairs to see the next band…

Admiral Grey
was already rocking out and had a nice crowd paying attention, but during this song we walked in on, I was having trouble hearing Aaron Pose’s singing. The song sounded great, and they were owning it, but I couldn’t understand anything he was saying. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one, and when they finished it a guy could be heard yelling, “MORE VOCALS!” The sound guy listened. Aaron mentioned this was a newer project of his and also plugged the next song as one that would be on their EP that will be out in the next few months. “…This one is called Love Suicide, or Pulling Strings.” he said. You could hear him perfectly now, and they killed it with that song, as well as the next one, “Don’t Know Me at All”. They followed it with a couple more songs, as Krishen Loughridge continued shredding on his guitar over on stage right and bassist, Geneva Arena, was really rocking out, too. Justin Labosco began a little drum solo, serving as a lead in to the next song, while Aaron asked, “How many hard working men to we have out here tonight?” He didn’t get the desired response, so he tried it again, with more people shouting out this time, as they launched into “Just a Man”. They were already at the end of their set now, doing what Aaron said was “…One we like to end with…”, called “Dirty Red”. “…It’s my take on the Little Red Riding Hood story…” I’m probably slightly paraphrasing this, but he said something like he thought she was a slut. I can’t say I’ve ever heard that take on the story, but the song was fantastic.

It’s been quite a few months since Admiral Grey did their first show here in the area and it was good to finally make it to another one. The stage at Andy’s is on the smaller side, so the amount of space they had to move around was restricted. But while their movements were a bit more limited, they more than made up for it with their presence, and they have tightened up even more than what they were when I first saw them. They’re really a great band, and I can’t wait to hear this EP they have in the works. Speaking of which, you can find a few of those songs on their REVERBNATION PAGE, and even get a free download of “Dead to Me”. Admiral Grey’s next show will be on June 16th at Trees in Dallas where they will be opening for Miser and Forty Percent, both of whom are doing reunion shows.

Next up was one of the main courses of the night, Moving Atlas. I was beyond excited for this, because the show they did about a month before this was the first time I’d seen them where I was a true fan, but I felt like I was dying from strep throat and didn’t get to fully enjoy it. And I must say, being right up front for these guys is much better than sitting on a barstool in the back of the club. They got everything set up and vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, told the sound guy they were ready to start, as the music began and then swelled into the title track of their latest EP, “Machina”. Again, being down in front of the stage made this the true experience a Moving Atlas show is, especially as Matt and I yelled the lyrics at each other, “…Behold, I send you out as sheep among the wolves…”. During that song, Dunagin also shows off his chops as a frontman, as on the chorus he sings “…Like a god…”, steps back from the mic, singing it again, in a sense adding his own backing vocals, before getting right back in front of the mic, “…you can challenge it all…”. They took a brief pause after that song before drummer, Ross Rubio, got the next one going, “Welcome Home”. Both of those are easily some of the best, hardest hitting songs Moving Atlas has done, the lyrics for both are brilliant, and kicking a show off with both them back-to-back makes for a killer dose of Rock ‘N’ Roll. They did one more song from the EP, “Crawl out in the Cold”, which grows one me each time I hear it, and then did an older song, I assume from “Et Al”. “That old stuff’s pretty good isn’t it?” Dunagin said of what was definitely one of their best songs of the night, and saw both guitarist, Ricky Dansby, and bassist, Geoff Lucke, really rocking out. Before their next song, Dunagin had a question. “How many feet are in a mile?” “WhiskeyBoy” had the answer, shouting out, “Fifty-two eighty!” “That’s right…” Dunagin said, as that led them to another intense rock number, “5280”. “Red Shelter” came next, and the music bed for this song does a wonderful job of capturing a end of the world vibe (“…The power to build a bomb just to eradicate what matters…”). They started to wind their 39 minute set down with their longest song, the epic, “Muse Accuser”, and then Dunagin asked if anyone wanted to “Parachute”. The crowd wanted to, and that was what capped off their show.

