Welcome to the 3rd edition of Music Vigilante! One point I have to get across, based on the feedback I’ve been receiving. My reviews are not meant to view a band’s entire body of work. They are merely based on one show I saw that particular night and my reaction. That being said let’s get down to business.
Last night I found myself at the 2 Bit Saloon (4818 17th Ave NW - Ballard). This is a club I’ve been to in the past and I usually have a pretty good time there. The bar staff has always been on the ball and fairly nice. It has a weird layout, but it somehow works. The show room is pretty small, but bands can be heard from every corner of the place, including the smoking patio out back. I do like the half pipe right at the front of the stage. That did get used once briefly by a guy that I’m assuming works there. As it turned out, also, last night was a benefit show for the victims of the Cafe Racer shooting.
Again with no research on what I was getting myself into, I found myself at what was, for the most part, a metal show. I do enjoy metal music. I grew up on it. It’s a style I’ve always enjoyed.
Last night’s line up was Metameric, White City Graves, Shiplosion and Thou Shall Not Kill. There was a pretty good crowd on hand. It wasn’t packed, but there was a fair amount of people.
Metameric being up first. They took the stage with a large array of gear. Foot pedals as far as the eye could see. Even the bassist had quite a few, which seems to me, is pretty rare. The guys in the band, outside of their drummer, did not look like what you would imagine a metal band to look like. Their lead singer/bassist looked as if he were a member of 30 Seconds To Mars. The other two guitarists looked like they could fit squarely in an emo band. As they started I notice that they were all extraordinarily talented. These were the guys in high school who would lock themselves in their basement and practice relentlessly because they had nothing else better to do. Their music hinged more on the lines of progressive metal or even math rock at times. They had a heavy sound, but their singer was trying to be a little more melodic with his style. Which unfortunately, at the 2 Bit with their sort of muffled sounding PA, the melody often sounds a bit disjointed. I think he would benefit with one more pedal to get some reverb on the vocals. He did bust into his “metal voice” from time to time and I’ll admit I liked them more when he was doing that. The down side of all of this is that you can have all the talent in the world, but if your songs aren’t all that compelling it makes for a lack luster set. Outside of one song they had about airport security, I didn’t find much in their set to cling on to. There was one point in their set I thought was strange. They all swapped out guitars at the same time. I don’t know if this was a move that was just plain out pretentious or if they just had a different tuning. I didn’t think about the tuning portion of it until they swapped back. But in true metal form they were all tuned to drop D and they loved the other standard metal thing. One foot on the speaker monitor in front of them. The part when they seemed to really win the crowd over is when they did a cover of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage.
So would I spent another 5 bucks on a Metmeric show? Probably not. Talented, yes. Compelling, not really.
Next up was White City Graves. These were definitely the kids that were doing their own thing. They weren’t a very good match for the night as a whole. They’re not really a metal band. Sure they’re heavy at times, but it seemed to lean more toward the punk vein than the metal vein. They were also darker and slower than the other bands of the evening. Their singer/guitarist dawning an outfit of entirely black, including a black beanie which kept slipping over his eyes, but he somehow found the mic when he needed without the use of sight. The other guys looked like rock guys dawning rock t shirts and such. Although their bassist was wearing a White City Graves t shirt which I thought was kind of funny. They started into their set and their music was simple in comparison to the band before them. But unlike the band before them all their songs were compelling and not over complicated. Sure they had their solos here and there, but nobody was the super shredder guy. They seemed to be marred with technical difficulties though. During one song they had, one of their guitars cut out and as the guitarist frantically tried to figure out his dilemma the rest of the band covered with an extended jazz-funk extended jam. It was kind of cool in a way, unfortunately it lasted quite a long time. But once he swapped out his guitar and got everything back in working order they drove back in and picked up the song really well.
White City Graves also came in complete with their own lighting, which was another little cool nuance to a good band. Unfortunately this lead to a few miscues and a couple of time gaffes.
So would I go pay top check out White City Graves again? Definitely. Good band and outside of some technical problems and a couple timing flubs they were a lot of fun to watch live.
The third band of the night had a bizarre name. Shiplosion. And after looking into it a bit this morning, is a combination of shit and explosion. The banner displayed above their drums had their name on it in a kind comic book like style of lettering. The guys themselves were all over the map. Their guitarist wearing this sweater thing that I can only describe as something out of the middle east or something a Sherpa would wear. The bassist had on a Hawaiian shirt and was sporting sort of a mohawk. At one point I heard him say it was Miami Vice metal. They started into their set and I was instantly taken back to the old days of thrash metal. The days when Anthrax was big on the scene and not taking themselves to seriously. I later overheard someone compare them to DRI. I would have to agree with them, that’s a spot on comparison. The guitarist and bassist shared singing duties. The bassist with the cleaner voice and the guitarist following up with the raspy scream. They put on a good show playing well and contorting facial antics. It was a heavy fast sound, but not so super complex that it was alienating.
So would I see Shiplosion again? Sure. They were a fun solid band.
The headliner Thou Shall Not Kill. At least I think that’s their name. The guitarist said that they were changing their name to that for that night for the victims of the Cafe Racer. Anyway, these guys were the epitome of metal. Bullet belts, leather spiked arm bands and one guy in a leather armor, samurai thing. Although, their bassist was just not fitting the image. He wasn’t all leathered up like the rest of his band. I watched as their guitarist set up his full stack amp. A little overkill for the 2 Bit I think. I’m not kidding, it was at least 7 to 8 feet tall. It was huge. Then busts out his BC Rich guitars and they hang a flag, screen printed with a pentagram, over the guitar speakers. As they did this I notice the guitarist jump off the stage to pet a pug puppy that someone had brought in. I found it to be an amusing little contrast. We love Satan and pugs! Anyway, the launch into their set. They too, were unfortunately marred by technical issues with the guitar cutting out all over the place. They had their particular brand death metal. Guttural vocals and all. I thought it was really funny that in between songs they even maintained the guttural vocal thing while speaking to the crowd. I did instantly think to myself that these guys probably watched Lord of The Rings a few too many times. They blasted into songs that I really couldn’t tell you what they’re about. But I think some of it was middle earth inspired. The double bass drum pounding away and full range head banging ensuing. This one is a judgement calls. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the death metal genre. So I can’t say that I have a lot to compare them to. They seemed very talented and for what they were doing, they’re good at it.
So would I pay $5 to see them again? Probably not. And this time it’s not because they’re bad. This is more just not my cup of tea.
There you have it. Shiplosion and White City Graves the highlights of the evening. But all things considered. None of the bands sucked. Just some were more enjoyable to watch than others.
That concludes this edition of Music Vigilante! Now get out there and go see a show! Support your scene!
Sin A. sisM