Taste the Scene Knees Freeze

Taste the Scene Knees Freeze
Way Past Curfew, The Knickers, Dream the Hero, Call of the Fallen, Exostra, Almost All In Good Fun, Syringe
November 10th, 2012 The Vortex Akron, OH
Authors Note: I’m a member of the Syringe live band; portions of this blog may be biased.

Saturday found me returning to the Vortex for a wonderful night of music and fun. I felt a little dumb that Patrick (Syringe – vocals, guitar) had to tell me the venue actually was a strip club at one time. Upon reflecting that there are several other strip clubs in the area, a porno store attached to it, a stripper pole in the main bar and a shower in the band room I feel really stupid for not realizing this sooner. But give me a break, I’m a naive guy.
For more reflections on the atmosphere and layout of The Vortex check out my entry 24 March 2012
The first band to take the stage was Way Past Curfew, a group of high schoolers who may have actually be out too late. They played a good show, but I couldn’t help thinking of them as ‘high school rock.’ It was stuff that was a little bit edgy but not so edgy that you’re parents would kick you of the basement for playing it. I guess the best way to describe their sound would be to imagine Nickelback being played by people with the maturity of teenagers. I’m just kidding, they didn’t sound that bad. It saddens me that ‘Enter Sandman’ now falls in this category. I loved Metallica and it’s a shame that they now are so tame that high school kids can play their tunes.
The Knickers is a band I saw at my last live show (Disgraced 4/20 Fest at Peabody’s) but personal troubles prevented me from reviewing that concert. I really can’t say much about the Knickers that I haven’t already said about Way Past Curfew. On the outside they seem about the same and the members could be interchangeable. But I hear a lot more potential in the Knickers. Aside from an extremely silly name they are a solid band and very competent musicians. I look forward to hearing them as they develop their own sound and move away from the NWOAHM genre. As of now they sound too much like Trivium, BFMV and AX7 for my taste.
I really hate having to write about Dream the Hero. I also saw them at the 420 Fest and though they seem like great guys, really good musicians and great performers, I just don’t care for the style of music they play. If you’re into screamo (I think that’s what it’s called) look no further, this is the local band for you. Unfortunately they’re not the for me. I thank them for having my band play and I’d like to let them know that I wish them luck and I’ll continue to support them, but this is all the support I can give.
I should also inform you that this is the first show review that I’ve researched sober. I’m not sure if that’s why I started to get really bored by the time Call of the Fallen started playing or if there was some other reason (we were supposed to play second but got bumped due to forgotten equipment, my girlfriend was with me, I hadn’t eaten much that day, I had too many/few energy drinks) that everything started sounding exactly the same. I feel bad about this because it wasn’t the bands fault (though I am getting really sick of hearing covers of “Your Betrayal”) and after a smoke break I returned and found them to be one of my favorite bands of the night. They were a heavier and more intense than the previous bands. I’d definitely like to see more of them in the future.
Exostra is getting better by leaps and bounds. I used to think of them as just a sort of loud/noisy techno group, then at the 420 Fest they unveiled a new “video game metal” sound that I was really digging, but they just blew me away at this show. They’ve finally found a live drummer which makes them seem more like a ‘real’ band than they ever have before. Not only that, but I noticed more riffs and melodies in their songs. Fritz was using his own voice for most of the set, which was much better than the Kaoss pad he previously utilized and it was a much better musical experience.
Oh, and they had a GWAR type stage show with Mitt Romney being slaughtered, squirt guns filled with fake blood and about a half dozen pies thrown. Fuck the music, they could have played Michael Bolton covers on ukuleles and with that stage show I’d have loved it.
Almost All In Good Fun were the odd men out for the night. Whereas every other band was metal (or could at least have ‘-core’ added to their genre) these guys were playing some strange mixture of garage/jam/punk/country alternative that was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. It was hippy music with a redneck attitude, country-punk that sounded nothing like Social Distortion or the Most Beautiful Losers. I was very amused and impressed and even found myself unable to control the urge to knee slap at a few junctures.
Then Syringe took the stage proving that it is always best to save the worst for last. I was very grateful to everyone that stuck around to watch us play. I look forward to seeing you all in the future.
Remember that I’m only one person. Don’t let my thought/biases/ideas affect what you do with your band. Follow your dreams and others will follow you.


