Returning to the Chain Reaction in a slot opening for Meleeís record release party, the Plain White Tís succeeded in blowing everyone away with their super-infectious brand of rock and roll. Some may call it emo, but that description barely does any justice for the band, their memorable songs, or high energy live performances. Opening with Stop from their Fearless Records release of the same name, Tom Higgenson and his band mates ripped through a dynamic set of tunes that had the packed Chain Reaction singing along and slamming away. One highlight of the set was Radios In Heaven, a tremendously moving song that may be slower than most in tempo, but highly effective nonetheless. What If and All Your Fault are other tunes that were extremely well received. Closing with the attitude rocker Perfect For You, the Tís dynamic show came to an angst-ridden conclusion. Comparisons have been made to Jimmy Eat World, but the Plain White Tís are talented enough to write winning tunes and emerge with their own musical identity. Higgenson is one of the best young songwriters to emerge in quite some time, not afraid to display his heart and soul into his thoughtful lyrics. Expect big things in the future from this pop band out of the Midwest!
On tour with the Plain White Tís in a support act position was Donít Look Down from South Jersey. Although a lot of people had not heard of the band prior to their Chain Reaction show, Donít Look Down handily won fans over their energetic live show. Sounding a bit like The Starting Line and Midtown, the band was celebrating the release of their brand new EP simply titled Five, and played songs from that and their previous Iguana Records release. Donít Look Down is definitely another band to watch out for in the near future.
Another packed night at the Chain Reaction and this time Slick Shoes would be headlining. Now on the Sideonedummy label after several years with Tooth & Nail, the band performed songs from their various albums and a few brand new gems as well. Slick Shoes know how to rev up the crowd with their supreme pop/punk tunes and really had a good pit going inside the club. With songs and live performances this good, one wonders why the band hasnít moved onto bigger venues Ė nevertheless it is great to see Slick Shoes blow off the collective rooftops of the smaller shows they chose to play. With a charismatic lead vocalist, top-notch musicians and fun tunes galore, itís only a matter of time before we see these guys at the top of the punk rock heap. One of the hardest working bands out today, Slick Shoes deserve any massive success that may come their way.
Opening the show was Over It, a band originally from Alexandria, VA who now reside in the Ventura area. These guys have been playing quite a few local gigs lately, showing off their rock and roll credentials and winning new fans along the way. Their new Lobster Records release is entitled Timing Is Everything, and it certainly appears to be Over Itís time to make their mark upon the world. Songs like Fall, Serial Kisser, and Limiter perform well in a live setting. Having more in common with Material Issue than any pop/emo band you can name, Over It are definitely a cut above what has come to be expected from an genre overran by mediocrity. Driving and filled with a dynamic energy that is wildly infectious, the Over It live show is a must see for all! Be sure to check out Timing Is Everything and the other Over It releases as well!
No longer busting it up as the spaced-out Miles on Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Trevor Lissauer has been able to focus more time on his first love Ė music. One of the most promising singer/songwriters emerging from the LA area, this is not of a case of TV celebrity trying to become a musician for kicks or out of sheer boredom. It was pretty amusing to see Trevor answer his cell phone from the stage after the first song and tell the caller he was performing live at The Mint, but that was the only hint of any kind of star status on display.
Opening for P.J. Ollson on a rainy night in West LA, Lissauer and his band proved to be the perfect soundtrack for such an occasion. Performing selections from his just released Transit Plaza CD, Lissauerís lyrics are clever and introspective. Songs that really stood out in the set included the wistful Unnamed, the catchier than hell Place I Found, and the lengthy yet thoughtful Remember. Trevor conveys these tunes well through his ultra-cool vocal delivery and acoustic guitar playing. Also in the band are drummer Keith Tenenbaum and bassist Barry Whittaker who add a brilliant fullness to the colorful compositions. Obviously inspired by musicians as far ranging as Bob Dylan to indie rockers like Remy Zero and Beck, fans of bands like Dashboard Confessional and other emo kids should take note of Trevor Lissauer and his real world of genuinely moving tunes. Go to www.trevorlissauer.com for info on upcoming shows.
