...I don’t care if the rain freezes / as long as I have my plastic Jesus...
Welcome, blogspot readers, to Saturday night fun festivities! Once again, SouthSide’s rockin’ Elbo Room reviewing more hot local performances burning the stage. The featured lineup tonight performed a variety of genres from Organic/Folk to Hardcore Rock and everything else in between. Fans rocked to music by Always The Villain, 28North (PA) and 20 Mark Helga with WhiteWolfSonicPrincess opening.
Reminiscent of the flower power generation, this local band still keeps that spirit alive within its music, sound, and lyrics. WhiteWolfSonicPrincess put a modern twist on the decade where poetic lyrics about political and social themes reigned in the grassroots scene and the music had a flowing melodic Folk/Americana vibe yet quite organic in sound. In a nutshell, Carla (vocals) and Jim (guitar/vocals) have recaptured the essence and spirit of the late 60s with some modern help from Tim (on bass) and Richard (on drums). For example, SouthSide recommends checking out White’s You Must Believe and Sadness in the World in which one will hear powerful but realistic with plenty of truism about the state of our current society and around the world. However, blogspot readers, it wasn’t all political and social ...there were moments in which this band expressed a poetically mystical side in its songs such as Shadow Boxing as well as songs full of poetically imagery within its lyrics under melodic rhythms such as Lady in the Sand (featuring a hint of Spanish flamenco in the guitar riffs) and Sad Eyed Prophet (with a lively melodic tempo). SouthSide would like to highlight one special feature about White’s live performance – observe the way Richard on drums performs on the kit. He didn’t just simply use the kit ...he used the entire kit (i.e. using his bare hands to give one particular song the sound of earthy drum beats) to set certain tones and rhythms for White’s songs. SouthSide highly recommends feeling the groovy-ness and spiritual essence of WhiteWolfSonicPrincess at their scheduled performance. Visit http://www.myspace.com/whitewolfsonicprincess for more details about this band and its music.
Compared to what was seen during this band’s performance last year at Cubby Bear, this Elbo Room performance launched SouthSide into a confusing loop. 20 Mark Helga, after opening with a melodic classical rendition, immediately jumped into a merged blend of R&B/Funk/Soul/Country (?) and Rock. Deciphering what type of “new” band Helga designed itself to be was a difficult job in itself for this reviewer even though she did enjoy how the band’s music vibrantly popped with its melodic rhythms and beats. Honestly, blogspot readers, she tried but couldn’t fully soak her ears into Helga’s “new” sound especially when hearing a symphonic aria during the middle of one particular song. Performing songs like Fiendish Pleasure (in SouthSide’s opinion, sounded dull vocally as well as on guitar) and Sirens of Dreams, this band did have SouthSide enjoying the heartfelt lyrics that drew out emotions in the vocals (though the female vocalist didn’t compliment front man Phineas’ vocals) in When Snow Falls. In the midst of reviewing, SouthSide did note some suggestions for Helga to take into consideration – (a)need more vocal umph to compliment for each vocalist to compliment the other (When Snow Falls is a prime example) and (b)need a solid band image (SouthSide was left scratching her head upon seeing the look of a country band but mixed with some Lady Gaga-esque from the female vocalist). Yet mainly, the “new” Helga needs to seriously work on its blended genre sound – some genres didn’t mix well together ...at times overpowering each other in which clashed making it harder to comprehend. However if this is your type of band and sound of music, this reviewer suggests checking out 20 Mark Helga however in all honesty, SouthSide cannot recommend this band. Visit http://www.myspace.com/20markhelga1 for more details.
...not cutting my hair [or] I’ll lose all of my power...
Guitar rock gods, SouthSide highly salutes you! After nearly two months on the road touring (with previous performances at SXSW last month), 28North (from Pittsburgh, PA) rocked out the Elbo Room stage with a performance that was full of thrilling and exciting guitar rock sound, blogspot readers. SouthSide immediately found herself rockin’ the heartpounding, quick tempo energy in between a steady downtempo rhythm pace ...epically instrumental bridges which soaked the ears with their vibrant sound ...roaring riffs that can get the blood (and soul) boiling and yet North brought more than that to rock the stage. They also brought the sounds of Reggae/Ska and Funk. And when this band got funky ...they truly got down and dirty with the funk inside North’s thundering rock sound. There was never a dull momentum throughout this performance. It definitely kept this audience dancing to the melodic upbeat music. SouthSide highly recommends listening to North’s awesome rendition of Dreams (originally done by The Cranberries) and the current single, Call Me Up (which was dubbed as a bit of a love song highlighting heartfelt emotions in a retro guitar rock sound). It was interesting to hear North’s lively rhythmic sound of Reggae/Ska within hardcore rock music giving this one particular song an edgy but rockin’ groove for the audience to dance along with the band as well as during another in which the band could have jammed all night just on Taylor’s guitar solo alone. The highlight of the set came while performing a personal favorite of front man Michael which demonstrated the dynamic vocal power and epic rock sound in this ballad. Pittsburgh fans, you should be proud of your hometown boys for they rocked out this Chicago stage on their last night of tour with a BANG! 28North promises to be on tour again but in the meantime, visit http://www.28north.net or http://www.myspace.com/28northband for more details.
First SouthSide would like to apologized to the members of the next band if she made any one of them nervous. It’s been a long time since this reviewer last seen Always The Villain rocking on stage feeling quite honored to see them again. What made this local band uniquely special was the four (mostly three during their performances) guitars pumping volumes of hardcore rock with a mix of keyboard rhythms as well as dynamic vocals by front man Billy. Yet it’s mostly the vibrant rock sound which attracts a large following of fans to their shows, blogspot readers. Villain’s killer sound had momentum especially during new song, Hot Princess that one could literally hear the venomous hatred dripping from the vocals amidst the thundering guitar riffs (with a surprisingly brief moment of calm in between). Songs What To Do and Incredible featured another excellent display of dynamic vocals expressing love as well as melodic rhythms within a pop guitar sound (in What To Do) and trippy electric guitar effects (in Incredible). Yet it was another new song (sorry didn’t catch the song title) in which SouthSide enjoyed Villain’s head banging sound from its roaring chords and fiery momentum during the instrumental bridge (with another fine example of vocal power). And despite sounding a little rough around the edges, this reviewer predicts will be Villain’s next hit. Other songs performed in this set included Andy (featuring some digital wizardry off the synth smoothing out the sharp rock edge a little), Back To Here (a calming semi-electric acoustic vibe before blasting the ears with vibrant sounds of music) and Carnival (loved the carny music intricately woven into the intro). SouthSide highly recommends checking out Always The Villain at its next scheduled performance but in the meantime, visit http://www.myspace.com/alwaysthevillain or http://www.alwaysthevillain.com for more details.
Until next time, support your local scene,