I mentioned that space was tight for the previous band, well, it was even less spacious with five guys on stage. In fact, guitarist, Ben Scott, was over on stage right, almost completely out of my line of sight. They still moved about as much as possible, though, with Dunagin and Geoff occasionally switching spots so you could better see his bass skills, and during the instrumental portion of their next to last song Dunagin sit down on the stage, allowing for a better view of everybody else.

I said it the last time I saw these guys and I’ll say it again, they are some of the most professional musicians around, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a band who puts on as tight of a show as Moving Atlas. Their next gig will be Saturday, June 2nd at Trees in Dallas, where they will headline, so you know it’ll be great. And check out all their records in iTunes, “Machina”, “Red Shelter”, “Elephant Gun” and “Et Al”.

In most cases, putting Moving Atlas on as a main support band would be a pretty crazy decision, if for no other reason than because most bands can’t top what they bring. But it just so happened one of those handful of bands was up next.

It’s been probably close to two years since the last time the San Antonio based band Nothing More had played Denton. They used to be regulars at another club here, and since they almost never played Dallas, making that hour long drive was the only way I got to see them. And then they quit playing North Texas all together… At least until early this year. So needless to say, this event had been a long time coming, and as they got ready to play, the crowd packed in as tightly as possible around the stage.

Drummer, Paul O’Brien, bassist, Daniel Oliver, and guitarist, Mark Vollelunga, got on stage first, and began with a rocking instrumental piece. All of a sudden, vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, hopped on stage and started pounding away on his drum set, consisting of a bass drum, tom and snare. The still fairly new iron “stand” (I use that for lack of a better word) that they’ve built to hold those drums looks so killer, and after a few seconds Jonny jumped up on part of it, towering over the audience. The music then subsided, and Jonny began the opening part of their first song, with the instruments coming back to life moments later. It had been a long time since I heard them open a show with “Gone”, and it seemed to be exactly what this crowd wanted to hear, as they tore through the emotionally charged song. I believe Jonny stated how good it was to be back in Denton when they finished that song, while the other guys went right on into the next song, as Mark broke out into his blistering guitar solo for the instrumental song, “Under The Eyes of Selene”, which of course was wound into “Sixty Second Affair”. They weren’t holding back at all, and went straight into their next song, a new one, that Jonny said was called “First Punch”. “Do y’all want to hear another new one?” asked Jonny afterwards. It was a definite yes to that, as they did my favorite new song of theirs… or at least my favorite out of what few songs I’ve heard. The song is fantastic, especially on the chorus, part of which I believe goes, “…I’ll keep sucking, sucking, sucking you dry until you realize you’re no J-J-J Jesus Christ.” To follow that up, Jonny grabbed an iron rod and placed it in a slot on his drum kit, swinging it around so it faced the crowd. Dan took his bass off and placed it on that hooked rod, holding down some of the strings while Jonny tapped the strings with a pair of drumsticks, and towards the end Mark got in on the action, holding down a few of the strings along the fret board. That is really one of the coolest, most unique things I’ve ever seen a band do, and with just a few rather simple modifications they managed to elevate it to a whole new level. As they got back to their spots on stage, you could faintly hear the sample track for the next song, growing louder and louder before exploding into “The Cleansing”. They had one final new one for this show, going into the harder, edgier, “Ballast”. For part of this song, Jonny pushes his voice to a whole new place from any other NoMo song, especially during the first verse, in particular on the lines “…When did we build this broken home…” and “…Dropping our hearts to grip our brother’s throat…”, where he digs into a deeper, somewhat throaty scream. The song gives you a true adrenalin rush, and will no doubt become one of the bands classics. Speaking of classics, an older fan favorite came next, “Love?”. That one had everyone singing along, but it wasn’t until the end when you could actually hear the fans singing the final chorus, “…I’ll sing it till the stars fall down, I’ll sing it till my lungs dry out. I could sing it all night long, but you never listened when I sang this song…”. Once that was over, Jonny passed things off to Dan, saying he had something to say. “…Four score and seven meals ago…” he started, going into his hilarious speech, serving as a segue into “Fat Kid”, a song that got people very excited. They then rocked out the “The Few Not Fleeting”, and then a song you wouldn’t expect to hear live, “It Seems…”. The song is one of my favorites and was a highlight for me during their acoustic show down in San Antonio last August, and while it becomes a powerful little number, it still lacks the punch their other material does, making this a rare treat in my opinion. Towards the end, before doing the chorus again, they changed it up as Jonny began singing part of The Beatles song, “Elanor Rigby”. “Look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?…” he sang a few times before finishing out the song. They then announced that their time was almost up, wrapping things up with “Salem”. About halfway through Dan laid his bass down, grabbing a tom and raised it up to his left shoulder, while Mark brought him one for his right arm. Dan stood in front of the full drum kit as Jonny and Mark began making loops, with one getting a few beats in on the drums Dan held, while the other played the partial kit, repeating it a few times. That little stunt is something else that sets Nothing More apart from other bands, and even though you know they’re going to do it, it still never ceases to amaze. When that was done Dan put the toms down as they returned to their stations, finishing out the song and calling it a night.