Thoughts on the Digital Music Revolution

I’ve always been behind on technological trends. I got a Nintendo about the time everyone else was getting a Sega Genesis and a Sega when everyone else was getting a PlayStation. I only bought this laptop a few years ago, which makes my late coming to the Digital Music Revolution nothing of a surprise. But as I’m now listening to tunes I’d forgotten were even in my music collection and jamming more than I have in years I’m wondering why it took me so long.

By far the best advantage to having an MP3 player instead of a CD player is the lack of clutter. A few months ago I had 2 shelves on my bookshelf dedicated to only part of my CD collection. Not only was this cumbersome when moving but also cumbersome when looking for the proper song to play. I’ve learned that clutter is not only an eyesore; it also hinders the enjoyment of what you have. Being able to actually find possessions greatly increases the pleasure you get out of owning them.

My main reason behind buying the MP3 player is that at my new job we’re allowed to listen to music. Anyone who’s worked in a factory knows that an eight-hour shift goes by a lot quicker with a little distraction. Also, I can’t complain about the fact that I’ve gotten over 100 bucks out of the discs I’ve sold at the local music shop. Of course, I paid several thousand for the damn things, but it’s nice to be able to get something out of them now that I don’t have a use for them.

It’s not like upgrading from vinyl to CD or 8-track to cassette. I don’t have to buy anything new, I can just download. It’s also pretty crazy how well my computer reads some of the discs I had. There are a few that were really scratched up and ragged. Over the several moves that some have been through there were quite a few scratches, broken cases and even some water damage. My copy of Tool’s Ӕnima even had what looked like mustard stain on it. My trusty Acer still ripped every song on the album.

There are downsides to my smaller CD collection. I don’t have the best MP3 player money can buy. I can’t just download all my music in there and hit shuffle. I program several hours at a time and let it all play through but this is a lot easier than dragging a CD player and a dozen discs to work everyday. I’ll upgrade soon. I’m also going to miss the artwork that accompanies physical albums but for a justification of why I’m not too saddened by this see my discussion of clutter above. Plus all my music has a pause between songs that didn’t exist on the CD. I’m guessing this is just something that I’m doing wrong when downloading but it’s still a pain. I really thought my Zappa album was skipping the other day at work. There are some odd track changes on that one.

I can’t help wondering what the future holds. This will change the way I buy and discover new music. I noticed that I can get downloads from Amazon.com a little bit cheaper than physical CDs. It’s also nice to know I’ll be able to own Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm for only 99 cents without having to buy the entire Crash Test Dummies album that I’ll probably never listen to. Plus there’s torrent websites. The main advantage though is that I won’t have to find a place to put them or have to take them with me when I move. I’m still not sure how I’ll discover new music. I am enjoying Reverbnation.com but I guess the easiest way will still be the radio and word of mouth. Nothing really changes there, but I can’t wait until you see bands handing free download codes instead of CD’s at shows.

The biggest bummer is how disposable music has become. It feels like a big deal to throw away a CD but deleting a file doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. I guess this is just where music is heading now. Not only is the format we listen to it and buy it on more disposable, but the actual product is also more disposable. Could you imagine anyone carrying around a copy of E.T. by Katy Perry in 30 years? Not to say I don’t love that song, but I really don’t think it has much staying power. There isn’t music coming out today with the same power or influence as Bob Dylan or The Beatles or Metallica or Nirvana. We’re inundated by a revolving door of one-hit-wonder hip-hop artists. I mean, who the hell is going to be listening to Wiz Kalifa, LMFAO or Nicki Minaj in 20 years? I won’t be. I didn’t listen to them last year. But I’ll still be jamming to Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, just like I have been for the past two decades.

So here’s hoping that something good comes out in 2013 because even though the industry is changing and the way we listen is changing, we shouldn’t change our standards.