Saturday, February 27, 2010

Show Recap: We Came As Romans / Of Mice & Men / A Skylit Drive

Another sold out show at the Marquis Theater, crazy! I'm not used to so many people in this small venue, and while it makes for great energy, i'm short and can't see the band or the stage since the stage is only 2' high. times like these i think about asking Tahoe if i can sit on this shoulders, but well, that would just be awkward!

Anyway, last night was another sold out show, The Emptiness Tour featuring Alesana, supported by A Skylit Drive, The Word Alive, Of Mice & Men, and We Came As Romans. The order of the bands was really confusing to me since We Came As Romans was the opener. They had their first full-length album released last year and it was solid, one of my favorites. Of Mice & Men are releasing their first full-length in March so they don't even have (legal) music out yet, but yet they were playing after We Came As Romans . Then there's A Skylit Drive, a band that has been around for the last few years, but you could that they don't have a great following yet they played fourth. I would have had that all switched around.

Anyway, whatever, i can't change that although it did require me to leave early to get to the show since the one band, We Came As Romans , was playing first. I also got to leave early and get home before 10p since i don't really like Alesana.

The place was packed, with probably 90% of the crowd under 21 years old. Tahoe and I stayed in the fenced-off "adult" area so we could drink PBR and not deal with the little kids. We Came As Romans came on first and the crowd was totally into them. They opened with To Plant A Seed and the place went nuts. It’s always fun to feel the floor at the Marquis totally dipping due to tons of kids jumping up and down! Anyway, We Came As Romans have a great blend of screaming vocals contrasted with clean, in fact they have 2 lead singers, one is the screamer and the other does the clean. They write songs that are positive and fun to sing along with, super catchy choruses and they were in good form this night.

I think they had some of the best crowd support of the night, kids were singing the words very loudly and on To Plant A Seed the crowd kept singing the hook line “The first note that I ever sang” over and over even after the lead singer had stopped. I still can’t believe they were the opener this night.

It would have been a crowded stage with 2 singers, 2 guitars and a bass player and a drummer, but we were informed that their bass player had broken his toe so he played bass from off the stage. I have no idea why he couldn’t stand on stage but whatever, more room for the rest of the band to move around. We Came As Romans have one full-length released, which I felt was a top release from 2009 and they played To Plant A Seed, Roads That Don’t End, Broken Statues, Intentions, We Came As Romans Are The Reasons, and closed with Dreams. Tahoe said that he thought they lost steam through their set, but nonetheless he was impressed and I think he’s a fan now.

After We Came As Romans played it was Of Mice & Men’s turn. I’ve just recently starting checked these guys out, they’re a pretty new band which just released their debut full-length album a week ago. The story with Of Mice & Men is that the band was started by Austin, who was originally the lead singer with Attack Attack!, singing on their only full-length album and doing a pretty awesome job. For some reason he left the band and started Of Mice & Men, which is one of the reasons I checked them out, I enjoyed that Attack Attack! Record.

Unfortunately, before this tour started Austin had heart surgery and missed the whole tour, so the former front man from Sky Eats Plane, Jerry, was fronting Of Mice & Men. He was pretty entertaining, Tahoe and I both enjoyed his presence, he was very energetic and his voice was solid. After reading the message boards about the tour it turns out that Jerry doesn’t know the words to many of the Of Mice & Men songs, I couldn’t tell since I don’t know them either.

Anyway, they played most of the songs off their recent release. You tell this was a party band, with their A Milli intro and a cover of Lady Gaga’s Pokerface that had the whole place singing. The clean vocals were exceptionally good for a live performance; I think this band has some potential, they are currently signed to Rise Records.

The last band I went to see was A Skylit Drive out of Sacramento. They played fourth, which surprised me because they don’t have the following that some of the other bands had. They aren’t a great band, their albums are good but nothing special in my opinion. They are unique because their lead singer has a super-high voice, and he wears in-ear monitors live. But you can tell by my videos that the monitors weren’t helping him, he was terrible. In fact, the whole band was pretty bad, and the crowd had noticeably thinned out for their set. We left after their fifth song.