An encore seemed inevitable, but as soon as they walked off the stage the chants for one more could be heard. I guess that means Denton had been deprived of Nothing More for far too long. Dan, Mark and Paul soon returned, with Jonny not far behind as they did “Waiting On Rain”, which seemed like it would probably conclude their set. “I think we have one more.” Said Jonny as he looked at his band mates, like he was making sure they were down for that. This was what I had been waiting all night for, seeing as they had moved my favorite song of theirs from the opening tune. They ripped into an instrumental piece, and before you knew it Mark was shredding away at the begging of “Bullets And Blue Eyes”, which put an end to an epic 65 minutes of rock.

This was easily one of the best performances I’ve ever seen any band do. It was just incredible, and aiding their performance was the energy and excitement of the crowd, which the band obviously fed off of. A mosh pit broke out on more than a few occasions, and even once so many people were jumping around and moving, I could feel the floor shaking, making me a bit afraid that it may cave on everybody.

I’m still just in awe of this, I mean, Nothing More was good nearly six years ago when I first saw them. Jonny taking over on vocals elevated them to a whole new level, and now, and now, they’ve pushed themselves so much further. And I feel very comfortable saying that there is no better currently active band in all of Texas than Nothing More, and if you want to disagree, then you obviously haven’t been to one of their shows.

It won’t be years before the next time NoMo gets to North Texas, as they actually have two shows here next month. The first is Saturday, June 2nd at Trees in Dallas (where they will be main support for Moving Atlas), while the other show is going to be Friday, June 22nd at Hailey’s in Denton with a band they are touring with, Bravo Delta. Aside from those dates, the rest of their schedule as is follows: May 16th at Blue Bonnett Palace in Selma, Texas. May 18th at ND Austin in Austin. May 19th at the Strawberry Festival in Houston/Pasadena. June 3rd at Sunken Gardens in San Antonio. June 15th at Brick by Brick in San Diego, California. June 16th at AMPLYFI in Los Angeles, California. June 20th at Tempe Tavern in Tempe, Arizona. June 23rd at Eclipse Cultural House in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also, find “The Few Not Fleeting” in iTunes, and their forthcoming record should be out later this year.

This was just a real fun night, filled with both great music (one last shout out to WK Productions for putting this together) and hanging out with great friends/business partners, and it will definitely live in my mind for MANY years to come.

One last noteworthy thing about three of the bands that were on this bill, they all have a song available for download as part of a FREE music compilation. Paco, Moving Atlas and Nothing More are all featured on Escaping the Ordinary: Volume III, which you can download by going HERE.

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NOTE: Some amazingly talented individuals and myself have partnered up to create RYA Entertainment. We give you all the benefits of working with a major label (booking and promotional experience, industry connections, strength in numbers) without the hassles and cost associated with signing to a label. If your band would be interested in working with us in any of those aspects or performing at a future show of ours, contact me at: 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!

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!

