After being catcalled by some idiot (who then stalled out on Central, take that ya dumb idiot) I arrived at the Launchpad. It was the least crowded I’ve seen it in a while which I found surprising because in the alternative scene in Albuquerque, I gathered that Palisades and Secrets are popular. I’ve seen Palisades once and that was last year at Warped Tour and I really enjoyed the show then, so I was excited to see what they would be like to see them in a small venue.
Certainly more people were there than at Warped, possibly because they’ve become more popular since last summer but it’s more likely that it’s because it was a Wednesday evening. Who has stuff to do then? I digress.
I got to my seat on the balcony just in time. Picturesque started playing as soon as I sat down. There were far more people on the floor than the balcony, which isn’t usually the case. Actually, that’s probably not true. It just feels that way to me because normally when I arrive late to a show and I get beer, I have to stand on my tippy toes behind a crowd of people sitting and standing. Glob bless, I still got center.
Picturesque has such a pronounced, exciting and consistent energy. Within the first song, just seeing them perform for a few minutes, I decided that they’re going to get huge in the alternative scene very soon. They connected with the audience not only with their music and energy, but they shared that it wasn’t their first time in town; The last time they were here they played a house show and one of their local friends was in the audience.
Lead singer Kyle Hollis' voice was noticeably high pitched. With his clean/unclean vocals he’s able to communicate very beautiful, sincere, deep emotions. Add that to the pop-punk, post-hardcore guitar riffs and brilliantly executed drums and it was very powerful and meaningful. I particularly liked the drummer. He was robust and explosive while also maintaining an intelligent and transposable consistency.
I don’t think I’ve never seen an opening band get an audience so amped up so quickly. Although, the crowd could have been ready to go before the show started. The audience was really receptive to the band's requests. They responded immediately and positively, which is kind of uncommon. Whenever I hear people say they love Albuquerque and the crowd is great, I hardly believe them. I think, “Don’t pretend like you think we’re special! I know you say that to Tulsa, too. Nothing is special about Tulsa to you and neither is Albuquerque. I see through your lies, you heathen!”
I know people here that go to shows are usually really into it, but seeing that audience it was incredible. I don’t think I can properly communicate it. The crowd moved as a whole and independently. Everyone was nice to each other. Everyone was in good spirits. There weren’t any people who were too drunk or too high. When I heard the bands thank the audience for being such a great crowd that night, I really believed they meant it.
Picturesque ended up playing about 5 songs. Before the last song played, the audience was getting antsy. The first mosh pit of the night happened shortly after the last song began.
At some point during the set change, when I was looking at my Faceplace, I saw that Secrets had to cancel because they were sick. It’s unfortunate but I understand. It seems to me a lot of bands that tour through Albuquerque (and probably elsewhere, I guess) are battling some kind of cold or similar sickness.
Too Close To Touch were exceptional performers. The well-known (and well-toured) alternative bands that I’ve seen have a very particular showmanship “move”: They put on a performance that interconnects with the other band members while doing their own thing. What I really mean is, they each do their own best version of sexy but it all flows together. It’s something I’ve noticed with Crown the Empire, We Came As Romans, Hollywood Undead, Silverstein, The Neighborhood and more that I can’t remember right now because I’m a little sleep deprived (sorry). While I didn’t completely enjoy their music, I really appreciated their performance and dedication to the audience. At one point, lead singer Keaton Pierce got a nosebleed (I gathered that it wasn’t uncommon for him, what a neeeeerd) and he kept going. What a trooper! For their entire set they were all very high energy and also super professional.
Finally Palisades took the stage. I noticed right away that Louis Miceli Jr.’s (lead vocals) voice wasn’t what it normally was like or how I remembered it, and I was disappointed. I blamed my summer-heat-induced craziness for misremembering the remarkable show they put on last time I saw them. Later, Miceli informed us that he was getting over whatever Secrets was coming down with, so I’m going to stand by my original not-
Regardless of the sickly vocalist, the crowd was wild. After the band absorbed some of the crowd’s energy, they were equally energized. The crowd was moshing and doing death walls, they were just as entertaining to watch as the band.
