Posts Tagged ‘WoW Hall’

YOB is:  Michael Scheidt (lead guitar/vox), Aaron Reiseberg (bass), Travis Foster (drums)

Forget everything you’ve ever heard or read.  Throw out everything you think you know.  All the album reviews, the promos, the canned and remanufactured phrases are nothing.  A live show may not be the biggest money-maker for many bands, but it is the one true test of a musician.  A decent engineer and average equipment can make almost anybody sound good in a studio.  It is only in a live performance, when the musicians take the stage, that you really know – is this band worth my time? my attention and energy? my hard-earned money?

This is why you will rarely (if ever) see me review an album, and why I am so freaking PICKY about the skill, talent, knowledge, and performance of live musicians. This is what sets apart the master from the dilettante.

   Having said all that, let’s look at the YOB show live at the WoW Hall last night. First off, I’ve never been to a “death” or “doom” metal show before or truthfully ever heard a band play this particular genre, and I was a little hesitant about doing this review.  I wanted to like them, and as I was there at the request of a friend of lead man Mike Scheidt, I felt a little more than the usual pressure to give a good accounting of the show.  I shouldn’t have worried…

Coming off their 2011 world tour, our Eugene boys hit home HARD.  As someone in the audience during their soundcheck put it, it was so loud his cajones were vibrating!  I don’t have any of those necessarily, but I do know I was vibrating!  If I said this was a full sensorry experience, that wouldn’t even begin to describe this show.

    This is a three-member band that is simply huge – no other way to describe them.  They made me want to get out there on the floor.  The audience was just mesmerized – there was no mosh pit, everyone was glued to the stage, astounded and completely captured.  It was brutal… EPIC… This is what you want to hear with subs full-on when people have completely pissed you off and you just want to beat everything and everyone into absolute annihilation.

I think the WoW Hall is one of the few venues here in Eugene that would be able to carry this large a sound.  YOB would probably have obliterated the sound system anywhere else – I liked them and definitely would want to see them again live.

   Technically, they did some really nice work with special effects between mics and guitars and boxes.  Travis’ drums were so rock hard and perfect, with Aaron’s multi-layered bass runs laying intricate patterns over that.  Add Mike’s sheerly stupendous lead guitar riffs and vocals on top of that, and you have a tsunami wall of sound crashing over and over you. Their timing was impeccable – I noticed that they don’t speed up the songs as they progressed through chord and tempo changes, which was very nice.  They continually pulled the audience into the performance, and their live stage presence is beyond description.

The only negative comment I have is that I have so often found at a hard rock concert (by whatever name or genre you want to use) that it is nearly impossible to understand the lyrics if you don’t know the material by heart in advance.  That’s not to say that I didn’t absolutely dig the hell outta this show as I mentioned already – it just makes it more like an instrumental performance, which actually fits this genre.  Mike’s vocals so perfectly matched the guitars that it almost didn’t matter in this case – they were closer to a 4th guitar running through the songs, making it that much more hot and heavy. I could easily see This Patch of Sky, for example, sharing the stage with this band.

I didn’t get anything like “death” or “doom” from this performance, which agrees to what Mike has said in interviews of their material.  YOB is just really, really good LOUD heavy metal/grunge stylings.  If AIC had taken “Dirt” and gone darker, deeper, and heavier, it might have sounded something like what I heard last night.  Bottom line on this show – if you stay true to what you love, the music will not fail.  These guys are the proof of that.

They’ll be hitting the road again soon, so if you have the chance to see them in a live show you better do it.  They are the epitome of everything that is perfect in metal, by whatever name you call it.

Find YOB online at http://yobrock.com/as well as FB, ReverbNation, etc.

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I know everything came to an absolute standstill with us out of the scene for the past two months (give or take), but TCC is back and badder than ever, with this exclusive review of three of the four bands that played downtown Eugene’s historic WoW Hall last Friday night.  It’s a triple-triple shot, featuring three band reviews, plus pictures, PLUS an exclusive pre-show video interview with up-and-coming Jultopia!!

(note – the bands are not reviewed here in the order of their appearance – you’ll understand why at the end)

First:  Jultopia (Julian Master – front vox, samples; David Baker – guitar, back-up vox; Mason Kline – drums; Alex Dee – bass)

The night was gorgeous to begin with, and it felt so good to be back listening to live local music.  Opening was Jultopia (Julian Master, David Baker, Mason Kline, Alby Dee) – a quirky electronica band built around master Julian (who in a previous lifetime was a hip hop/rap sensation).  They were so comfortable on stage you almost forgot these guys are YOUNG but very strong.  Julian really is a master showman (can’t help playing with his name, it is way too much fun!),drawing folks up to the stage with seductive hand gestures – he has a definite stage presence.