Album Review: “Machina” by Moving Atlas

Since 2008, the progressive, hard rock act known as Moving Atlas has released three EPs. 2008’s “Elephant Gun” was nothing to take lightly, with all five songs being of a legitimate quality that most mainstream acts will never achieve, and its 2009 follow up, “Red Shelter”, only further exerted the bands skill and musicianship as they pushed their dominance in the Dallas music scene. However, with “Machina”, which was introduced to fans’ ears in the final weeks of 2011, the group has reached a whole new level.

It only takes a little over twenty minutes for the album to play out, and it starts with the title track, “Machina”. It begins slow and soft with some drum beats, while some guitar chords soon layer over it, before the song explodes and comes to life. It’s a full blown rock song at its finest, and relies heavily on the rhythm section of the group. Dunagin Gaines’s vocals seem almost relaxed, perhaps even soothing in a way, on the verses of the song, though it begins to ramp-up as they near the chorus and a certain element of ferocity suddenly appears. For example, on part of the chorus, “You will not stop, quit, lay down for anything. I’m willing to bet that you are the one…” Then there is the ominous line, “…I send you out as sheep among the wolves…”.

The guitar line that begins the next song, “Crawl Out In the Cold”, is definitely fitting of the song, as it does have a cold and barren sound to it. In fact, the whole song conjures a rather distant and cold imagery. “…Crawl out in the cold and see how it feels on your skin, it’s a lot like your knife in my back that I don’t feel…”, is part of the chorus, and is sung in almost a nonchalant tone.

When it ends, you are thrust almost immediately into what strikes me as the hardest hitting of the five songs, “Welcome Home”. “Can we please stop all the yelling…” it begins, then continues, “It’s getting us nowhere. Neither one of us will raise the white flag. Can we ever stop pretending, that we’re getting somewhere. I packed my bags and I ain’t ever coming back. And it don’t really make a difference to me…”. There’s some distortion on the vocals, giving it a pretty soupy sound, though it isn’t overdone, and is just enough to add a great texture to it. It comes across as being the best, most in your face song on the EP, an is destined to become a classic.

Every album needs at least one song that showcases the band softer side and provides a lull, and for “Machina”, that song is “Cracks In the Armor”. The vast majority of it is stripped down to the bare basics as some simplistic guitar lines play out behind the vocals. And though it may be simple, it is also beautiful and even haunting, and is something that will certainly stick with you for some time. That is also the reason I consider this the best overall song on the EP, because both the lyrics and music are able to stir something in your inner being that the other songs do not, and the chorus will also linger in your head. “…This concrete fixture is all worn out. There’s cracks in the armor and I won’t let you walk away alone. There’s cracks in the armor and I won’t let you swallow me whole.” Dunigan sings, as his voice flows in perfect synch to the plucking of the guitar strings, before the full band erupts for the final minute of the song, as it suddenly soars to life.

The longest song on the record, “Muse Accuser”, is the final tune, and ends this record in spectacular fashion. The whole song has an epic feel and sound to it, causing it to transcend any of the songs that preceded it. It dances on a fine line of being both melodic and gritty, and mixing them both together quite well, while Dunigans’ voice flows effortlessly on the chorus. But perhaps what truly makes the song is its nearly minute long instrumental bridge, where it takes a sudden turn, becoming extremely tranquil.


The previous two EPs from Moving Atlas were great, but the band has really out done themselves with “Machina”, as it will make you question the quality of those prior releases. And that is truly saying a lot. The record also serves as an example to any current and future progressive, hard rock acts in the North Texas area, and that is that the bar has already been set pretty high.

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Purchase the EP on iTunes.

Visit their official website .

"Like" the band on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

April 29, 2011 - “I Hope You Find Yourself Cause I’m Leaving…”

When I arrived at Trees the first band, The Royal Tragedy, was already playing, and nearly done. Probably didn’t help that I stopped at Good Records to get the new Bowling for Soup album, but I’d seen The RT almost two years ago up in Denton and didn’t much care for them. But as I was walking in I actually liked what I heard. Just caught the last half of their third to last song, but it was pretty good, however I didn’t care for their next to last one. Their singer/guitarist just screamed on it WAY too much for my tastes. But they did recover a bit in my eyes with their final number. Still not the best band I’ve heard, but I’ll have to check them out again sometime, see how a full show sounds.