Even without the Dashboard Confessional guy, Further Seems Forever can sure draw a crowd, as both their local headlining dates were sold out. But more of them in a minuteÖ
Starting off the show was Open Hand from Los Angeles, and quite honestly, I donít know what the big deal is about these guys. The LA Weekly was raving about how awesome the band was when they were touring with Fairweather a few months ago. While their Trustkill album entitled The Dream is passable at best, their live set consisted of tunes which all sounded the same. No variation, just a load of noise Ė to be fair about ten people by the stage knew the songs and sang gleefully along while the rest of the packed room politely looked on. For me a bad dream, but to others a true aural delight. NextÖ
The Beautiful Mistake from Riverside/OC remains one of the best bands in the emo/screamo genre, combining catchy melodies with all out distortion and introspective lyrics. One of the reasons why they stand out in an overcrowded field is that their influences predate the rise of emo, encapsulating bands such as Ride and Catherine Wheel as well as the usual hardcore suspects. The live show is on fire, with their music appealing to music fans across the board. The soothing, moody vocals of Josh Hagquist are a nice contrast to the passionate screams of Shawn Grover, both who also fill the air thick with a wall of stunning guitar noise. Bassist Jon Berndtsen contributes a dynamic low-end and killer rock star poses to the proceedings, his unpredictability and spirit genuinely fun to watch. Armin Chami brings it all home on drums. Best of the set included For A Friend, On Building, Stavesail, and Stabbing Backwards. If I could redo my Top Ten Album List for 2002, Light A Match For A Deserve To Burn by The Beautiful Mistake would be right up there along with the creative forces of Codeseven and Avenged Sevenfold. These guys can really play their instruments and put a lot of thought into their songwriting and arrangements. Highly, highly recommended either live or on disc.
Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, the artistic meanderings of Elliott are too sophisticated and enlightened to be called just emo or indie. Showcasing tracks from their forthcoming Revelation release Song In The Air as well as many old favorites, the audience stood transfixed experiencing the sheer genius that is Elliott. A lot of music is slow and ethereal, yet there are places within their songs that hit even harder than the most abrasive screamo outfit. Vocalist Chris Higdon and his Elliott cohorts presented a compelling hour of unforgettable tapestries that threatened to steal the thunder from the headliners. This is rock music at itís very best Ė creative, accessible yet daring to push the boundaries all out of shape.
Both the Troubadour and Chain Reaction venues were packed to the rafters when Further Seems Forever made their way to the stage. The release of their latest Tooth & Nail album How To Start A Fire has gained a good deal of momentum on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and it was time to see what they could do in a live setting. I actually caught the band when they headlined the final night of Furnacefest 2002, so there was little doubt in my mind that FSF would live up to the hype. Although the vocals of Mr. Dashboard are missed, new singer Jason Gleason more than fills the void, having many in the audience wondering aloud the words ďChris who?Ē Gleason is a dynamic front man with plenty of presence and charisma to spare. The new songs such as Pride War and Against My Better Judgement where well received as well as the older cuts like The Bradley and the sentimental Snowbirds and Townies. There was magic is the air when FSF closed out the night with The Moon Is Down Ė easily one of those moments that stay in your head long after you leave the venue. Two great nights of superb up and coming bands!
It was time once again for the Fat Tour and its 2003 edition would bring some of the best bands the Fat Wreck Chords label has to offer. Unfortunately we totally missed The Flipsides, and judging by the two tracks contained on the CD sampler, their live show would have been a killer way to start out the night.
The first band we did see was Real Mckenzies, who combine punk rock with a decidedly Irish flavor. Featuring men in kilts with bagpipes who can rock out like The Sex Pistols, Real Mckenzies put on an unforgettable show. The crowd went wild as these guys delivered all-out anthems, many from their soon to be released Oot & Aboot album. Donít be surprised to see Real Mckenzies headlining their very own shows soon Ė maybe even on Fat Tour 2004. An invigorating live show that would do even Flogging Molly proud!
If Real Mckenzies rallied the Fat troops, then Rise Against sent them raging headfirst in the slam pit! It was like a punk rock party when this Chicago band took the stage and raced through a thrilling set of fast and furious tunes. Playing songs from their new album Revolutions Per Minutes as well as the older ones from The Unraveling, the entire place was singing along in unison. The music of Rise Against exudes a mighty dose of socially conscious sentiments, and the night came off like a celebration to life and the magnificent differences that we all share in this world. The band drew quite a crowd and obviously contributed to the fact that the show was sold out.
