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.