Second up was Echo of Insanity. Didn’t much care for these guys at first. On their first two songs vocalist, Rus Chaney’s, voice sounded pretty rough, in a unrefined way, and I wasn’t sure how long I could listen to these guys if that was going to be the case. But on the third song things got exponentially better. It was still a bit rough, but in a good and distinctive way. And from here on out they had my full attention. They were top notch performers, and when Rus wasn’t singing he’d somewhat bow out and go and stand on the drum riser, leaving the stage to guitarists, Herb Crookall and Matt Massey, and bassist, Clint Potter, to rock. They did several songs in there 36 minute set, a few of which they said could be found on an album sampler they had for sale, which is just a prelude to their full-length debut that they said would be out in a few months. And I am now suddenly excited for that. They are a great Rock / Alternative Rock band and despite what my initial thoughts of Rus’s singing was, the dude has a killer voice.

The Commotion was next, and I was looking forward to seeing them again as it had been a few months. They began by doing a little instrumental piece, which sounded like one of their other songs, before they suddenly tore in to “Carry On”. It was a pretty straight forward rock show in the sense that they moved from one song to the next with barely any breaks in between. And in their 38 minute long set they rocked out “Killing Time”, “Crim”, “LOL”, “Dare”, one whose title I don’t know, “Just a Test” and finally, “Backseat Driver (Wash it Away)”. I don’t see these guys just too often, but every time I do I swear they just get better. Guitarist, Josh Sanders and Justin Middleton, and bassist, Justin Hold, really put on a show, constantly moving about the stage and shredding on their respective instruments. And while I don’t always pay attention to the drummers in a band, mainly cause most of the time they are harder to see, Ross Rubio (who was pulling double duty tonight) is one of the better ones I’ve seen. And maybe it could partially be attributed to Trees sound system, but I think Micah Creel’s voice sounded even better then usual this night. They’re just a great band with a great live show. You can catch ‘em in just a few weeks at the Curtain Club, on Friday May 20, where they’ll be playing with The Orange and The Phuss. Both of whom are some killer bands.

Meridian was next, doing their monthly Trees gig. The curtain opened on them as they looked at the crowd for a brief moment before kicking things off with “Nights”. This was their second show doing the new versions of their songs and I noticed it last time, but I made sure to listen for it this time around, “it” being the guitar riff Mark Sims rocks out after the first chorus. It’s a very sweet lick indeed. They were relentless with the next few songs, going right into “This Is War”(?), then guitarist, Shannon Nedved, started them into “Wrecking Ball”, which was then followed with “All Hands”. They took a break as vocalist, Tim Ziegler, announced this would be their last show for a bit. “…We’re going to go into hibernation for awhile to finish our album. But when we come back, we’ll have more then just shirts for sale.” he said. “Starts and Ends” came afterwards, and while I wasn’t sure about this new version the first time I heard it, I liked it better tonight. Where Tim sings “I hope you find yourself cause I’m leaving. Time is moving slow and not helping.” the music continues, before he comes back in “All these clever things are on my mind…” For the record the demo version doesn’t have a vocal pause there. They trudged on with “Train" and then another which was the "…Second time this one has ever been played." Tim said. Don’t know the title of this one, but I’m 99% sure it was the one they debuted in December, which at that show Tim said the song sounded like something you danced to at your prom. That’s pretty spot on for how the song actually sounds, but I like that. It’s always nice to hear a band do a song that may be out of their comfort zone but showcases their diversity. "So like I said last time." Tim began saying before the next song. "The general feedback for this one was that it says the F-word too many times, so it won’t be on the record. We’ll still play it, it just won’t be on the album. It’s called Digress.” I only have one thing to say about that… FUCK! This is about their best song in my opinion, or at least one of my most favorites. That is cool that they actually took the fans feedback into consideration, but really, it says the F-word too many times? How many songs use it more than 12 times, plus mean it in more of a derogative way. Hell, there’s a Toadies song titled “Velvet” where the first and third chorus, which is most of the song, is “…You hurt me you fuck…” repeated three times. And for the second chorus the F-bomb is changed to the C-word. And the song is still played live to date. Now isn’t that worse than this song of Meridian’s? Excuse me, sorry for the little rant, now back to the show. They rocked out another newer one, one I didn’t recognize, before ending their 35 minute set with, of course, “Hey Lover”. I really thought this was by far the best show they’ve done to date. Mark, Shannon, and of course bassist, Chris Gentry, and drummer, Moe Martinez, just get better with each show they get under their belts. And tonight, I felt they were the driving force behind the entire thing, putting on a truly awesome stage show! Not to leave Tim out of it, who I talked to afterwards and he said he wanted to “…Cut loose…” more than he did, but since they haven’t been rehearsing much he just couldn’t. But Tim on a bad night is still better than most front men on their best. Now just to wait out the next couple of months or so until the 8th Meridian show, which will also hopefully be the release show for their debut album.