Even though some of the peeps left after Rise Against obliterated the place, there were many fans left to see Mad Caddies. Those who say ska is dead only need to see what these talented musicians bring to the table. On the verge of releasing their new effort Just One More, Mad Caddies played a set of varied tunes. From ska to swing to all out punk rock, the versatility of the band was on display for all to witness. Hailing from Santa Barbara, this is one band who would find themselves welcomed at any party. Vocalist Chuck is all smiles and judging by his voice and stage presence, Iím sure this guy could sing just about any style of music. The two member horn section added a nice touch to the rambunctious wall of sound. With an album as dynamic as Just One More and live performances that resemble out of control frat parties, Mad Caddies is still on the upswing and have a lot more to offer the world. An awesome night of bands from the mighty Fat Wreck label!
Whenever Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu get together and co-headline a show, the results are almost always out of control. If you were at their gig at the Showcase in December, you would have known first hand what to expect. These guys should consider touring together so the world may witness the fact that Orange County has more than just lightweight punk and ska bands.
Those who arrived early were able to catch the Los Angeles debut of the House Of Heroes. Signed to Vanishing Point Records, this trio of talented musicians was in town to showcase their debut album. Emo bands may be a dime a dozen these days, but the dynamic tunes these guys perform are far beyond what is normally expected from the genre. Since it was a night of heavy ass hardcore metal, one wondered how a melodic power pop outfit like House Of Heroes would be received amidst all the tattoos and attitude. Apparently, this crowd knew a good band in spite of what style they favor, and politely received the energetic set presented by these Columbus, Ohio heroes. Closing out with the hit-worthy Mercedes Baby, there is little doubt that House Of Heroes will find themselves all over the airwaves in time. To me, their album What You Want Is Now is the first memorable release of 2003, and itís good that House Of Heroes are able to back it up in a live setting.
Bad Highwire Daze for missing the next two bands, but we arrived back at The Troubadour just in time to catch Avenged Sevenfold. One of the best bands to emerge out of OC area in quite some time, Avenged Sevenfold have taken their various metal and hardcore influences to heart, coming up with a varied style that is both distinct and aggressive. Charismatic vocalist M. Shadows wore an At The Gates shirt, easily betraying one of the bandís many musical inspirations. The songs from Sounding The Seventh Trumpet were very well received, with audience members knowing all the words and not shy when it came to singing along. Well on their way to recording a brand new album, Avenged Sevenfold presented two brand new songs, which were entitled Remenissions and Unholy Confessions Ė both showed a natural progression for the band, and the audience appeared to really like these tunes. The place was packed and the mosh pit in a frenzied state Ė despite darker themes found within the lyrics, this was definitely an all out party. Another fantastic live performance from Avenged Sevenfold!
And if the audience did not have enough energy and aggression tossed their way with the previous acts, Atreyu was sure to finish everyone off. Ringleader Alex Varkatzas delivered the death and hardcore vocals and invited the crowd to sing along to their metallic anthems. While Brandon Saller is hidden behind his drum kit, his clean vocals and dynamic playing were impressive. Suicide Notes And Butterfly Kisses has been out a few months now, and Atreyu have been touring all across the country in support of the Victory Records release. At this time, the band is unbelievably tight and demonstrates a remarkable showmanship usually reserved for big time arena bands. Both Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu appear destined for venues bigger than The Troubadour and The Showcase. Be sure to catch these bands the next time they show up to party in your neighborhood Ė and that recommendation goes out for the House Of Heroes as well.
It was time for another groovy nite at The Troubadour as those pop rock sensations The Reunion Show made their way to the Southland once again. In support of Hot Rod Circuit this time around, The Reunion Show launched their spaceship of infectious tunes to a sold out house. Opening the set with On A Scale Of One To Awesome, many in the audience were familiar with the rockiní faves that The Reunion Show transmitted. Combining old-style new wave with an ultramodern sound, the music is winning, especially in a live setting. Songs that really stood out included Star Training, New Rock Revolution, and Dedication Ė all from their too cool Kill Your Television CD! Bassist Brian Diaz and guitarist Mark Thomas both shared the lead vocal duties, with Thomas also rocking out riffs on a keyboard that has obviously seen better days. Derrick Sherman, also on guitar, and Skully on drums added energy and drive to the colorful music Ė together these guys present a rambunctiously good time that is way too rare in music today. One leaves a Reunion Show gig with a great big smile, singing aloud songs that may take several weeks to get out your system.
