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 V.16 No.2 | January 11 - 17, 2007 


At Home with Left Brain

Original progressive rock, fresh from the oven

Left Brain
Tabatha Roybal
Left Brain

Imagine a metal band at a house party. On ripped-up sofas, overturned chairs, and a floor littered with empty cans and bottles, a crowd moshes wildly as the band trashes its way through the set. A glass vase falls from the shelf, shattering on the tile floor and bringing the party to a halt. The moshers disappear, the sofas are repaired, the cans and bottles are (mostly) gone, but the band remains.

When Left Brain rehearses, it’s always a house party.

Left Brain started as a jam band, with John Allen on guitar, Steve Keator on drums and Tristin Rogers with vocals. They spent the summer of 2005 jamming until bass player Michael Clifford joined the ranks in September. With the final spot in the band filled, Left Brain got serious about taking their music beyond just a hobby. The first step: moving into Keator's house.

"We all live together, we eat together, we practice together," Keator says. "If you're going to go on the road, travel the country and live in tour buses, you'd better start living in a house and see if you can get along."

Shortly after the move, they signed up to play their first gig—a block party that failed miserably. (The host of the event didn't acquire the needed permits, so the party was cancelled.) Left Brain called a friend at Harlow's on the Hill and booked their debut concert, which included other bands from the defunct show. "It was our most valuable lesson," Keator says. "We need to do this ourselves."

On top of each member working a full-time job, Left Brain is continually writing new music, attending shows of other local bands, flyering for upcoming shows, being ever-present in the online community and playing their own gigs. They do everything themselves—even putting together their debut album, Bury the Facade, with a little help from Sid Garcia of Sight 16 Studios.

Bury the Facade is the first album Left Brain has released for mass consumption. But in reality, this isn't their first record—it's just the first record they've liked enough to bring outside the studio. Six months ago they completed a 10-song demo CD they weren't happy with, so they took the loss and didn't release it. "The music wasn't as hard as we wanted it to be, it wasn't as deep as we wanted it to be," Rogers says. All this from a band that’s just over a year old.

The depth of Bury the Facade comes in a few different flavors, the first and most obvious being its depth of craftsmanship. The professional quality of the album art--all original work by guitarist, graphic artist and self-declared promotion whore Allen--is a gateway into the equally professional and driven musical story inside. Through haunting bass hooks, forceful lyrics, raging guitar and driving percussion, Bury the Facade embodies hard rock with depth not often found on a debut album. Left Brain has arguably earned the moniker "The Hardest Working Band In Burque" and Bury the Facade is one more piece of evidence.

Catch Left Brain and the release of Bury the Facade on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) at 9 p.m. with SuperGiant, Anesthesia and the Ya Ya Boom Project! There's no cover and CDs and T-shirts will be available. For more info, visit


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