Editor’s Note: correction on the Eastman Band review (below) – “the drummer for Eastman Band is Terry Brewer and the bass player is Jimmy Cuellar. Brett and Danny have not been in the band for a couple of years.” thanks for the update, Jimmy – please stay in touch and look forward to seeing you guys at the semi-finals!
This week’s column is LONG, with four really good bands playing tonight – so let’s hit it!
First Up – IB6-UB9 (hopefully I don’t have to explain the name for you)
I loved these guys from minute one, with excellent guitars and vocals working the crowd.
I had a chance to chat briefly before the show with guitarist Tim Potter. I asked him what sets their band apart from the rest. Tim says, “We take your stories” (points to me) “and put them in our songs.” He added, “We’re probably the ‘sweatiest’ band around because we work so hard to make sure everyone’s having a good time.” They definitely delivered on both scores.
Shane Thomas on drums was steady and solid, and Rod Meckle on bass kept us thrumming, adding back-up vocals with Tim that were a well-placed filler that fit perfectly. Tim’s guitar (although it tended to get stuck in the background unfortunately) kept a strong line running throughout. It finally came through on “Stand!” the wah-wah sounding suitably unsubtle and evocative.
You might have dropped front man Shane Thornton (sporting black boots with a cool black Stetson) into a C&W club easily, but it would have been a mistake. He kept a constant communication with the crowd, with a periodically-shouted “ATTITUDE CHECK!” that was immediately answered with a clear “F*** YOU!” response from the floor.
In general, the songs had a great beat that you could (and probably should) dance to. And yes, they did work up a sweat – but it was worth it! 4 solid stars and photographer Jeanice Marvel‘s vote – you were amazing! Find them at http://www.facebook.com/pages/IB6-UB9/175311512202#!/pages/IB6-UB9/175311512202?sk=app_2405167945, http://www.myspace.com/ib6ub9rocks, or http://www.reverbnation.com/ib6ub9rocks.
(check out their “campfire” video here )
Intermission – flying visit from the Athiarchists!!
An unannounced (as they are wont to do) drive-by of the “Music Adventure Stage,” we heard them coming down Broadway, blasting their way up to stop in front of John Henry’s during the first break, they treated those standing outside the club for a quick smoke, drawing half the crowd outta the club to peer curiously with a “WTF???” followed by a standing ovation (well, ok, we were all standing anyways!), upon which they drove off. That was a riot!
Second Up – Deadfall
This Springfield band was definitely professional yet full of energy. Where Jeremy Rose’ actually sang it was nice but nothing remarkable. Mike Cook had good drums running with Kelly Asay on bass (guitarist and one of the singers for The Procrastinators, was filling in on bass while Wilder Stewart – who isn’t yet a performing member – gets up to speed), but pretty standard fare. Jason Weir on lead guitar ran some excellent riffs and Adam Snodgrass on rhythm guitar was nice and tight, but the audience just stood there spectating, not actually participating (fans wearing band t-shirts notwithstanding). Then folks would wander away. NEVER let your audience wander!
Singly, the musicians were really good. Kelly had solid popping base riffs, with Jason’s lead guitar weaving nicely through. Their third song (a slow ballad) was the best of the set. I loved their final number for the instrumentals – they closed the set nicely. Find them at http://www.reverbnation.com/deadfall2kx or
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Deadfall/188368311201774. A decent thrash/screamo band, but I just couldn’t find anything outstanding here – 3 stars.
Third Up – Hollowman
I caught these guys a couple years ago at what is now “The Muse” (closed) when they were bigger (more members) but not necessarily better. I chatted a bit with lead guitarist Alan Petty before the set, who mentioned they have indeed taken a new direction, going a bit heavier and a whole lot harder. With only three guys on, they had a lot of space to fill but they definitely did that. Bass guitar/lead man Joe Mancuso (with yet another cowboy hat – this one white straw!) did an amazing job on vocals yet keeping the bass foundation flowing, while Dan Pacheco pounded some serious drum runs.
We all LOVED the third song, dedicated to a US soldier fan in the audience who was back from Iraq. They ripped off their shirts and donned his fatigues, with the American flag flying proudly from the mic stand.
They were completely focused on their music (which is great), but unfortunately the audience drifted in and out, not as focused as the band. But with a lot of energy, they worked the set with style and class.
Find Hollowman at http://apps.facebook.com/reverbnation_fb/artist/hollowman or http://www.myspace.com/hollowmanband. Still not as hot and heavy as I would have wanted, but definitely best in show – 3½ stars.
Last (but not least) – Eastman Band
Another Springfield 3-piece rock band, with John Eastman running lead vocals that were clear and crisp, and lead guitar weaving nicely. Bret Beat (is that his real name?!) on drums and Danny Bridges on bass guitar danced a pretty foundation for the set. I really liked this band. Tight and hard, John’s guitar. It was clear the audience was totally there with them. In this kind of venue, it’s easy for the vocals to get lost or just sound crappy – that didn’t happen here. They pounded and pummeled you and you definitely wanted more. “Facebook Friend” opening was great – I saw Deadfall fans craning necks to see around/over the other folks on the floor. The dry ice fog was a nice cosmetic touch.
I would have liked to see more eye contact with the audience, although John did start interacting with the crowd on “Paybacks (Are a B**tch!).” The fourth song was written and dedicated to the Last Band Standing contest, with a hysterical throw-away chorus running a non-subliminal question/answer “Who you gonna vote for?!” “EASTMAN BAND!” Despite the over-obvious band plug, that song was just as full and amazing as the rest of the set.
They actually got a semi-mosh pit running (at the back of the dance floor?!!) and IB6’s frontman Shane Thornton was front and center on the floor, black Stetson pumping in the air on the closing song sealed the deal.on the closing song “Blood Sucking Bas***ds!” which they dedicated to the City Council (which I thought was really amusing!). Find them at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eastman-Band/144556865590756, http://www.reverbnation.com/eastmanband and http://www.myspace.com/theeastmanband. 4½ stars and my vote for the evening!
(check out their video at )