Something Corporate was back to entertain fans in their home state, selling out The Palace and playing all the crowd pleasers as well as a few surprises. Lead vocalist and piano man Andrew McMahon was looking quite a bit shaggier with his hair much longer than many remembered from The Warped Tour last year.
First up however was Steel Train, one of Drive-Thruís newest signings. Having more in common with 70ís rock than anything their record label has ever released, Steel Train was warmly received by the packed house. Scott Irby-Ranniar has a smooth, soothing voice that is extraordinarily expressive Ė this guy is a major talent is his own right. Jack Antinoff handles his fair shares of vocals and is equally impressive with his guitar duties and singing Ė Antinoff also composes all the moving songs that make up the musical journey known as Steel Train. The band assembled for live performances is highly effective, including regular member Evan Winiker on bass. Songs like Alley Cat, Angelica, and Blown Away are staggering, and in their quiet elegance, still manage to be a genuinely emotional experience. Including both Finch and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in their Links section, itís obvious that Steel Train aspire for a different sound. Judging by the reception they received at The Palace, Steel Train is succeeding beyond anyoneís wildest expectations. Be sure to check out their new EP, entitled For You My Dear from the Drive-Thru crew.
Nothing too impressive to report about The Juliana Theory. I know they are on a major label now and tons of people like this band. All over the map musically, at one show I saw last year, The Juliana Theory resembled a Sunset Strip band from the late 80ís and this time, they were back in U2/Creed territory. There is no denying the musicianship is good and the songs very workman-like. There was nothing performed that was memorable or interesting Ė but no matter what I say, that didnít stop everyone in the front from singing along and cheering the Juliana guys on.
You know something special was going to happen when that famous beat-up piano was pushed on the stage and received scattered applause from the overly packed house. I did not even recognize Andrew when he first came on the stage. With much longer hair, he looked more like a roadie than the sunny front man for Something Corporate. Once he sat down and started to perform a song, everyone knew who it is. The new millenium piano man was performing solo on the piano, and the moment was magical. Andrew was soon joined onstage by the other SC guys, and the rock and roll show was on!
All the favorite SC songs were performed, including I Woke Up In A Car and Punk Rock Princess, but one of the highlights was definitely Cavanaugh Park, a song that McMahon dedicated to the late Mr. Rogers. The band seems to always be on the road, and this has made their set even tighter and more dynamic than ever. Appealing to more than just the Drive-Thru teens, the SC fans are from all ages, clearly impressing a wide array of people with their memorable tunes. When the big hit If U C Jordan was played at the end, it still inspired a sing-a-long frenzy even though everyone claims to be burnt out on that song. Once again, an unforgettable set from a band destined for rock and roll greatness.
Another night at The Palace, featuring more acts from the impressive Drive-Thru stable of talent. First up was Senses Fail, one of the youngest bands to be signed to Drive-Thru yet. Some of the members are 18 and under, yet itís amazing how tight and professional the band sounds. Exuding a youthful exuberance, the band delivered several hard rockiní songs, including Free Fall Without A Parachute and One Eight Seven. The singer was all over the stage and the band played with a strong sense of passion and conviction. With a record about to come out on Drive-Thru, it appears that Senses Fail is ready for the big time. Canít wait to see this dynamic band again!
A Static Lullaby is a local band that every major label in town seems to be interested in, but right now Ferret Music has these guys on their ever impressive roster of talent. A lot has happened since we last encountered the Static guys at Furnacefest, and their live performance is more intense than ever. Playing songs from their killer new release ...And Donít Forget To Breathe, it appeared that everyone in the crowd knew the words and sang along. Banished to tour on the road for an eternity, A Static Lullaby has become a vibrant musical force to be reckoned with. Noteworthy performances included the dynamic screamo inflections from the hyperactive Joe and Brettís too-cool heavy metal-style drumming. Phil contributes the impassioned lead vocals and a staggering low-end on the bass. The mighty wall of guitar noise is courtesy of Dan and Nate. Claiming their home base as Chino Hills, A Static Lullaby should be somewhere on this planet playing their hearts out by the time you read this. An awesome band on the verge of rock and roll greatness.
