Gorilla Music’s Spring Fest


373521_462073830516478_583176675_nGorilla Music Presents: Spring Fest

The Scenic Route, Ahkult, Drowning in Amnesty, All’s Well, Dark Allie, Audience of Rain, Syringe, Fractured Past, Habit, Atomic Grave, Advance on Thermopylae, JAG

March 23rd 2013

The Outpost – Kent, OH

Gorilla Music’s Spring Fest roared into the Outpost Concert Club at on Saturday and provided music fans with a full day of music on two stages. While a show like this has bands that aren’t for everyone, every band found their place and performed for a good sized group of people. Many different genres were represented though hard rock and metal definitely carried the most weight. Overall, I think it was a successful and fun show for everyone involved and I hope  there is another in the future.

The Scenic Route started off the fest with an oddball mix of Pop Diva vocals, R&B type grooves and hard rocking music. I couldn’t helpIMG_20130323_165947_477 but think that they looked like a group that may have been spawned in a Boys and Girls Club, but they’re so good I want to give money to the after-school program they’re attending. They managed to elicit an emotional response from me with their tune “Into the Sun” and certainly have a future that’s bound to take them there.

 

Ashkult did a complete 180 degree turn and provided the audience with some good old death/thrash metal.

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Drowning in Amnesty returned to the mellower sound of The Scenic Route but with a more heavy metal approach. Singer Eliza Chavez has a full voice that makes me grateful Adele has made it cool for females to use their whole range instead of just the upper register. And while drummers don’t usually stick out, Patrick Jolly played enough unique rhythms and rim shots to catch my attention and proved himself an actual asset to the band (quite a feat for a drummer). Everyone else in the group was good but if I went on about them in depth I’d have a 1000+ word post and nobody would hear about any other bands.

 

All’s Well treated us to some spacey, low-fi blues rock.

Dark Allie proved to be the most entertaining band of the evening despite missing the time change. No, not the change to Daylight

This is NOT Spinal Tap

This is NOT Spinal Tap

Savings Time last week but the time change from 1986 to modern times. I hope they don’t take that too hard, they were a great band even had me feeling slightly nostalgic for a time I’m too young to remember.

 

 

 

Audinece of Rain brought us into the second half of the show that was devoted to a more solid collection of heavy bands than the cocktail of groups to populate the first half.

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Syringe performed a set with slightly less theatrics and more focus on the music. Though not without the expected antics and spectacle.

 

 

 

 

Fractured Past played a great set featuring an updated version of The Doors’ “People are Strange” and ending with Metallica’s “One.” It

IMG_20130323_211040_678was also littered with some great prog-metal from a solid band fronted by a Frank Zappa lookalike.

 

 

 

 

IMG_20130323_213132_221Habit took me back to the ’90’s with their metal. I can’t even put my finger on what gives their music that feel, but it’s there. Through the single not guitar lines and bass that weaved in and out of the vocals and drums I caught a bit of a Life of Agony feel.

 

 

 

 

Atomic Grave and Advance on Thermopylae both played some blistering sets of thrash metal. AG of the ’80’s Slayer style and AoT with the modern NWOAHM persuasion.

Atomic Grave

Atomic Grave

After a solid seven hours of bands even a music lover like me can get a little tired so I’ll have to extend my apologies to JAG. I’m sure they played a great set but I was exhausted from all the other great sets. That’s the biggest problem with being the headliner.

Special thanks to Ashkult, Fractured Past and Habit. All of whom provided free CD’s for everyone that are sure to keep us humming their tunes until the next time we see them.

 

I’m celebrating my first year of doing this blog and I’d like to thank all of the bands and reader that have enjoyed my writing over the past 365 days! Cheers to many more years!

Jonathan Hape “PLACES”


Jonathan Hape “PLACES”371590607-1

(October 2012)

I became aware of Columbus’ Jonathan Hape at Goggles Optional IV when I saw that odd superimposed face pop up on the screen to advertise his show on March 9th. It held my interest for a few minutes, but not long enough for me to give it much thought. Then a few weeks ago he invited me out to review the show and advertised his music as “live looping, ambient sounds, and dark pop sounds.” That was enough to send me to his bandcamp site and explore a little more.