I really like Palisades because they conspicuously mix genres, which is the future of music (in my humble opinion). Palisades mainly mixes hardcore and dubstep (yaaas, I’m so into it) but I also noticed they did a hardcore and memestep mix.
For those of you who don’t know what memestep is, it’s relatively new, but it’s just using vocals from vines and mixing it with dubstep/hardcore electrona/general EDM. Like, for example, they used the “Damn, Daniel!” vocal from that well-known meme (which was awesome and caused me to leave my seat on the balcony and go downstairs). It was fantastic being at a show that was basically a post metal-hardcore rave, I loved it.
Even though Secrets wasn’t able to perform, I think the audience left satisfied. I know I did.
Did you get a feeling of deja vu when you were checking out the Alibi to see what's happening at the Launchpad this week? Me too. Then I realized we reprinted the same listings they sent us last week. Low Spirits, too. And Sunshine. Here's what they've got going on:
Friday, Nov. 27 at 9:00pm
Danksgiving 2015!! Mondo Vibrations • Dre Z • Burque Sol • Pocket Full of Dub
Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9:00pm
Let it Grow (Grateful Dead Tribute Band) • Pink Freud (Pink Floyd Tribute Band)
Sunday, Nov. 29 at 6:30pm
The Noise Presents TesseracT • The Contortionist • Erra • Skyharbor (as seen in Show Up!)
Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 7:30pm
Digitour Slaybells Fire: Sam Pottorff • Grant Landis • Diegosaurs • Andrew Fontenot • Maddie Welborn • Alex Lee
Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8:30pm
Trapt • First Decree • Throw the Temple
Friday, Nov. 27 at 9:00pm
5 Star Motelles Record Release Party • Angel Babies • Phantom Lake (Check out Geoff's interview with the lovely Motelles here)
Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9:30pm
Coffin Stuffers • Low Cash Ninjas • The Dying Beds • Silent Crush
Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7:00pm Between the Buried and Me • Enslaved • Intronaut • Native Construct
Launchpad was graced with Yung Knowledge, YAK Boy Fresh, BINGX and Stevie Stone on Sunday, Nov. 22. Yung Knowledge officially began the show. The duo were exceptionally charismatic and engaging. Easily captivating the crowd, they initiated audience participation and used that as a flawless segue between songs. YAK Boy Fresh (Y.ou A.lready K.now) was backed by a band – atypical for his work – but they all had incredible chemistry. YAK Boy Fresh’s flow was effortless, rhythmic and rousing. BINGX was extraordinarily entertaining and receptive to audience members. His high energy was relentless and unmatched.
Stevie Stone took the stage after a short film showing him escaping from a mental institution looking like Hannibal Lecter. Working with DJ Picasso, he was commanding and powerful. Stone’s passion for his music was easy to see and feel. He wanted his fans at Launchpad to know he appreciated them. He performed songs primarily from Strangeulation Vol. II; the crowd was wild and reflected Stone’s enthusiasm. With all the excitement and energy he was putting into the show, Stone took small breaks at the beginning of some songs before jumping up and dancing through his set. He invited a few groups of people from the crowd to join him, his touring crew and the other musicians on stage. All who joined him were eager to do so.
Stevie Stone is an unpretentious performer with outstanding content and flow. He subtly harmonizes with the music. He can stay in tempo but change rhythms with ease. His voice is profound and authoritative. When he’s on stage, there’s no misidentifying the drive and expertise he exudes.
After the show, Stevie Stone stayed to interact with fans. While his music is aggressive and direct, Stone was very kind and gentle with his fans. I watched him talk with and take photos with at least 20 people before I left. When I talked to him he was thoughtful and was genuinely concerned that I enjoyed myself. I talked with a few of the other musicians at the show; they were the same way. I felt welcomed and very pleased to see them all.
I loved watching the crowd and their energy which reflected the performers. Being unfamiliar with all of these musicians and their work, I looked to the crowd for guidance. The group was enthusiastic, wild, blissful, and passionate. Everyone was happy to be there, perhaps most of all Stevie Stone.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a chilly rub.