    Taking the band as a whole, you have three musicians working to mesh their instruments with Julian’s samples which they accomplish into a seamless work of art – not easily done, trust me.  Totally danceable but I don’t know that description does them justice.  Someone could have a lot of fun running a serious psychedelic light/strobe show with some artistically enhanced fog on their beats and it would be indescribable.

Mason’s drums are steady and solid (completely necessary with this amalgamation of sound), laying the foundation with Alex’s bass for David’s guitar work and Julian’s vocals.  It was honestly fun to see David’s “two instances of back up vocals” – and he was perfect.  The band  has impeccable timing, and they obviously enjoy playing together (onstage or off I suspect).

One reader asked, “What’s so special about your live show that would make me want to come out and see you?”  In answer, you would just have to see them to understand – if you missed this show you definitely missed out!  But here’s a short video of their exclusive interview with EDN’s Laurel of The Club Circuit (with cameo appearance from Adventure Galley’s drummer) to give you a taste of what you missed!

And despite the willful destruction of stuffed animals at the end of the set (with the gleeful assistance of the participating audience), I can promise you that no one (human or animal) was seriously harmed during this performance. I think. We especially loved their closing song, “Touch You” – nice touch (pun intended)!

 

 

 

Third In Line:  White Arrows (Mickey Schiff [aka Mickey Church] – front; vox; Juice, Henry Schiff [aka Brother Henry Church – drums], Steven Vernet – guitars, Andrew Naeve)

A good solid alternative rock band, although their FB page calls them “Psychedelic, Electronic, Lo-fi,” we didn’t see that.  What we did see was five guys from L.A. taking a detour from their current tour with The Naked and Famous to drop in to our college town and lay down some seriously lovely sounds.  While there wasn’t anything all that original that I saw from this set, the band put on a good show.

It did take them awhile to warm up to the audience, but the last half of their set seriously rocked.  I’m not sure that the audience caught that tho, they seemed to drift on and off the floor throughout their performance which was rather distracting.  Perhaps that’s just a Friday fall night Eugene thing maybe?  We’re all ADD and have a 5 minute attention span maybe…

Still, it was an enjoyable end to our evening.  We didn’t stay to see And And And (which was our loss I’m sure) – but it had already been a long night after a long day and TCC is still trying to find their way through all the boxes after their relocation!

Second Up (and last on this review because they were SOOOOOOOOOO freeeeking amazing that they rate this spot):  Adventure Galley (who seem to want to remain relatively nameless as I can only find their first names posted anywhere!!  David, Aaron, George, Jesse, Forrest, and Brock).

First, I have to tell you a short story about this short story.  I had gone down to the basement at the WoW Hall between sets to sample some vin, ran back to hear this set, dashed to the merch table to see if I could pry one single solitary unsold copy of Adventure Galley’s CD, grabbed that, and somehow in the process of all that left my pad of paper with notes on the band (the page was open to AG’s review) at the merch table… realized what I had done about 5 minutes later and yelled (quietly) – “Where’s my notes?!!!!” … So I dashed back and grabbed it from the very cute lady at the table who was rather reluctant to hand it back to me… “I was having so much fun READING this!” she exclaimed (glancing at AG’s review).  Seriously.  This is a true story – just ask her!

     I could easily fill a page for each of the individual band members and their on-stage antics and artistry… but I don’t have that much room here.  So you MUST go see these guys at the next live show available.  They’re a Eugene band who (despite several previous misprints in other publications that they were winners of the 2011 Eugene’s Next Big Thing – they were one of the 4 finalist winners, but not THE winner) had actually won the 2010 MySpace’s “Rock the Space 2” contest (see http://www.myspace.com/toyotamusic).  With over 17,000 bands participating, the fact that it was a EUGENE local band that won should not be any surprise.  Their musicianship, showmanship, and overall joie-de-vivre that they put out at the show on Friday night blew us away.

So, Adventure Galley is tight and hot and they know what electronica is supposed to sound like.  What was also nice was seeing them transition from electronica to straight alt/punk rock with heavy guitars without losing energy. Yes, the energy changes, but it is a matter of definition, not level.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see them break like Foster The People and Chain Gang of 1974 have recently done.

Find all these bands on Facebook, ReverbNation, and their personal websites – but definitely catch them live if you have the chance to do so!!

One thing you can honestly say about attending a Floater show – it is never dull!  And don’t make the mistake of equating “acoustic” with “quiet” or “dull.”  I don’t think it would be possible for these guys to be any of that.  As Floater’s soundman, Dan, says, “Even their acoustic shows become rock shows!”  As well, the fans attending exude their own raw, uncontained energy as they bounce, dance, and sing along with every song.  This Eugene-born band has a dedicated fanbase here that transcends the boundaries of age and style:  babies were held in the arms of the communal family alongside older folks, who followed their own unique groove to the music.  Every time I see this band it is fresh and new!