While many bands shy away from labels or have trouble categorizing themselves, Hape’s description summarizes his sound better than I could. Odd, semi-industrial noises mix with drum machine rhythms in the background to provide a foundation for the Bauhaus-esq guitar and ambient David Bowie type vocals. All of this mixes together to form a delightful experimental indie pop sound. While I don’t usually consider myself a fan of any type of music that could be described as “indie,” Hape has enough brooding darkness to bring out the Cure fan in me.

While it can get a little repetitious, the song “Height Hit Heads” features great middle eight back beats that keep the sound fresh. “Buttons” is a song that could have been written in the early sixties and comes to life with Hape’s electronic arrangement. “Beyond! Henceforth!” is an interestingly noisy video-game-rock style interlude that has me bouncing in my chair. My favorite track, “In Different Shapes,” starts out with the best bass line of the album that leads the song to a great prog rock melody.

Though his profile on bandcamp lists seven solo releases there is no sense that he’s rushed the output or hurried his songwriting to get product out. The songs are well crafted and seem to be more focused on quality than quantity. I would love to hear more from him but my internet connection is being really slow and I’m going to have to wait a few days to try and listen to his new album “Spinner.”

While I will probably always prefer a live band to an electronic one, I think Jonathan Hape is at the forefront of what can be done by one man and his computer.

301201_10151131577706248_1024955256_nHere’s a short email interview with Jonathan:

Almost Famous: Do you have a live backing band?

Jonathan Hape: I have another project called Room & Board which is totally different material. Check it out here: [roomandboard.bandcamp.com] or [facebook.com/roomandboardmusic] 

I play strictly solo when I play my solo material, though I have had backing bands in the past and have  been joined by a lot of talented friends.

AF: How do you perform?

JH: I generally use live loops of drums, guitar, octave bass, and vocals. Some shows are more eerie; some are more fun. It all depends on the environment I play in.

 

AF:What can we expect from a live Jonathan Hape show?

JH: You can expect a handful of songs from albums I’ve been making over the past decade, though mostly PLACES and an unreleased album called Color Wounds. I generally have some moments of chaos and wall of sound; walls which I hide behind for a little while.

 

AF: Were you in other bands before you went solo?

JH: Room & Board is the most recent, though I have been doing solo material for a long time. I also played in the bands Marksjet, Blood on my Neck, Dearhead, and The Forgotten Sons.

Best of luck to Jonathan as he continues his tour and music career.

To visit his facebook page click [here]

Conundrum of the Critic


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I have found myself embroiled in a bit of a feud with a few members of the local music community, especially two members of Dream the Hero. What started as a friendly, respectful critique has descended to name calling and taunts on the internet.

Such is my conundrum…

It stands to reason that some people would not like what I have to say on this page and I understand and respect that. For the first week after my “Taste the Scene: Forgive Charlie Sheen” post I was content to let these folks do their ranting and complaining with impunity. I understand that I hurt their feeling and they needed to vent a little bit. But I feel a line has been crossed when nearly a month afterward I’m still finding salacious comments on the facebook pages of mutual friends.

I’m also torn as to whether or not I should respond. On the one hand I don’t want to sink to the level of childish name calling and would rather handle this situation in a mature manner. But then again I don’t want to be thought of as weak or a coward. I want to defend my actions. And it seems like a lot of fun.

 

You know which way I’m going to go right? I wouldn’t have had you read all of this for nothing.

 

The biggest complaint among my detractors is that I’m talking shit” about their bands. My understanding of the term means that I was saying negative things about them behind their backs. While it is true that I did say negative things about the band it was never my intention that they shouldn’t read it. If I hadn’t wanted my views known I would never have posted them or promoted them. And if I didn’t want the guys in Dream the Hero to read my views I certainly wouldn’t have posted them in a blog that their guitarist has been a huge supporter of since its inception.

