Sunday, February 20, 2011

The 9th on the 18th

This past Friday night I got to experience the earth-shaking loud music of some awesome rock bands at a small vintage theater down around the Salt Lake area. This was the Monster Outbreak tour, which featured Rev Theory headlining, and the openers Aranda, Black Cloud Collective, and Pop Evil. I had planned on this night mainly to see Rev Theory because they were the only band I knew, but at the end of the day I think I benefited more from being exposed to those bands that were new to me, as they had just as much (if not more) talent than the guys I went to see.

Performance-wise, it's difficult to peg down who had the best stage presence, because I was impressed by different elements from each go-round. Pop Evil was more well-known, so naturally the crowd carried a higher excitement level, but I also just felt a solid energized rock vibe from them as a whole. They would probably take the cake for best appearance as well, since the lead singer Leigh Kakaty (a dude) was probably the hottest person on stage that night, and the luscious locks of long hair on the bassist Matt Dirito were tantalizing to watch as he expertly headbanged his way to a promising migraine. Seriously, this guy came on stage and I immediately thought, "He has Pocahontas' hair, and it's way prettier than mine! Not fair." If you've never payed attention to anyone whipping such long hair like that around in the air, it's quite a sight, let me tell you. I used to just think it was cool and all if the rockstars want to get a little crazy while playing their instruments, but it's actually FUN to watch. Is it weird of me to think that? I hope I'm not the only one that does.

Matt Dirito.
Can't take credit for this pic - my camera sucked 
at the concert. This is a la internet. 

Even before Pop Evil dazzled the audience with their catchy songs and pumped up attitude, Aranda surprised me with a few tricks up their own sleeve. At first I didn't realize the guys setting up the equipment in plaid flannel and skinny jeans were the actual band, but when they started playing they definitely didn't sound like any emo posers. The guitarist Damien Aranda was especially skilled, as displayed most prominently during their cover of Led Zep's "Dazed and Confused." After that face melter, they did some cool things with the guitar where the lead singer would hold it parallel to the ground while Damien sort of played the strings like a keyboard, even going so far as to pull what I'm assuming is his signature move and use his designer boot to play the instrument at the same time. He used a delicate sweeping motion over the strings, which made a really cool effect when paired with the high speed plucking thing. It was very unique, something I have never seen or heard of before. 

Black Cloud Collective's performance was unfortunately mediocre. I have a feeling their tracks are probably better on a CD than you would observe from hearing them live, because the volume of their many sounds together was so loud over the singer's voice, you could barely hear the melodies in their songs. When I did catch a glimpse of some kind of musical pattern, I thought, "That's actually not bad, but I wish I could understand some of the words," because yeah, the sound levels were a little imbalanced, but also the lead singer was not an articulate one at all. My friend commented about him not quite looking the part, which I felt too, but on the other hand I liked that the majority of the other guys sported rugged beards as their go-to hair style, because it was different from most of the bands I've seen.

By the time Rev Theory finally came on, people were anxious to hear the band they'd been waiting for, but sadly more than one technical problem led to a performance that didn't live up to expectations. The microphone was doing a horrible job at picking up sound, so the lead singer Rich Luzzi (who looked like a cross between Stanley Tucci and my more attractive cousin, Greg) basically had to scream his lungs out for us to hear anything, and frankly that just sounded bad. On a side note, I just googled Luzzi and found some awesome pictures of him with a different look, one that included many ripped muscles and a lack of upper body clothing. I may rescind my statement that Leigh Kakaty was the hottest person on stage. But anyway, the vocal problems were a let down, and I honestly expected to hear more songs that I knew. The only redeeming factor was that the last two songs of the night - "Hell Yeah" and "Justice" - were the most kickass in their repertoire, and completely filled up my satisfaction bar. 

All in all I was pleased with the bang for my buck ($13), since I had mostly been exposed to bands that I'll probably get some music from in the near future. I quite enjoyed my time at this venue that I'd never been to before. Typically at concerts I can get cranky real easily if I'm standing the entire night, especially between bands when there is nothing going on. Luckily this place had rows of rectangular block benches that we could rest on while waiting for the next band, and that might've been one of the contributing factors to the night being a success. Feet and back aches were minimal, and I was able to maintain a *lovely* personal space bubble because the place wasn't jam-packed, and we happened to pick one of the best spots in the room to sit. The only thing that needed fixing was their bathroom - two stalls is not enough for a hundred women. But that won't deter me from attending concerts at this venue again (ask me the name if you're interested) because like I said, it was a successful night. Thus ends my post on the 9th concert of my life so far!

And listen to that song up there. It's one of my faves, possibly ever. In the category of hyped up rock, anyway. 

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