And putting a close to the night was Moving Atlas, who took the stage at 12:06. They did a song or two then bassist, Geoff Lucke, apologized for them being gone for so long. “…This is the first show we’ve done since November.” he said, “But we’ve been busy writing new songs to eventually make a new album for you guys. And y’all are going to get to hear some of those songs tonight.” Not that any of that mattered to me since like I’ve said before about these guys, I’ve never been able to get into their recorded music, but live they are amazing. So it’s basically all “new” to me. They did a nice 10 song set, occasionally saying what the songs were about, “This one’s about breaking out of prison.” said vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, before starting one. And later on drummer, Ross Rubio, said the next tune was “…About drugs.” They made it just a bit suspenseful before beginning their final song, as some light chords echoed out, before Dunagin sang out, “Don’t want to contemplate the time…”, as he quickly built up to a violent scream with each word. It was the song that had more or less kept me hanging around, the mighty “Elephant Gun”. When it ended they thanked everyone for coming out and ascended the stairs to the green room. But one of the set lists was plainly visible, and it was obvious they were far from being done. After several chants of “One more!” by the fans they came back on stage. “They” being Dunagin and one of the guitarists, and what they proceeded to do showed they are not just a hard rockin’ Alternative Rock band. It had an acoustic-ish vibe to it and went on for a few minutes with their guitarist playing while Dunagin sang. Soon the other members appeared on the stairs and made their way to their spots on stage, and as he sang out part of the chorus, “…There’s cracks in the armor…” and I believe the line that followed is “…And I won’t let you get away whole…” And with that the full band tore into the song, turning it into a full-blown rock tune. And when it was done Geoff said that it was one of the new ones, “…It’s called Cracks In the Armor.” he said. They did a couple more songs before they truly were done. It was a 63 minute set in all and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen a band give. As I said earlier, I’ve listened to their songs several times and haven’t liked the recorded product, but I decided to give them one more try. And this time, I loved it. Mind you I did this the day after the show, so it was too late to get their EPs after their gig and the only thing on iTunes is their 2006 full-length debut. Not their more recent EPs. Damn. I’ll just have to wait until their show at the Curtain Club on Friday, June 24 to get their records. Assuming I can make it. But you should definitely check these guys out, not just their music, but the live show. They are hands down one of, if not the, best band that currently resides in Dallas. And I say that unbiasedly, having only been made a true fan after this show.

October 9, 2010 - Bringin’ All My Friends

'Twas another killer line-up at Trees, this night to help Overscene celebrate their newest release.


Kennedy kicked things off, and I was none too impressed with them. As they began their singer said “Welcome to the badass side of rock and roll.” Now, take the ass out of that and that’s what their 30ish minute long set amounted to. Their music is okay, and they put on a decent performance, but their vocalist can’t sing for anything. It was just real rough and not even close to being on pitch at any point of the night.