I’m not sure if they intended for me to find their scathing remarks so I wont deliberate whether or not they were “talking shit.”

I also find it interesting that a friend who has recently switched bands had no problem with my writing when I reviewed his previous band (which I liked) but is now extremely pissed off at me because I reviewed his current band (which I don’t like). I’ve tried to maintain a principal of honesty and integrity. I never meant to lose friends, but I guess that’s par for the course.

I suppose I should have expected some sort of fallout like this, but I thought everyone in the scene was mature enough to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, nobody seemed to mind what I wrote about them in the Knees Freeze” post.

Really, I was trying to be nice. It may not appear that way if you just read the single paragraph about Dream the Hero. I enjoyed 2/3 of the bands I saw that night and had nothing bad to say about them. It’s odd that only the 1/3 that got a bad review are angry. And at least I wasn’t as mean to any of you as I was to these guys.

Remember that when you step on a stage you become a public figure. You’re not only allowing me to write this blog but are encouraging me to. Why would you do what you’re doing if you didn’t want the attention? The only difference between someone like me and Roger Ebert is that I’m working on a much smaller scale. I can’t help but feel that you’re not mad that I don’t like your band but angry that I didn’t lie and say you were the greatest thing since yoga pants.

And I never meant for this blog to be taken so personally. I’m not insulting anybody’s character or personality. I’m critiquing your public performance. If I say:

 

“While the music driving Dream the Hero is interesting. The front man has many attributes of a 12-year-old girl. Not only does he sing in a high-pitched, whiny voice but all of the lyrics seem to be about heartbreak. In one song he cries ‘I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.’ I can’t help wondering if she also took his testicles. The best thing for Dream the Hero would be haircuts and testosterone shots.”

 

it’s not because I don’t like you as a person, it’s because I don’t like your band.

And what are you getting mad a me for. It’s not my fault your band sucks.

 

I never thought I would have to write a post like this. I thought that what I’d said in “About” would be enough. I guess some people are just too self-involved to see anything on these pages that don’t pertain directly to them.

I would like to come to an amicable end to this feud. It’s childish, immature and in the long run probably isn’t good for anyone. If we make it a few weeks without me seeing any more negative posts on facebook regarding my appearance, smell or talent level I’ll consider it ended and Dream the Hero will never again appear in the pages of this blog. However,I don’t mind continuing it. I did get a lot of views for “Taste the Scene: Forgive Charlie Sheen” and I get hard up for material some time. We could probably keep this up for a few more months at least.

The ball is in your court.

 

The Last of the Wildmen


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I was a little apprehensive when I received a comment from Ben Taylor, the person representing Fremont, OH’s Last of the Wildmen, asking me to review a show. With all the bad press I’ve been receiving for airing my views lately I wasn’t sure If I was the man for the job. Though I love checking out new music and hearing new artists I worry that I’ll end up turning more people off to the stuff I want to promote.

Not to worry, I’m working that day so I won’t be able to attend.

I did; however, talk Mr. Taylor into sending me a few tracks from the upcoming EP “Ship Set Sail” and to my relief, I enjoyed them. So I’ll bust out a few paragraphs telling you about them and hopefully it’ll entice you enough to check them out for yourself at lastofthewildmen.com

The Last of the Wildmen bill themselves as a folk-rock band, which was the main cause for my trepidation. Sure, I like Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, but I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan of folk music. Folk music makes me think of the crap that high schoolers play at open mics: Neil Young covers and songs to boyfriends. Thankfully the wildmen mix in a healthy dose of modern pop rock which makes it not just bearable, but delightful.

“Running Wild” is a catchy mellow rock tune with plenty of clean guitar work that evokes Foo Fighters and Weezer. The lead riff is so catchy that it makes you want to sing along. “Earthquake” is a bit darker and fuzzed out and features a full fledged scream that any metal band would be proud to have but still retains the catchy hooks and simple composition that proves at heart the Wildmen are just a folk band with a few layers added. “Morning Light” starts with a multi-layered vocal intro that makes me think it could be a traditional ballad Alan Lomax recorded a hundred years ago. The banjo and harmonies help retain the feel of a folk tune but the electric guitars do a brilliant job of bringing out hidden melodies and making the song contemporary.

