Bands Present : Express Company, Tripping Linda, The Charlestons, Jadisonotes, Cause for Diversion
Show was supposed to start at 6, but music began at 6:10.
So, all and all, not that bad of a setup time for Express Company, a band that mixed metal riffs with 3-part harmonies that verged on the edge of sounding like liveonrelease. All and all, the vocals were strong, but the 3-part harmonies were damaged at parts due to the strain of the P.A. The guitarist had a surprising sound, making a number of different arrangements and sounds with just his skill and one pedal. I personally kept thinking that this act would end after every song, as the time between songs was extended (they had to decide on which song to play). The only weak spots for Express Company came in two key areas: after these minute or so delays, there seemed to be a 4 or 5 second delay between when they started and when they actually started playing together. After this little delay, however, the act would be able to sync themselves and kick ass until their next delay. Secondly, and this problem can be worked out with a little more practice, the lead singer squeaked on the high notes during the earlier songs of their set.
Express Company Strengths : Multi-part harmonies, Guitar riffs.
Express CompanyWeaknesses: â€œFell Asleep During Sexâ€ had a feel of incompleteness.
After a minor break in the music, Tripping Linda took the stage. Tripping Linda is a four piece act, with vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer, and the vocalist tried desperately to wake up the crowd, which was by this time still just standing pretty much against the walls of the hall. Where the guitarist of Express Company was the innovative force behind the band, the drummer really filled that role for Tripping Linda. TL depended a little more than Express Company on covers to fill their set, and included covers of Something Corporateâ€™s â€œHurricaneâ€ and New Found Gloryâ€™s â€œHead on Collisionâ€, which were both spot-on in their enactment, and really showed a more polished side of Tripping Linda than during some of their songs. The most frightening point of the night came when the drummer broke his stick in the opening lines of â€œHead On Collisionâ€, almost blinding himself when the head of the stick hit him in the eye. Their original, â€œWho Needs You?â€ gave the audience more of the same polished vocals in a song that might have otherwise been passed over in a review like this, while â€œWhat You Sayâ€ had the drums overpowering every other instrument, really making the song hard to hear. By far, â€œOne Dayâ€ had the most coherent sound of any of their songs, with an incredibly catchy and memorable chorus; while â€œOne Dayâ€ had a muffled guitar, the contest between the drums and the bass more than made up for any weakness in that section.
Tripping Linda Strengths : Singerâ€™s Personality, Ability to do impressive covers, Multi-part harmonies.
Tripping Linda Weaknesses : Guitaristâ€™s singing (Not a big weakness, needs to be polished a little more)
When I saw The Charlestons on stage, I finally recognized some of the individuals who were up at the front of the hall. Fronted by Evan Parker, The Charlestons also included Shawn Porter on bass. More straight-forward and brash than the last two bands, The Charlestons played a style of punk that was much more reminiscent of the late eighties and early nineties punk like Screeching Weasel, Pinhead Gunpowder, and even M.O.D. and The Meatmen. Shawn finally brings the bass guitar the attention and loudness that should be an ability of any good bassist. Continuing the treends exhibited by the bands immediately preceding them, The Charlestons sounded more coherent and cohesive than the prior acts, and they also depended more heavily on covers, using songs from The Riverdales, Darlington, and The Huntingtons. Evan provided a large amount of stage presence during their set, made all the more surprising when one realized that his voice kept cutting out at key points during the songs. If one was just listening to the band casually, one would not even have known that Evan was having problems with his voice at any point during the show. However, The Charlestons were not just about doing a number of covers, as both their originals â€œVoodoo Meâ€ and â€œKelly Part IIâ€ showcased the amazing bass of Shawn, the hard-hitting drums of Peter Cottontail (Guys, give me a real name here!), and Evanâ€™s breakneck vocals. However, the aforementioned cover of The Huntingtons might have been the high point of their set, as it had completely killer drum beats and incredibly cool vocals by Evan, culminating in the chorus of â€œWoo Woo Woo, Oh Oh Ohâ€.
The Charlestons Strengths : Bass Work, Ability to Keep Styles.