Next up was The Movielife from Long Island, who delivered a solid set of super infectious punk rock. Iíve seen these guys play a lot of shows in smaller venues, and it was great to see the band go off all over a great big stage. Their latest Drive-Thru release is entitled Forty Hour Train Back To Penn, and The Movielife performed many tracks off new the album Ė including Face Or Kneecaps, Jamestown, and The Kelly Song. The older songs rocked the crowd in a big way as well, including favorites This Time Next Year and Hand Grenade. Closing with a mighty blast of energy entitled I Hope You Die Soon, the slam pit went into overdrive for the twenty second duration of the song. After several years of hard work on the road, itís good to see The Movielife beginning to receive the fame they so rightfully deserve. Expect to see their name in bright lights at bigger venues soon.
And then it was time for the rowdy sounds of Finch, the band from Temecula who have been winning over crowds with their great songs and live shows. Finch surely know What It Is To Burn, and demonstrated on this first night of two sold out shows why are they are considered so fiery hot! Vocalist Nate Barcalow may be short in stature, but he can sure belt out a tune Ė whether in a clear voice or in all-out screamo mode. His brother Matt from Endor came on and joined in with the fun for one song. Finch has grown into quite a impressive live act, full of energy and ready to take on the world. Tunes performed included Letters To You, Grey Matter, and Perfection Through Silence. A new song, Worms Of The Earth, sounded like a death metal anthem Ė by the way, the studio version of that tune is on the latest Atticus Comp from Sideonedummy Records! During the encore, Finch toned it down quite a bit and performed the excellent ballad New Kid from their Falling Into Place EP. One of the most versatile bands out there today, Finch move from pop to metal with ease. Be sure to check Finch out on the Warped Tour this summer!
Near Miss was in town playing several shows in the Orange County/Los Angeles area in support of their debut Fearless Records release. Featuring ex-members of Bigwig, Near Miss is out to make it on their own and show the world what ultra-cool pop and punk is all about. Based out of Austin, Texas, the band proceeded into an energetic set with highlight songs being October Tenth, The Game, Seasons, Everything And Everyone, and Separated. With so much competition out there, itís difficult for a band to get noticed and rise above the pack. Near Miss seems to have that drive to make it in an overcrowded field. Even though the attendance was sparse due to being a weeknight, the band delivered the rock and roll like they were performing for a packed house. The fans that were in attendance knew all the words and sang along. Needless to say, if you like Bigwig, then be sure to check out Near Miss and prepare to be thoroughly impressed. Be sure to check out their CD entitled The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies, now available from Fearless Records!
Local band Limitpoint opened the show with their impressive brand of power pop. Donít know too much about the band except that they have strong songs and a lot of stage presence. Their current batch of CDís is sold out, but this should come as no surprise, judging by their enthusiastic live shows and infectious tunes. Definitely another band that could go far in the music biz.
The bands signed to the mighty Facedown Records were all in Los Angeles for a weekend of hardcore and metal. A storm was coming, yet this did to prevent fans from making their way to the Glasshouse to attend this yearís version of Facedown Fest. Before heading to another show, we managed to catch two of the bands that fired up what would prove to be one hell of a weekend.
Up first was Nodes Of Ranvier from South Dakota, who have gained a lot of positive response from their Lost Senses, More Innocence release. Performing a lot of new songs as well playing The World for the very first time, Nodes Of Ranvier had the mosh pit going early on. With a truly ferocious lead vocalist and passion spewing throughout their highly spiritual lyrics, the praise that has been heaped upon these guys is definitely warranted. In spite of their rather obscure moniker, expect Nodes Of Ranvier to break through and become one of the top hardcore bands.