Aside from the three songs I also found a web series featuring the band called “en Route”. It was an interesting way to get to know the boys and while I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of spoiling some of the drama, I will say that it’s worth checking out. The theme song “Soul Searching,” has been stuck in my head for most of the week. The series recently wrapped up its first season and also includes behind the scenes views of the making of some of the bands videos, which are also quite enjoyable.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Last Of The Wildmen when they appear with Cute Boots and Cold Front at the Buzzbin Art & Music Shop on March 5th. Admission is free and there will be great deals on PBR in addition to the awesome live music.

THIS JUST IN:
Here is a short email interview with answers from guitarist/vocalist Jimmie Getty.

Almost Famous: How did you all meet?

Jimmie Getty: Four of us had been in bands in Northwest Ohio for the past eight years. We would get together off and on and write/hang out, but we were always more committed to other projects. Phil moved up here from Kentucky a little over a year ago, and we became fast friends. It made sense that we should all play together.

AF: Where did the name “Last of the Wildmen” come from?

JG: We were initially called “Wildmen”. The five of us enjoy hiking, camping, and spending time in more natural, remote locations. There’s a band in Italy called “Wildmen”, and they were convinced that we had stolen their one-word name. We decided to adapt ours and make it a little more specific. So far it’s been working! It isn’t necessarily intended to refer directly to us. We’re developing a story that involves the guy on our album cover. He has intrigued us, and we feel like he needs to be brought to life a little more. He may be the last of the wildmen.

AF: What makes a Wildman?

JG: Wildparents.

AF: What makes you guys Wildmen?

JG: We’ve always felt more inclined to take the less “comfortable” route. We’d rather be on an adventure and sacrifice some luxuries than sit at home and enjoy cable television.

AF: Why do you all have beards except for Phil?Is he the only one with a razor?

JG: Phil has not been faithful in saying his nightly prayers to the beard gods. We all have razors, they’re just buried in dust and cobwebs.

AF: Who writes the songs?

JG: All 5 of us are writers. Matt, Kyle, and I wrote “Open Future”, but Sam and Phil have both written on our upcoming release.

AF: Is this your first time in Canton?

JG: As a band? Yes!

AF: What made you want to play music?

JG: Music is the best way that we’ve found to travel on a regular basis. It’s been an escape from every day life, as well as a literal escape from our little hometown. We all enjoy writing, and playing songs for people as well. It’s a cool way to connect with other human beings.

AF: I really enjoyed your web series “En Route,” whose idea was it? When will we be seeing more?

JG: Thanks for checking out the web series! It was mostly Phil’s idea to start documenting and sharing the “process” of us pursuing music. We are currently editing together footage for a new en Route episode. Our goal is to release one every couple of weeks or so.

AF: What kind of jobs do you guys have?

JG: I work at a coffee shop/art gallery a few days a week, Kyle works at Big Lots. Sam works for a custom trailer building company. We’ve always tried to keep our work schedules simple so we can spend more time working on music, but it gets tricky with 5 people.

AF: You had some experience with a major record label with a previous band. Was that a positive experience?

JG: Looking back on the experience with a major record label, it’s much easier to see the positives now. At the time, it was incredibly frustrating. We had met some great people in the industry, made what we believed was the best album we could make, and then we sat around and waited for permission to do….just about anything. It’s reinforced to us, the importance of working hard for yourself. If other people want to contribute down the road, that’s great, but record labels are no longer necessary for bands to get themselves off the ground.

AF:  What does The future hold for Last of the Wildmen?

JG: I have no idea what the future holds for this band. I think we’re all having so much fun playing music together that we enjoy soaking up the present. Our goal is to make a career out of this band, and to go about it in a manner that is responsible and business savvy, but the goal at the end of the day is simple: make music and go play it for people.

Best of luck to Jimmy and the rest of the Wildmen!