...please tell those other people, it's time for a package check... ~ Lizard
...you're really gonna love this show... ~ Aston
Hey, blogspot readers, it's the same Elbo Room time yet a different Elbo Room action for SouthSide. Tonight, round two kept this reviewer busy covering the rockin' fun happening both upstairs as well as downstairs inside this packed venue. Upstairs, Irish eyes were definitely smilin' shamrock green during a performance of Irish folk music before Brad Cole's Acoustic Circus. This showcase featured Terry McNamara and friends performing a SXSW (South By SouthWest) or Bust set that included Amanda Rheaume, Tara Holloway and NLX and a mystery guest. SouthSide enjoyed the lively acoustic performance by Brad Cole with Sandy Lee which kicked off the acoustic circus fun. Fans of acoustic folk/alternative music will like the vocal harmonies (by Brad and Sandy) and the hot violin rhythm heard throughout the set. The music was so energetic that it inspired some freestyle dancing from one spectator. The only problem this reviewer had with Brad's set was when the drummer tried to drink and drum at the same time. His lack of concentration during one song slightly threw off the lively rhythm as he tried to carry the beat with one hand. Yet it was Sandy who truly stole the show for this reviewer when she took over lead vocals during another song. Her voice had the audience feeling every ounce of passion heard from her voice. Plus SouthSide loved the "happy" song about death featuring a sizzling hot violin solo. For more information, visit www.bradcolemusic.com or www.myspace.com/bradcolemusic.
Meanwhile downstairs, the crowd was rockin' to performances by Dulcet Road (it was the band's CD Release party) and Super Big. SouthSide recommends listening to Super's Giving Up On You (for its rockin' intro that grabs your attention), the perfect breakup song and the ballad (or love song - depending how you perceive it), Overboard. She enjoyed the sarcastic line - "...she may be overboard but she's not over me...". The lineup also featured a group billed as the hottest band from University of Indiana which instantly raised a skeptic doubt from SouthSide. Sadly, blogspot readers, in this reviewer's opinion, the only hottest thing about this band was the music (despite a few minor exceptions). For a lively funk/soul/hiphop/R&B fusion group with an energetic sound (at certain times), SouthSide felt jipped by JipJop. She only enjoyed the various genres represented within the band's music even though there were moments when it sounded flat. Why - their brass section could barely be heard above the rest of the band and sometimes they couldn't carry a song which required a solid rhythm vibe. In other words, the horns needed more umph to make the songs sizzle and pop with vibrant life especially during Jip's R&B/funk songs. For example, Access Granted, this reviewer felt it was the keyboards and guitars that carried the song no the brass as it should have been. The horns to her ears sounded off key and had no sizzle for a song that absolutely popped with energy. And this wasn't the first instance where the brass section failed to deliver throughout this set.
And that wasn't the only problem with JipJop's Elbo Room show, blogspot readers. SouthSide, though liking their use of lyrical hiphop, found it grossly overused for each song. There were times in which the fast lyrical verses didn't truly fit the song, tempo and/or genre. Switching between rap (for the stanzas)) and actual singing (for the chorus) wasn't enough to convince this reviewer of his real vocal skills. Yes, he had mad skills for the lyrical poetry rap and SouthSide recognized that. However, this reviewer would have preferred hearing more of his vocal capabilities during the set rather than only hearing him sing at the chorus. Jip's front man did have a voice behind his hiphop persona ...she suggests that he use it more. Lastly, JipJop tried too hard to imitate like the original artists while performing covers instead of performing them within their own musical style. For example, the female vocalist during the Lauryn Hill cover covered her part trying to be "Lauryn" instead of bringing her own vocal style to the song. Even their take on Will Smith's hit pop/hiphop single, Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, fell hopelessly flat due to lack of audience participation at "la la la" (however a minor mistake - it's suppose to be "na na na"). SouthSide's ears cringed while listening to their Earth, Wind & Fire cover, Can't Hide Love - not enough energy from Jip's brass section (again). Overall, blogspot readers, it was a lukewarm performance but she couldn't call it hot as it should have been from this band. For more information, visit www.jipjopmusic.com or www.myspace.com/jipjopmusic.
SouthSide hasn't seen her good friends, Hail The Black Dragons, in a very long time. And the first thing she noticed was the band setup. There were new faces as well as a familiar face gracing the stage with Aston (on vocals/guitar), Android (on keyboard) and Bratt(on drums). Tonight, the one and only Lizard rejoined the band - pumped and ready to rock all night long. This lead guitarist was in fine form dazzling the late night audience with his wicked guitar riffs and solos throughout the set. It was nice to see Aston having his right-hand man back on stage with him again. Only Lizard can truly ignite HTBDs' charismatic front man and his inner rock god momentum and vice versa it has the same effect on Lizard from Aston. At times, the show got very wild and intense when both were deep within that zone while jamming together. The new additions to HTBDs fit nicely inside Aston's flamboyant glam rock persona. The new guitarist and bassist tore up the stage following his every twist and turn. It's safe to presume that both have first-hand experience performing in bands like HTBDs. SouthSide even noticed the bassist rockin' hard in his own zone upon feeling that energetic vibe.
The second thing SouthSide noticed was HTBDs' new songs off their upcoming CD that went beyond the metal/hardcore sound. If you're able to view the band's playlist, you'll realize how Aston arranges the songs to tell one huge epic story. In turn, each song adds its own piece of the story thus taking the audience on a ride through an operatic journey into the cosmos. And taking a HTBDs journey can be a bit mind-blowing for the first time yet it gets better when you see them for the second and third time. It's the reason why their music was meant to be savored since the instrumentals consist of sudden riff and chord changes. For example check out new song, Cobrahead in which the space rock sound was slightly replaced by some heavy metal. Or Motorcycle Song (not the official title) had the feel (and roar) of being on a motorcycle rumbling off the guitar riffs ...well, more like a hyper-fast space motorcycle cruising at light speed. Plus it had some rockin' harmonics which totally spiced up the song at the end. SouthSide also recommends listening to the ballad, By the Light of the Electric Moon as well as favorite HTBDs standards like Female Archetype and Radio to Mission Control. Yet, SouthSide wonders when HTBDs will perform live versions of Monster Zero (her song) or Memory ...or better yet, their theme song, Hail The Black Dragons. Before ending their set with a three-fold montage of epic songs, Lizard showed off his lyrical rap for the ladies in the audience.
It's recommended that everyone take the cosmic ride with Hail The Black Dragons at their next epic performance - sweeping space operatic music for the new millennium. For more information, visit www.hailtheblackdragons.com or www.myspace.com/hailtheblackdragons.
Until next time, support your local scene,