Thursday, Apr 21: Nicolatron • electronic, house • Coco Tsosie • Pezz • progessive electro • Sumsubstance
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.
Caleb Shomo is Beartooth
Shane Told of Silverstein has created a podcast called Lead Singer Syndrome. The show is about lead singers in the alternative music scene and their life and struggles as told by themselves. The first episode is an interview with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth, formerly Attack! Attack!, and was recorded during Warped Tour 2015. As a huge fan of Beartooth, I was excited to listen to Shomo's first hand account of his career and the path he's taken.
Shomo started touring when he was 15 as a keyboardist with the band Attack! Attack!, eventually making his way to lead singer. I never was really into A!A! and after listening to the interview, I realize I wasn't the only one (it seems comparable to how people feel about Black Veil Brides, you love them or hate them). Shomo talks about the depression and ADHD that he dealt with prior to being a musician and those same health issues coupled with eating disorders and alcoholism that surfaced fully while working in A!A!
I found Shomo very relatable. While I may not be a professional musician, I'm also in my early 20s and have dealt with many of these things, too: depression, ADHD, eating disorders, alcoholism, being with people who aren't good for me, etc. And to hear one of my favorite musicians talk about their personal experiences and considering how that translates to their music is almost cathartic. I feel like I really connect to Beartooth on a deeper level than before.
I was surprised to learn that all the recording for Beartooth's album was done by Shomo. He wrote all the lyrics and recorded all the instruments for the album Sick. The four other members are featured for touring and live music in general. Beartooth has been astonishingly well received and for that all to be based on the experiences and the talent of one person is incredible. Sick comes straight from Shomo's heart and is his truth. While musing over being a highly metaphorical writer, Shomo says in his songs he alludes to his struggles with Attack! Attack! and his depression and suicidal thoughts that come from them. The day after he wrote the song "I Have a Problem" he quit A!A!
Most people that have listened to the album would assume that he wrote a lot about alcoholism and substance abuse issues, but that was all metaphorical, although he has dealt with alcoholism. He says it's easier for people to understand and accept that musicians deal with substance abuse issues rather than mental issues such as depression, which can be argued about most people with mental health issues.
The primary focus in this podcast is Shomo's journey with Attack! Attack! which Shomo hasn't spoken very much about, so it's very illuminating for folks that have been following him for the last seven years. Originally Shomo was the keyboardist and transitioned to guitar then to lead (clean and unclean) vocalist. After being signed to Rise Records via myspace, A!A! began recording their first album shortly after. Someday Came Suddenly, A!A!'s first recorded album after being signed, sold approximately 150,000 in the first year of sales which came as a huge surprise to most people considering the amount of criticism they received.
Told is an excellent interviewer, and is able to ask very perceptive questions because he's been an active musician for well over a decade. He's able to relate to his guest on a very personal level. Told is very astute and able to draw out some wonderfully insightful observations and stories. New episodes are released every Monday for the foreseeable future and I plan on listening to every single one.
Sonic reductions of Alien Space Kitchen, Lightning Bolt and Tamaryn
In this week’s Sonic Reducer, Geoff Plant and M. Brianna Stallings review releases from Alien Space Kitchen, Lightning Bolt and Tamaryn. Watch music videos from featured bands after the jump.
Car Thief Steals Your Face
Hardcore thrash metal outfit, Car Thief's new self-titled album is a blistering ride down a highway of bite-sized ragers. Short and salty (as opposed to sweet), the album's roster of 2 minute face-shredders blends high-speed guitar and bass stylings with growl/scream vocals to create a noisy melange of slammin' sound. A particular stand out on the record, Pre Load, takes the listener through a litany of change-ups without missing a beat. Their CD Release party at Burt's this Saturday night with DeadMary, Music is the Enemy, and Asscobra is gonna be a balls-out good time.
Flyer on the Wall
Out-of-towners The Anchor and Fiction Reform perform with local punkers Stabbed in Back, Adam Hooks & His Hangups and Emergency Ahead. The first three of the five bands are playing the Way Out West Fest in Tucson, Ariz., hence the show’s moniker, “Quest for W.O.W. Fest!” (Which could easily be confused with a gathering of massively multiplayer online role-playing gamer dorks.) Bands play for the win at Amped (4200 Lomas NE) on Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is seven gold.
There’s a Ph.D. in the Mosh Pit
Bad Religion celebrates 30 years of intellect
The early punks and pre-punks openly pursued starry-eyed deals with major record labels. The majors, however, felt burned by commercial failure and unprofessionalism (New York Dolls: “They’re junkies!” The Sex Pistols: “Loudmouth yobs!”) and wanted little to do with bands that followed. Smelling further disaster, the majors backed off until “safe” acts tagged as new wave appeared.