Tuesday, December 13, 2011

10 Dec 11

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide ends her weekend by rockin' with the so-called "1%"! She's went upscale (sort of) Saturday while at River North's tri-level nightspot, LaSalle Power Company to rock with gothic poets aching for love (The Walking Shadows) and social rockers with a focus (Social Focus). Also featured during this swizzlesteve.com show was Polarcode (http://www.polarcodemusic.com) and Furious Frank (http://www.furiousfrank.net).

This reviewer recommends checking out this eclectic-sounding local band that combined one of the most weirdest music/genre mesh ever heard. And she's not being harsh in her description about Furious Frank, blogspot readers. This was one band with a set up that included a lively horn section (trumpet and trombone), guitars (bass, electric, mandolin, acoustic), keyboards and drums thus producing an energizing sound mix from folk to gyspy to Mexi-Americana-punk (try saying that fast three times) and more. Furious had a rhythmic tempo that got thisr reviewer's toes tappin' to their selected tunes featuring an Irish folk amidst a country/western feel for one song about Chicago and a Latin-flavor inspired Christmas tune with Czech lyrics. Meanwhile with Polarcode, SouthSide and friends (Ryan of Sutured Psyche and his friend) had a mixed reaction about this melodramatic rock band. This reviewer at first liked the energy and momentum that wafted throughout the third floor venue exciting the audience ...nearly drowning out the club scene downstairs happening on the second floor. However, somewhere in the middle of the set, that excitement, music and momentum was seriously replaced by dullness and boredom which gradually caused lost interest from its audience. Even SouthSide was losing interest due to the many back to back power ballads filling up their performance time that didn't have more rousing rock songs in between. That was Polarcode's main problem, blogspot readers, besides the unique stage set up that included a bass-keyboard melody combination and percussions. The music needed electric riffs to balance out the rhythms and put more powerful umph into the ballads. This reviewer suggests the band ease up a little on the "melo" part - you have that well taken care of and add more rock (electric riffs) into the drama to lift certain songs (like Deal Breaker) out of its moody mode. Polarcode can still be melodramatic while powerfully engaging its audience and fanbase more.

SouthSide must warn you - this is not your average Shakespeare love sonnet paired with with music, blogspot readers. The famous author of tragedies, comedies, et al probably wouldn't have foreseen dark lovelorn poetry/lyrics coupled with symphonic/rock music from a band like The Walking Shadows. This local band on the rise featured heartwrenching words (the kind that pricks from a sticky rose thorn), emotionally intense guitar riffs and dark symphonic electronica (off the keyboard set up) rolled into one exciting set. You're meant to feel besides hear the music and words, blogspot readers. Plus both (at the same time) can have that intensity to truly bring a few tears to the eyes as well as the heart upon feeling that emotional essence. After finally seeing a full performance, yes, The Walking Shadows can get overly melodramatic if that was the band's intention but truly it's not. There's the rock side to this band which keeps it from heading down that route. SouthSide enjoyed how the guitars add the right amount of intensity to balance out the symphonic sound and to also energize (as well as electrify) the moody music thus receiving the best of both genres at once. For example, check out Shadows' Crusader in which the guitar rock sound took front and center stage over the electronica keyboard rhythms (with enough symphonic melody to be heard). That's okay since it spotlighted Craig (front man on guitar) and his dynamic falsetto style within this particular song before blasting the ears with a hot instrumental bridge of intense music that featured twitterpating riffs and rhythms ...and a John drum solo too. Even while taking that said energy down a notch or two, one can still appreciate the emotional pain and heartache intricately woven inside the lyrics as Craig sings and Mark (his twin brother on keyboards/piano) backs him with the same emotional sentiments only musically. There's no other way to describe how dark emotions full of pain, heartache, etc was beautifully expressed tonight via The Walking Shadows ...even The Bard himself would definitely approve especially after listening to The Devil You Never Name (hearfelt romanticism in a dark yet intense way that deeply cuts like a razor sharp knife), Bullet Holes In Our Hearts (what can SouthSide say - we kill the one we love everyday), or Howl At The Moon (a bluesy switch that certainly surprised this reviewer which rocked down the stage) a couple of times. This reviewer highly recommends introducing yourself to the new style of Bard with The Walking Shadows at their next performance in 2012, blogspot readers. For more information about this band, visit http://www.thewalkingshadows.com or on Facebook.

Headlining this rockin' show was SouthSide's other good friend, Social Focus who were debutting a new member to the band - Alex on drums. And what a noticeable difference from last time to tonight, blogspot readers! Even after a long hiatus from the local scene and stage, this band totally bursted into their set with such a fierce force of music and presence that it blew this reviwer away. She had never seen them take to the stage like this before ...it was an energizing vibe and momentum in which the audience was immediately sucked into their socially focused zone. Yes, the band was feeling it too especially as new member pumped them with exuberant percussion rhythm and youthful energy song after song. Adam, front man on vocals, was definitely rockin' the stage as well with more charismatic persona and presence thus pumping more vocal powress into the lyrics when Social Focus opened with Classical Man and What Are You Waiting For. It was nice to see him releasing his inner vocal demons tonight, blogspot readers, that the lyrics popped to life under that fierce vocal fire. Plus, SouthSide literally could see the energy flowing from the band's music as each member filled it with such instensity from the riffs to rhythms. For example, during Safe Word, this reviewer enjoyed how Social capitialized on the intense sound heard off the guitar riffs and Alex's drumming which had front man Adam really releasing some fiery spite into the microphone (which is usually a good lead-in to Merry-Go-Down but not heard tonight). However besides debutting a new member, Social also featured not just one but three new songs (perhaps a new album coming soon?) which included a ballad, By Your Side. The other two, Occupy Yourself and Solitaire, brought something new to the band's usual music and sound (as if they truly had one, blogspot readers), but fans will like the direction they're gradually moving towards that features more subtle rhythms and more of a harder guitar rock sound ...less powerpop rock in both songs. Though Solitaire did start off a little slow but not to worry the tempo did pick up its pace while highlighting Adam's dynamic voice before wowing the ears with the instrumental bridge. It was a little leaning towards the power ballad side (not much) ...still it had enough intense momentum to keep a few fans rockin' to the music. The song just might succede SouthSide's current favorite (Merry-Go-Down) as the new song featured on her iPod rotation list. She does suggest to Social on roughing out the edges to By Your Side - it's a stong yet powerful ballad but the bass was a little overpowering off the monitors when the band was in the downtempo pace. She found this particular song easy-listening on the contemporary side but still powerful enough not to be categorized as "melodramatic". Now a word about Alex - Social Focus, keep him! This drummer, though with the band a short time, naturally immersed himself right into the band's sound, music and style ...easily setting the tone and atmoshphere and never missing one excitable beat throughout the show. If the band was looking for that youthful energy to perk up their music, then they certainly found it with Alex. SouthSide looks forward to seeing more shows like this one, blogspot readers from Social Focus in 2012. For more information, visit http://www.socialfocusmusic.com or on Facebook.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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