Of course, having the chance to catch them for a live video interview after the show was unforgettable (video of “Capturing The Afterglow” – Floater Live Interview, July 22, 2011 is in post-production and should be published soon).  While the entire interview was way too much fun (which included pop-in appearances by Robert Meade who opened for them tonight, as well as various folks performing after-show tasks), I especially enjoyed hearing Rob’s story about how they decided on the name “Floater” for the band, and his description of some of the weirdest things fans have tossed onto the stage during a live performance (which included underwear – I did not ask them what condition those items were in!  and various forms of drugs).  They finally agreed that the 14-page anonymous essay of one fan’s interpretations of the meanings of certain song lyrics topped their list as downright creepy!

I always notice how folks who attend these shows seem to know how to organize the floor:  the front half closest to the stage will always be packed with folks getting up close and personal with the band, while the back half of the floor is filled with people dancing with joy and abandon.

They played two sets (the last being a very extended set, ending well after midnight).  For the first set, Rob made his entrance from the green room with bass guitar in hand, strumming his way through the crowd as they gawked and pointed and cheered.  Peter and Dave wove their own separate paths through the audience to where they all met on the stage.  It was a singular beginning to a unique show.

Pete’s drums in this acoustic set, utilizing a mix of standard kit with tribal accent percussion, created an intricate web for the guitars to play with as they dipped in and out like swallows swooping over the water.  Rob’s vocals when he sings a low melody line are so haunting that, when the guitars break out into hard rock riffs it almost catches you by surprise… almost!  I’ve also always admired their time signature and tempo changes through the songs, which were superbly executed.  They have such an amazing rapport with the audience – if you have never been to see these guys live, I can’t describe it well enough to give it justice.  If you have seen them live, either acoustic or electric, I don’t need to try to describe it, do I?

And having a floating wood floor for a Floater live concert only adds to the experience!

Another one of my favorite things about their music (yes, I have a lot of favorite things about this band!) is Rob’s lyrics – they could easily stand alone as poetry.  The music simply adds its own beautiful artistry.

Their vocal harmonies (all three of them sing on many of the songs) are perfectly performed, and Dave’s dancing melody lines on lead guitar are more exquisite every time I see them play.  And their instrumental jams are spectacular – each of them stunning.

Of special note for me were the covers they did (only three of them – they have no need for filler as they have more original material than they could possibly put into even a three-set show!).  Each was chosen either because it worked especially well in an acoustic venue, or just because they have so much fun sharing them with their audience.  Rob’s drumstick-tapping opening (joining with Dave on drums) for their cover of the Beatles’ “Magic Bus” was perfect, and of course this cover became Floater’s own funk version as only they could do it:  reggae-popping, the audience bopping along with the guys on stage.  It was awesome!  They segued from there to their original “Hollywood” with a flawless transition.

Setlist – First Set:  Come See Everything, On The Table, Golden Age, Time Marches, Diamond, Magic Bus (cover), Hollywood, Strychnine, Exiled.

Peter opened the second set doing a solo mini-set on acoustic guitar.  An accomplished vocalist and guitarist in his own right, you probably want to look for some solo album work by him – it would be well worth your time.

An acoustic set venue gives them a chance to put a new spin on some old favorites – Rob’s acoustic guitar work sounded almost like a Spanish guitar on many of the pieces.  The second set included their cover of the Police’s “Walking On The Moon” which they put a full reggae spin on (and it so fits that song!) segueing into yet another original, “Bound For Glory.”  And of course they did Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” which is obviously an audience favorite as well as their own – Rob’s intro included mention of just how much fun they have playing it, with his hope that the audience would love it as much.  I don’t want to try to judge that competition – we’ll call it a draw, I think it was a mutual party!  Everyone was on the floor dancing and singing for that one except for yours truly, being the dutiful writer/reviewer that I am.  Don’t worry tho, I am an expert chair dancer while taking notes!

I’ve mentioned before in previous reviews how much I also enjoy how they build layers.  While these are more distinct in a non-acoustic live performance, the layers are definitely still there when they play this type of venue.  Their energy is certainly never less – it is just more contained and concentrated.  I think Rob puts it best when he calls it “focused.”

I thought for sure they were going to close the second set with “Let It Go” and I suspect they considered that as well based on the set list copies they gave me (thanks Rob and Pete!), but you can’t close the party down in full swing (regardless of the time) – right?  They went on to play two additional songs, and finally brought the show to a climactic close.

Setlist – Second Set:  Weary Head, Endless I, Accepted, Walking On The Moon (cover), Bound For Glory, Personal Jesus (cover), Black Sheep, Alone, Let It Go, Seconds, Weightless.

They were gracious and amusing, loving and astounding.  Again, an awesome performance by Eugene’s own Floater – find their webpage here for additional info on bio, discography, tour dates, and more: http://www.floater.com.  And remember to mark your calendars for their next Eugene appearance!

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