The same could also be said about Sinai Beach. The band recently had a high profile opening slot for Hatebreed at The Palace and have been on tour ever since. Gaining new fans with each passing day, this Riverside-based band really know how to rev up a crowd. With songs ranging from sexual child abuse, teenage suicide, moral bankruptcy and other potent subjects, Sinai Beach are not afraid to bring up unpleasant topics and they have gained a ton of respect in hardcore circles for that. Their When Breath Escapes CD is a dynamic debut, but in a live setting the band is even more intense. Vocalist Courtney ďCJĒ Alderson spews out the impassioned vocals like there was no tomorrow and even went over the barricade so the crowd could sing along. Mike Dunlap is an outstanding drummer, who would easily feel at home in a band like Slayer or In Flames. Jeff Santo delivers a mighty low end on bass while guitarist Logan Lambert and Mike Risinger grind out a thrilling wall of sound. Songs performed included Candice, Man or Animal?, Vile, and My Gun, Your Bullets. A staggering set and yet there was still several bands left to play. Although we missed the later acts, other top Facedown artists who appeared at the fest that night included Falling Cycle, The Deal and a special reunion set from Overcome. Be sure to support all the Facedown bands as this label presents the very best in hardcore and metal!
It was the record release party for the Bayside/Name Taken Split EP from Dying Wish Records, and much to the surprise of both the bands and venue, the Chain Reaction was sold out. We arrived just in time to catch the end of the Bayside set and these New Yorkers really know how to rock out in a live setting. They have quite a few releases available and there were a good number of people in the audience who were familiar with their music. Dumbstruck also played an impressive set, improving greatly since I saw them open for Finch at The Roxy. With good songs and a fun atmosphere, Dumbstruck is well on their way to making a name for themselves on the local scene.
The night belonged to Name Taken, who seemed genuinely surprised that so many people turned out to see them. In addition to the CD release, it was also vocalist/bassist Chad Atkinsonís birthday so there were two reasons for the band and fans to celebrate. The first time I saw Name Taken was at last yearís Warped Tour in LA, and theyíve come a long way in such a short time. The buzz on these guys is big, and judging by the live show, itís clear to see why. Atkinson has a good deal of presence and writes lyrics that many in the crowd could relate to. In addition, the songs are memorable and all the members play with equal amounts of enthusiasm and skill. Tunes from the Spilt EP were performed as well as The Safety Of Routine, a stand-out track from their previous album The Silent Game. Fans of bands such as New Found Glory and The Starting Line should really check out what Name Taken has to offer. Get yourself on the NT bandwagon now, because these guys are gonna break out huge!
It was a hardcore and metal night at The Whisky, with three outstanding bands from the East Coast sharing the bill. First up was Unearth from eastern Massachussets who filled the room with their killer brand of hardcore terror. Playing tunes from their current EP Endless as well as older songs, the packed Whisky really got into their set, showing their appreciating by starting a wild mosh pit. Highlight of the set included Fuel The Fire, Only The People, and One Step Away.
Next up was the Shai Hulud, a band whose power and sense of urgency has not dimensioned with the passing of time. With a new CD about to come out on Revelation Records and a backlog of fantastic tunes, Shai Hulud remain one of the very best bands the genre has to offer. In a live setting, these guys shred in a major way, filling the room with an ultra-potent energy and passionate lyrics. At this point in their career, itís amazing these guys arenít as well known as a band like Hatebreed, but itís only a matter of time before the Shai guys invade bigger venues. Watch for the new Shai Hulud release, entitled That Within Blood Ill Tempered, out May 20th! And be sure to catch them the next time they show up in your town. Their live show is highly recommended!
Headlining the night was Shadows Fall, and by the time these guys came on you couldnít even move at The Whisky. Vocalist Brian Fair and the band kicked it into high gear, playing songs from their two albums Of One Blood and The Art Of Balance. Fair is an intensive front man screaming out the dynamic lyrics while hurling his dreadlocked hair and the microphone all over the stage. The band is tighter than ever, giving onto to the audience a wall of sound with the force of a sawed-off shotgun. Touring the world with bands as diverse as In Flames, Glassjaw and Kittie has gained Shadows Fall a ton of fans, so there was no surprise that the Whisky was sold out. Songs performed included Destroyer Of Senses, Stepping Outside The Circle and the mighty Idle Hands. With their brutal mix of hardcore and death metal, Shadows Fall present the best of both musical worlds and could appeal to all fans of extreme, yet thoughtful music. Be sure to show up at Ozzfest early and catch Shadows Fallís set on the side stage. A staggering performance from yet another awesome Massachusetts-based band! The future looks great for Shadows Fall Ė and ditto for Shai Hulud and Unearth! All these guys should think about touring together againÖ
Deicide were in town to spread their rampant evil amongst the masses and brought a horde of excellent support bands with them. For one night, the House Of Blues in West Hollywood was to be possessed by the extreme forces of music. Five bands in all and this was guaranteed to be a hellish night of fiendish, metallic mayhem.
First up was Vehemence from Arizona, who combine the most ferocious of Death Metal with chilling keyboard work. Managing to sound a lot different than anyone else on the bill, Vehemence tore through a set of evil-ass tunes, including The Last Fantasy Of Christ, Kill For God, and She Never Noticed Me. The super graphic lyrics were delivered with a fiendish intensity. For such a young band, the various musicians are very professional and imaginative, setting them way apart from other undistinguished bands who overcrowd the genre. No wonder Metal Blade signed these guys up on the doted line! Iíve seen Vehemence at both the Milwaukee Metalfest and the Metal Blade 20th Anniversary Show, and the band never fails to present a compelling show. Be sure to check out their brilliantly disturbing And God Was Created release, in stores everywhere.
Whenever a band signed to Osmose Productions shows up in town, expect a grinding assault to the senses. And Revenge from Australia delivered such an attack, playing a monstrous brand of demonic blackened death that just about obliterated the metal masses at the House Of Blues early on. This is metal to start the next world war with, and a good size mosh pit enveloped the dance floor. Even though Revenge is a three-piece band, the noise they spewed forth was unearthly and vicious, sounding like an entire army of pissed off musicians instead of just a trio. The band performed songs from their killer Triumph Genocide Antichrist release and had special guest drummer Vermin from Axis Of Advance filling in on drums. A fantastic set that was definitely not for the weak of heart! If Revenge ever show up to spread their hate filled gospel, be sure to check them out and prepare to have your fucking face ripped off! Easily the most intense live set Iíve seen by a metal band in months!
From the land of kangaroos to the continent of Europe Ė and it was now the time for Behemoth of Poland to break out onto the stage. On their very first tour here in the States, Behemoth won over the crowd with their fiery brand of black and death metal. Poland has the most brutal bands on the planet, and Behemoth is no exception. Playing tunes from their latest Olympic releases Here And Beyond and Thelema 6, the bandís live show was solid and filled with a violent energy. Highlights from the set included Christians To The Lions, No Sympathy For The Fools, and From The Pagan Vastlands. A mighty performance from a band we all hope to see a lot more of here on our American shores. A big hailz goes out to Behemoth and all the Polish metalheads!
Next up was the very great Amon Amarth from Sweden! Their performance at the Milwaukee Metalfest a few years ago was the highlight of the whole weekend, and they finally made their way back into the States. Amon Amarth were a support act for Deicide on a few European tours, and the lethal combination was now at the House Of Blues. Vocalist Johan Hegg came on the stage shirtless and sang many of the songs with beer in hand, in true Viking spirit. The band is tight and let the metal flow from their veins and into the crowded HOB auditorium. Their latest Metal Blade album is entitled Amon Amarth Versus The World, and judging by their tremendous live presentation, it looks like the Vikings were winning big time! The set list covered all of their releases, with the mosh pit going into overdrive when favorite songs were unleashed. The music of Amon Amarth is inspiring and makes you want to take on an entire world! Next time these Swedes show up to challenge the States, expect it to be a headlining show!
And then there was Deicide, who would deliver the entire House Of Blues to the devil during their set. And of course the place went to hell during Glen and Companyís set. In conclusion, an astounding night of demonic metal from some of the very best this genre has to offer!
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EXTREME THING/SKA SUMMIT 2003: Reviews with Neville Staple of The Specials, Buck-O-Nine, Mustard Plug, RX Bandits,The Return, The Know How, Dr. Octopus, and more...
THE VANS WARPED TOUR 2003: From the Pomona Fairgrounds! Reviews with The Unseen, Vaux, Slick Shoes, Authority Zero, Letter Kills, Poison The Well, Avenged Sevenfold, Arkham, S.T.U.N., FL, and Thrice...