The Charlestons Weaknesses : Evanâ€™s Voice cutting out (Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s a one time thing)
Jadisonotes came on the stage next, and their set was headed off by Joshâ€™s debating on how to properly amplify the piano that would only be used for one song. However, that one song that was to be played on the piano, â€œNever Till Foreverâ€, was the highest point of the night, the one song that showed me that this band had something to them that was simply amazing. Josh sat at the piano and sang during this track, and with a voice that sounded like the vocalist from Yellowcard, Marc Schultz, and the lead singer from Against Me!, he made this a work of art. After pushing the piano aside, Josh grabbed his familiar weapon, a guitar (albeit an acoustic one), and started to jam with the rest of the band, which included Joe on bass and Shawn on the drums. 10/30/02, their next song, began with an incredibly odd sounding mesh between the acoustic guitar and the electric bass, but rapidly went on to liken themselves to The Appleseed Cast, Moneen, and Osceola. If you had heard some of their earliest songs on mp3.com, you would be as surprised as me to be this taken back by the songs they played tonight. This is not to say that any of their songs on the website were weak, but it just is that Jadisonotes were so amazing tonight. The crowd that had gathered around for The Charlestons had grown to include another 10 or 15 people, and the people that had lined themselves against the wall at the start of the show had either decided to leave for the moment or join the ever growing crowd. A later song in the set, â€œThe Bridgeâ€, really started to show that Josh could make his instrument both a deadly weapon and a tool to break anyone in the hallâ€™s hearts, making such innovative stylings with it. The song immediately following it, â€œEye To Eyeâ€ (Is this right?), was almost perfect, as the only thing that could possibly be done to make it better would be to add a synthesizer to the mix to take off some of the dependence on the guitar, as it really started to feel as if the guitar was doing double duty during it. Their final song, â€œSunday Afternoonâ€, might have been a stronger ending track if the piano was wheeled out again â€“ the track didnâ€™t have the correct feel to it with the guitar.
Jadisonotes Strengths: Emotion, Acoustic Amazingness, Skill with Piano, Strong Bass
Jadisonotes Weaknesses: You tell me!
The final band of the night, Cause for Diversion, came up to the stage and practically everyone that had disappeared at some point during the night had reappeared, and more people started showing up at this late point during the night. This act was also another one that was a four piece, with the vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer, but the sound of this band was much more different than Tripping Linda. The lead singer of this band, Brenden, was incredibly alive and jumping around and screaming into the mike at a number of points. But donâ€™t let the term screaming get you, either â€“ only part of Cause for Diversion seems to fit the hardcore stereotype, and the simple fact is that they can do virtually any style of music, tie it to the polar opposite style, and make it into a song that everyone will like. The beginning track, which had about a minute of just pure heaviness before the vocals kick in, seems more suited for a Hatebreed or Downthesun song to the Saves the Day style that Brenden sings in during this track. After this initial hardness, a more subdued sound overtakes the band. But, before you start thinking they are starting to sound like Phish or something, wait: subdued from what they were playing still includes a very technically-savvy act that can blow speakers, and that is what Cause for Diversion really starts grooving into. CFD really are like a rollercoaster ride; you know exactly what is going to happen, but you are still amazed at what happens during and after when it does happen. Such is the case with â€œShatteredâ€, while light but forboding guitars rapidly pick up speed and drop the listener into an aural assault that will leave you shaken, but definitely wanting more. â€œThe Silhouetteâ€ really has an AFI sound to it and has Brenden really pulling himself together to make his voice a fourth instrument.
Cause for Diversion Strengths: Screaming, Stage Presence, Audience, Loudness
Cause for Diversion Weaknesses: Their loud sound does not really match their stereo sound.
All and all, this was probably one of the most memorable shows I have even been to, with possibly the only show topping that being Rufus Wainwright last year. Nah, fuck that, this was the best show Iâ€™ve ever taken part in, and every individual that I personally knew (Brenden, Joe, Shawn, Josh, and Even) has matured so much from when I last saw Psychobabble, White Trash, or any of those other bands oh so many years ago. I have a feeling that some of these acts will do something very large with their career; try to help them by booking them places, buying them food and alcohol, and most of all, by buying their merchandise. Look on my website, http://www.neufutur.com for more reviews, including (in the near future), a review of the latest EPs by Cause for Diversion, â€œShatteredâ€ and The Charlestons, â€œTurn it Up â€˜til your mommys screaminâ€™ and your sistersâ€™ dancinâ€™.â€ Check out CFD at http://www.causefordiversion.com and The Charlestons at http://thecharlestons.2ya.com ; Tripping Linda at http://www.geocities.com/trippinglinda and Jadisonotes at http://www.geocities.com/jadisonotes .