Thankfully the night improved though when Dawn Over Zero took the stage next, for their first ever show at Trees. Frontman, Mike Myers, introduced themselves to the people who were in Trees, which was probably a good idea cause I’m sure almost no one knew who they were, and then they got things rolling with a couple of their newer tunes. They were just finishing the second song (which has a killer, epic, intro, as well as outro), when lead guitarist, Steven Abbenante, played the opening chords of “Take You Under”. And they followed that up with their masterpiece (in my opinion), “Circulation”. I believe they did four more songs after that, including the single, “Carry Me Home”, from their forthcoming album. The set was much shorter from the couple of times I’ve seen them up in Denton, but the quality of the show eclipsed them completely. Which is saying a hell of a lot. These guys really have an abundance of talent, and are far better live than I ever could’ve thought in just listening to their records.


A band by the name of Ursa played next, doing their first Dallas show. These guys must be somewhat of a big deal cause they had a mass of people out to see them. They even started chanting “URSA” over and over, long before they even took the stage. They were pretty good, and their singers voice really reminded me of the  singer for the defunct The Underwater from Pennsylvania, in that it’s a little higher register and has a pretty unique sound to it. I didn’t think they were worth the fuss that so many people were making, but I did like them and will definitely see them again sometime down the road.


Moving Atlas had the main support slot. This was the third time I’ve seen them in just six months, and they are incredible. Live. But every time I’ve attempted to listen to their recordings I can’t stand them. Which is a shame, cause they do have loads of talent and they put on a spectacular show.


The night was all about Overscene, who had amassed quite a number of fans this night, to help them release their second record, the “Bringin’ All My Friends” EP. Which was given away for free just for coming to the show, no matter who you were there to see. Their intro track was, of all things, a Country song. It sounded pretty good, but I thought a bit strange for a very hard rock band. It played for a couple minutes before stopping, and through the slit of the curtain you saw the stage lights go off. The band started into the first song as the curtain opened and then a few of the lights illuminated them. Vocalist, J.R. Munoz, was gazing out at all their followers, till it was time he started singing their opening song, “Off the Wagon”. “YOU THINK THIS LIFE IS EASY. Live a day in my shoes…”, goes the tunes first line. It’s also the song whose lyrics bear the albums title, “…I’m bringin’ all my friends. On my binge…” He even tweaked a portion of the song, near the end asking “Alright! Who here is coming with me!?” The crowd roared back at him in agreeance, to which J.R. responded “The lets go!”. There was enough energy in that song as there is in most shows by other bands. And they still had about 50 more minutes to cover. They did a couple from their debut full-length next, “XOXO” and “Stems”, before doing some more from the new EP. “This next song is about learning to take care of yourself before even bothering with trying to take care of someone else.” J.R. told everyone. “Cause after all, we’re the most important person to ourselves. And that’s what this song is about, it called Time to Shine.” It’s pretty good, though I like the message behind the song more than the song itself. About 98% of their material is in your face hard rock, but took things down just a notch with their next one, “Don’t Fly Away”, which a little more of a love song. At least in my opinion. But the softer side didn’t last to long as went into some more older songs, “Hate Myself” and “Here I Am”, which I think they said they hadn’t even performed in a year or more. J.R. gave a little speech about the next song they were going to do, saying it was one that they never play live, and some of their fans from West Texas had even gotten married to the song. It wasn’t till he finished that I realized 3/5 of the band had left. Drummer, Michael Glass, guitarist, Justin Berry, and bassist, Erin Denis. Leaving only J.R. and their other guitarist, Toby Bittenbender, who had swapped out his electric ax for an acoustic one. I think they successfully shocked most of the people there when they started “Acceptance”. It a fantastic song, and one of my favorites of theirs, but I never figured I’d hear it. And I really like the chorus of it, “…I am something. More than nothing. Accept me for who I am. Cause we’re much better when we’re together. I’m gonna do the best that I can…”. And it’s that line right there that makes me understand why people would want to get married to it. When it was done the rest of the band got back on stage, and they took things back up to the normal level, with “Missing You” then another new one, “The Battle Within”. Next they did the only song from their new EP they had yet to play, a cover of Garth Brooks “Thunder Rolls”. And I bet their version sounded nothing like Garth’s. They pulled it off nicely though, and until reading the album credits I thought it was one of their songs, which is what I think every band strives for when they cover a song. And the thunder at the beginning of the song did sound pretty cool, as if a storm was just going to start pouring the rain inside of Trees. By this time they only had one song left for the night. And they made it very clear that there would be no encore. “Our encore is coming out there to celebrate with y’all!” J.R. told everybody, before announcing their last song, “Each Time I Fall”. Which, in the case of most bands, they saved the very best for last. It really was an incredible, high-energy, show they put on. The only complaint I’d have is everything is turned up so loud, you can barely, if even, hear J.R. singing. For the songs I somewhat knew I was often unsure what was being sung. And for the ones I didn’t know, I was doing good to catch ten words of what was said. And if they could just take care of that, I think they’d be doing even better than they currently are.