The other bands that played were Alesana, the headliner, and The Word Alive who played third. We were not impressed The Word Alive at all, their singer was weak. However we were impressed with their lead guitarist and his head-band, he was intense!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Show Recap: Street Dogs @ Marquis

Good o' Punk Rawk! what a night it was for punks in Denver with the mighty Street Dogs coming to town. According to lead singer, Mike McColgan, the Street Dogs were up in Fort Collins (Blasting Room) to record their 5th full-length record. They decided to play a few shows while in town and joined up with local punk band Reno Divorce and a sellout crowd at the Marquis Theater.

I personally have seen the Street Dogs a few times and didn't think they had that great of a following out here so i was expecting a small turnout, but i was wrong. I dragged my buddy Thomas to the show, he's never really been to any shows let alone punk or hardcore so that was a fun experience for both of us. We drank some PBR, and headed into the pit to get the best view of the band (since we're both under 6'). Street Dogs did not disappoint.

If you don't know the Street Dogs i'll give you a little history lesson. Back in the 90's street punk / oi punk / gutter punk was starting to get really popular lead by bands like Rancid, Swingin' Utters, One Man Army, The Business and so on. Around 1998 the Dropkick Murphys arrived on Hellcat Records with their brand of Irish punk including bag-pipes and everything irish. They played punk songs and beer drinking songs, folk songs and everything you'd expect from an Irish band. Their lead singer was Mike McColgan, who grew up in Boston, and he was responsible for some of the best Dropkick Murphys songs ever written. Unfortunately Mike left the band to be a fire fighter in Boston, and was replaced with Al Barr (Bruisers). The Murphys went on to major success, playing huge shows, headlining Warped Tour, playing with the Red Sox at the World Series, being on MTV and whatnot.

The Murphys were still good, but not as authentic feeling as they were when Mike was the lead singer. AFter a few years Mike apparently wanted to get back to music and started a new band, Street Dogs, with the same middle-class, hard working, feel as the Murphys but no bag-pipes. Since their inception in 2002 the Street Dogs have released 4 full-length records and have toured almost non-stop.

I was really excited to bring along Thomas to this show because it would be entertaining even for someone who had never really listened to the band. the songs are catchy and easy to sing along with, and the energy from both the band and the crowd is unmatched by a lot of hardcore bands these days. The show started pretty late so it was 11p by the time the Dogs got started, opening with Not Without a Purpose, Not Without a Fight. They played most of the "hits" like You Alone, In Defense of Dorchester, Back To the World and even played some of the slower sing along songs like Tobey's Got a Drinking Problem, and 2 Angry Kids. Final Transmission was probably the song of the night. I was expecting to hear Strike a Blow and Fading American Dream but i think they were holding those for the encore, which we didn't stay for since it was after midnight.

Mike was great, getting the kids to sing along on most of the sings, passing the mic, and at one point he "crowd-surfed" his way back to some of the tables in the venue. From there he preached a little, starting off with "there's a lot to be angry about these days...". a typical punk rock message of uniting together to help each other out. after his speech he "surfed" his way back to the stage. No fights broke out which was impressive considering the amount of people there and the cheap beer. At one point Rick Barton joined the band on stage. Rick was also a member of the original Murphys and wrote a lot of the great songs on Do or Die. He's up in Fort Collins writing with the Street Dogs. All in all it was a great set from Street Dogs, even Thomas was impressed and could understand some of the words.

The other bands that played were Kill City Rebels and Reno Divorce. KCR was good, but just not my style. Reno Divorce is a punk rock band from Denver and i've seen them play a few times as well. They're solid, a band that i could listen to, but never one that i would consider a favorite. The crowd was with them on this night though and it was great to see the support.

Street Dogs performing Not Without a Purpose: