Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 5 2008 Emperors of japan, Necronauts, and Former Friends of american kids @ the Monte Vista

Concert review, Emperors of japan, necronauts and former friends of American kids.
7/5/08 @ the Monte Vista, Flagstaff AZ

As we walked into the Monte Vista hotel and lounge we noticed that the first band had already taken the stage; Former friends of American kids. Nothing caught my eye really other than the bass player was wearing a graduation robe and cap for no particular reason, there was no definite gimmick with this band, and the lack of energy on stage and involvement with the audience, they just didn’t seem too into it. The entire band consisted of a drummer, the guitarist (that was also lead vocals) and the bass player. I’m not sure what was with the back-up singer, she just stood there and hummed a couple of lines per song. Since we’re on the topic of songs, I’ll get into their music. It had a very “chill” vibe which was appropriate for the small setting and the lighting they had on stage with shades of blues and greens also fit their sound. After listening to a couple of their songs it felt tired and boring. Many of the guitar riffs sounded alike and were very simple and most of their songs sounded like something you would here in the background of a movie, or the tracks you would hear at the end of an album…for the ENTIRE set. Most of their songs also sounded the same from what we could hear, there was a lot of feedback from their instruments and the entire thing sounded “underwater”. They could be considered ‘ambient rock’ and if that’s what they were going for, they met expectations but did not exceed them which in turn left us with the feeling of being let down. The one thing that really got me in the end was the last song, there were multiple build-ups with no resolution what-so-ever. Most would see this as a unique move (if done right) but it wasn’t this time and may have caused an uncomfortable dissonance for the listener. On top of that the last song dragged out way too long as if they were trying to lull the audience to sleep before the next band. Over all this band is nothing too special and I think they can do more.
Former Friends of American Kids gets a 4/10

(The Necronauts)
Ah, the second band, there’s nothing negative I can think to say about this band. They were amazing. Set up and sound check went by pretty quickly. While they were still setting up the drummer was nice enough to grace us with a drum solo to keep us entertained. Before they even started their set they said a few words and even threw around the names of a couple of other bands, showing them support as well. Pretty awesome. They got right into their music without hesitation and the audience exploded with the energy they put off. Their sound was like funky punk with their own heavier slant. I could even go to say that they could be compared to a combination of the Chili Peppers and sublime with a dash of punk. They themselves called it ‘Indie Space Rock’, which pretty much sums it up. They definitely have their own style that is nothing less of rockin’. Everything from the guitar to the vocals, the drums and bass, was awesome and next to perfect. The songs were short, sweet and to the point. And they seemed to have as much fun performing as the audience did watching them. As my buddy put it, “this band has their shit together!” and I couldn’t agree more. The show was free that night, but we agreed that we would definitely pay to see them again, given the chance. The last sond they played was an instrumental piece that was darker and heavier than the rest of the set, a perfect finale full of rockin’ guitar solos, smashin’ drums, and sick bass. Unfortunately the set has to end sometime. The only thing I have to say is that I would like to see them use more of those super-awesome last song skills in future work and they just rock. They come at ya’ with more energy than you know what to do with and with a variety of sounds that will leave you wanting more.

The Necronauts get a: 8/10

(Emperors of Japan)
So here came the ‘stars of the show’. Set up took way too long, as if they expected the audience didn’t mind waiting for them. The first song started out with a repetition of the same 4 notes twanged out on a clean guitar over and over. At first I thought that it was for sound check or maybe just a little jam before the set started…but it wasn’t, it was the song and it was horrible. Soon after the bass and drums kicked in and again I have to say it was nothing special. The guitarist was even wearing one of those pooh bear kids costumes as a hat as if it was cute or unique which it wasn’t. And again like the first band, this band was full of slow redundant riffs that most people could probably play in their sleep and the lyrics were incomprehensible and the melodies dissonant. In fact, this could be compared to the first band only louder with more feedback which was surprising considering how long they took to set up. We were very disappointed and did not stay for the entire set, but did however drop of some business cards of a local costume designer at their merch table, maybe they’ll use them and at least be something to look at instead of another generic mediocre band.

Emperors of Japan get a: 3/10

After the show, and after writing this review, it’s clear that even though Emperors of Japan were the headliners for this show, the Necronauts were definitely the stars. I recommend checking them out so you, too, can experience their awesomeness.

March 19 2008 Hemlock and Bloodline @ studio 111

So it all started after a great jam session with a couple of my band mates, sitting around enjoying a few drinks, our guitarist Sherwin asks if we’re busy on Wednesday (March 19th). Of course, we weren’t, other than band practice, it was spring break. He then went on to mention something about his friend being in a band that was comin’ to Flagstaff. Hemlock had performed here before, and they were coming to play a show here to celebrate the release of their new album; no time for sorrow. Later on in the evening I went to check out myspace to get details on the concert, when I see that a friend that had added me a couple weeks ago had already posted a bulletin about the show. Excited, I quickly sent a reply asking “see you there?” and he responded with, “of course I’m going to be there, I’m the guitarist.” I was surprised to find out that it was the same guy that Sherwin was talking about and I didn’t even know it. So Wednesday came along and after practicing our own few songs, we headed over to 111 to check out the show. It was $8 at the door. First they had an opening band, which started late and the whole show was delayed by an hour or so, they weren’t that great, so we spent most of our time standing outside, and talking about how bad another band that was there last week was, and how awesome it was going to be to see Hemlock play live, better music, better show, half the price. I didn’t catch the name of the first band that played, but we all went back inside after they were done with their set. Their music was a mess of redundant power chords with a few good riffs here and there. One of the guitarists had pretty cool stage presence and was all over the place, but that can only get you so far. In fact, he was so all over the place that he had broke his guitar strap during the first song, and didn’t have another. You’d think that someone that’s on tour with a bigger named band would come prepared, but I guess he didn’t. oh well. So the next band started to set up as we walked in, we thought that hemlock was playing next, but we were wrong, there was another opening band; Bloodline. I found out that they’re from New Mexico and was excited to hear what some of the music scene from out there sounded like. After they got all set up, they started their set. Instantly I was captivated by music and stage presence. Really hard rock but still had something melodic about it, like some chords that didn’t seem quite right but still sounded really awesome. Not so much flailing around as the last band that had gone on, but there was a lot more head banging (by the band AND audience). They totally rocked. After they were done with their set, while Hemlock was setting up, a couple of the band members went over to the merch table and were signing autographs for people. They were really cool guys. So now it was time for the main event; Hemlock! They got up there and played some of their old music and some stuff off the new album. There were so many people moshing that I had to stand in the back because I didn’t want to get injured, as much as I would love to mosh too, I was wearing heeled boots and that just wasn’t happening. I still had a pretty good view of the band and was still close enough to see all the shredding that was going on. They totally rocked the place. After Hemlock left the stage, the place pretty much cleared out except the bands and a few people that stayed around to meet them. I think that’s something that’s really cool about 111, it’s a small venue and the bands usually stick around to hang out with the fans (at least while their still buying merchandise, lol) After that, the place really did clear out, and we decided to leave cause everyone was pretty much dead after the show. We went back to my place, and played more guitar, drank a few beers, and talked about how much the show rocked and how we can’t wait to get out there and play a live show of our own. After all was said and done, I think that I liked the band Bloodline just a little bit more than Hemlock (not by much though!), they just seemed to rock a little bit harder. Both equally talented, they put on a pretty good show. I know that Hemlock will come here again soon, and I’m looking forward to it. As far as Bloodline goes though, who know, I can only hope.

Bloodline and Hemlock get a: 7/10

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