April 3, 2010 - Descender’s Denton Debut

This was really an awesome line-up of bands at Hailey’s. And it all started with…

Descender, doing their first show in Denton. As usual they opened with “Gunpowder Drum” followed by one of their other rockin’ tunes. There was a brief pause as Casey setup the next song. “So we have an album up on iTunes. This next one’s the title track from it…” meaning it was “Army of Elephants”. The song is great, but at the end of it they go into a sick instrumental breakdown. It’s awesome! When that song was done the sound guy told them they had ten minutes left, which caused them to stop and debate what to do next. “Should we just do Little Power?” I heard one of them ask “Or the other two?” This took a couple minutes as they hammered out what to play, eventually opting for their two newest songs. I’ve still never heard the name for the first one they did, but it’s great. And “Armor” became the shows closer, which could really give “Little Power” a run for it’s money as the way to end shows. As hearing Casey semi-scream out “…Armor” seemed to finalize the show, but also leave the people wanting more. In all they played barely over thirty minutes, but it was an awesome thirty minutes.

Next up was Bronze Whaler. It’d been awhile since I’d seen them and was looking forward to seeing them again. They put on a pretty good show and their singer, Sean, has a good, slightly unique sounding voice. I bought their most recent release, and despite it only being four tracks long, it’s really good.

Moving Atlas took the stage next. I remember seeing them going on three years ago. If memory serves me correctly their singer screamed more than sang. And I do remember not liking them at all, so I wasn’t much looking forward to this as I knew I would hate it. WRONG. Their singer has improved. There was still some screaming on parts of some songs, but I don’t mind that. The music was very good as well and the same can be said for the show overall. I listened to them on myspace afterwards and still didn’t like their music, but live it transfers into something much better. And the last song they played, “Elephant Gun”, is killer. Really wouldn’t mind seeing them again.


Siren City rounded out the night, doing their first headlining show in Denton since November when they did their CD release. Not only that, they also had their brand new guitarist in tow, Justin something AKA “Shorty”. If my memory is right he used to be in Edgewater, who got national level attention. They got everything set-up and about 12:20 started their hour long set, opening with “What I Want”. I think it was after that they introduced “Shorty” and both singer, Randy, and lead guitarist, Rick, said “If we fuck up or sound bad tonight, it’s his fault.” They did another song or two, “Beside You” and “Afraid of the World”, before Randy started what became an ongoing thing for the show “What’s y’alls favorite cover song? On the count of three. Ready… GO.” And  really no one answered. After a few more tunes, “After All” and “Secrets” Randy tried it again, only this time “…Favorite curse word?…” This was met with an almost unanimous yelling of “FUCK”. That continued in the breaks for the rest of the, only Randy would say “What’s your favorite… I’m just kidding.” The rest of their songs were “Grey Skies” “Hypothalamade” “With A Pulse” and the closer, “Firefly”. I’m sure “Princess” was thrown in there somewhere too, plus another one or two. They did a great set and it was the first time I’ve heard them play all six songs from their EP since the release show for it. And “Shorty” seems like a good addition to the band as well, though I’d have to see some more shows to really see how he fits in.