Almost All In Good Fun, Deceit, Flames Burn Black, Dream the Hero, The Knickers, Lost Sylence
Feb. 16, 2013
Chuck’s Steakhouse – Akron, OH
This was my first visit to Chuck’s Steakhouse and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The biggest expectation in my mind was the opening scene of the 2001 cult classic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” where the transsexual performs “Tear Me Down” in the middle of a Bilgewater Inn seafood restaurant. Chuck’s is a little more used to live music and did have a proper stage and an area cleared out in front of it. But due to bad weather we arrived at with only enough time to catch the last two songs of Almost All in Good Fun’s set. We walked in as they were tearing through a rocking cover of Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.” They then closed their performance with an experimental tune featuring a rocking bass line and minimalist tribal beat. I was sorry to only catch the last seven minutes of their show but I am pumped to catch them Saturday at Goggles Optional IV at the Auricle in Canton.
Deceit made a return to the stage (well, they did that last week, but I didn’t catch that show) and are still as heavy and intense as ever. The drumming of Josh Fields seems to propel them to a more ferocious territory than I remember, or perhaps that’s bassist Tyler Hill’s guttural backup vocals. They also turned pop into metal with Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” I’m happy to see Deceit’s return and while I enjoyed the old songs they played I’m eager to hear what new stuff they come up with.
I wasn’t expecting much from Flames Burn Black, which may explain why I was so blown away by them. Most bands with chick singers rely on the front-woman gimmick too much to be taken seriously or fall into a routine of laziness and mediocrity, thinking that a cheap gimmick makes them special. From their first song (an updated version of Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health”) it was apparent that Flames wasn’t one of these bands. I wasn’t expecting any other group to be as heavy as Deceit but Flames managed to tip the scales more and stress out the stage a bit more. While their originals put me in mind of Otep, not just because of the female roaring but also for the oddly dissonant guitar lines and thumping bass lines. The covers turned into great crowd pleasers. I loved their versions of “Hellyeah” and “Bloodlust.” It’s even more surprising that a female voice was able to carry these songs.
During the beginning of Flames Burn Blacks set I had to visit the Steakhouse’s facilities and I can now tell you that Chuck’s get’s the award for “Worst Venue Bathroom for a person with a genetic predisposition to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Northeast Ohio.” I’ve come to expect that concert hall bathrooms wont have doors on the stalls, but the crapper being before the urinal instead of at the back was nearly too much. And why do places always put so much ice in the urinals? Why not just fix the plumbing?
Dream the Hero is the same band they were the last time I saw them in November. I was hoping that the great time I was having up to this point would put me in a mood to enjoy them more, but I’m still not digging their sound. They’re talented musicians, great performers and from what I can tell – really nice guys. Sadly, I can’t bring myself to enjoy screamo. While they do an interesting cover of Skid Row’s “18 and Life” it doesn’t differ enough from the original to make me enjoy it and the row of girl in front of the stage solidifies their place as the Bon Jovi or our local scene. If you’re looking for some action they’re definitely the band to see as they’re slightly easier to stomach than New Wave Nation. With all the girls at Chuck’s on Saturday night I was glad my old lady had decided to stay home. If only I had some game Patrick would have been driving home by himself.
I noticed something odd as The Knickers were setting up in that the entire area in front of the stage cleared out. Chuck’s has an interesting architectural design in that it is essentially two rooms. While they are connected by many windows and doors, the bar and venue appear at once to be totally connected and worlds apart. The Knickers had the best sound check in that everyone was in the bar getting a beer while they were setting up.
That changed quickly when they started to play. This marks the third time I’ve seen the Knickers in the past year and they keep getting better. The songs and musicianship have always been top notch, but now they’re really starting to grow as performers and they’re getting comfortable on the stage. It’s refreshing to see thrash metal being played by youngsters even if I’m slightly jealous of their ability. A casual listen informs you that they didn’t learn to play from “Guitar Hero.” They may still be in their teens but they rock just as hard as any other band of the night. And the only thing missing from their cover of “Ace of Spades” is a few Cocoa Puffs glued to singer/guitarist Mike Legan’s face.
Due to the snow still falling outside we left after three songs of Lost Sylence. I was hoping to catch their whole set but the roads were looking pretty bad. Their sound was brutal and crushing but with the exception of Matt Howard’s clean backup vocals the music sounded very formulaic and prepackaged. We’ve all heard heavy metal bands like Lamb of God and Hatebreed before, the trick to being noticed is to develop a unique sound. Maybe I just didn’t hear enough of them and I’ll be able to get a better grasp after seeing a full set. As we made it to the freeway and saw how cleared it was I was wondering if the singer who was hopping all over the place and running around the venue ever slipped and fell on his face. That would have been a sight to see.
Next week will see me performing with Syringe at Goggle Optional IV. Tickets are still available.