Saosin, Norma Jean, Alexisonfire, +

Written by Big Smile Staff

Posted Oct 5, 2007, by JAMES RANSOM.

This is a show review for The Dear and Departed, Alexisonfire, Norma Jean and Saosin at The Grove in Anaheim Ca on 10-04-07. Band: The Dear and Departed Bio: Like a mournful violin melody cutting through a chaotic symphony, the band's dark aesthetic and esoteric approach to their mix of punk and new wave has more in common with The Cure, The Church and Sisters Of Mercy than the increasingly pedestrian sub-par offerings cluttering up the pages of the monthly music magazines. They are a fresh breath in a room filled with stagnant air. The Dear & Departed have started at a pace most bands would never finish. In their short existence they have built a devoted following and boast quite a story, sharing stages with AFI and Avenged Sevenfold in America and overseas and laying their hat down in their adopted Orange County hometown to craft their lush debut album. Chris Vrenna, whose production resume includes U2, Smashing Pumpkins and Killing Joke in addition to his work as drummer/programmer for Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Gnarls Barkley, is producing the band's debut album, with additional production from AFI's Jade Puget. It is a story most Hollywood scribes would kill to have written. Dan Under, Joel Bourne and Simon O'Gorman have survived a lot together since moving to America from Australia and New Zealand. They have slept on couches, in vans and in squats and watched "sure thing" record deals fall apart. There have been triumphs as well, including patronage from platinum bands (like AFI, who invited Dan Under to sing on "Decemberunderground") and mutual respect from cult artists alike. In a short amount of time, The Dear & Departed has won an international fanbase and developed even further into a potent outfit that mixes in disparate influences from New Order to Placebo. Backed by boutique label Science Records, and with new members Darren Parkinson and Welsh import David Williams firmly in place, The Dear & Departed's darkly romantic artistic vision will prove as unstoppable as its members determination to be heard. Sound: Electronic/Rock Website: Review: This band put on a great show. They had a lot of energy on stage and did a great job of crowd participation. Normally electronic music isn’t my thing, but they transposed all of the electronic parts into guitar parts. I was impressed by their show and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is into AFI. Band: Alexisonfire Bio: When a band names itself after the worlds only lactating contortionist stripper, you know you are in for something different. As with the original act, you know that some people are going to be fascinated, some will be in awe, and some will consider the whole lot to be a complete and utter waste of time. This is a band of extremes: screaming and pleading, ugly and beautiful, poetic and obscene, obvious and sublime. You can think of it however you want. That is after all, the point. Alexisonfire rose up out of the Southern Ontario underground in late 2001 like some monstrous and utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress. Hitting the ground with an immediate full head of steam, Dallas Green, George Pettit, Wade MacNeil, Chris Steele and Jordan Hastings have not only impressed the critics with their sour/sweet approach to performance and writing, but are recognized for their stellar musicianship, and the palpably pent-up tightness of the band live. This is music for both sides of your brain. In your left ear, the poignant and melodic vocals of Dallas, injected with the devilishly sweet phrasings of the axe-wielding Wade, speak of impulse and introspection. In your right ear, George offers the testimony of the tortured soul, syncopated power-scream vocals that energize and counterpoint -- a couple of cartoon-character angels and devils sitting on your shoulders, offering 2 very different interpretations of the same musical message. Alexisonfire knows that the fans arent stupid. The fans know the real deal when they see it, and in the case of AOF, they seem to have told 2 friends, who told 2 friends, and so on. During the year that followed the release of the self-titled 2002 debut album, the band has shot into the spotlight like a streaker at an All-Star game: 5 videos reach Heavy rotation on MuchMusic (the first hardcore artist to ever chart at ..1 on Powershift); MMVA awards for Counterpoints and Number Them and Accidents; Best Video Award for Pulmonary Archery at The Indies (Canadian Independent Music Awards); CASBY awards in 2004 AND 2005; New Group of the Year at the 2005 Junos; major tours in Japan, Australia, and the UK; and the everlasting status as the poster boys for hardcore crossover appeal. Watch Out debuted at ..6 on the Top 200 Soundscan chart, the second highest debut that week. Twelve weeks later, the St. Catharines natives officially attained Gold Record certification in Canada, and have received a second Gold Record for the self-titled debut. This may all sound like SOP for an up-and-coming rock ensemble, but wait a minute; this is band that often describes its music as the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight. This hasnt happened before. Nobody is more aware of this fact than the boys in Alexisonfire. Taking it all in stride, they remain guile-less, affable, and capable of equal amounts of sarcasm and self-deprecation. They rock huge venues like they would a sweaty all-ages club in St. Catharines, which in turn is rocked like they did when AOF germinated in the basements and rec rooms of their now proud but baffled parents not so long ago. AOFs songs scream of intellectual fury basted with ladlefuls of vocal pop melody; its a bipolar magnet, and if you stop and listen, or God forbid, see a live show, itll all oddly start to make sense. Resistance is futile. Sound: Hardcore Indi Rock Website: Review: First off, this is one of my favorite bands and I was very excited to see them. They put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. They are definitely worth your time to check out. Dallas Green also has a side acoustic project called “City And Colour” and is equally amazing. They played one of my favorite songs called “Happiness By The Kilowatt” and made it about 10 minutes long, which I loved. I was on the stage watching about half of their set. I was standing right next to the band Every Time I Die, Tim and Spencer from Underoath, Sonny from First To Last, the band Take The Crown, and many other well-known faces in the music scene. It was awesome to be so close to those guys because I only normally see them far away on a stage. The crowd participation was awesome and it was an amazing experience to see them again. CHECK THEM OUT! Band: Norma Jean Bio: Hard-hitting, hard-working touring band from Atlanta Georgia, NJ are well known for their intense live show. Sound: Hardcore/Metal/Rock Website: Review: This band is known for their insane live show. They had homemade movie clips playing on huge screens, a crazy light show, and unbelievable stage presence. This is one of the best bands I’ve seen live and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to see a real show. Their set from start to finish, was all passion and energy. I didn’t want their set to end. When it did end, the bassist was up on a high speaker rocking out, then just threw his bass down 20 feet to the floor. This move impresses anyone. He then jumped down and threw it again. The audience obviously seemed to enjoy this and cheered their hearts out. NJ had tons of die-hard fans screaming along to every song. CHECK THEM OUT NEXT TIME THEY ARE IN YOUR TOWN! Band: Saosin Bio: Saosin formed in early 2003, with Beau Burchell and Justin Shekoski on guitar and Anthony Green on vocals. Within a few months, bassist Chris Sorenson and drummer Alex Rodriguez were added to the line up. In February 2004, Anthony decided to leave the band due to personal reasons. The band started working with Cove Reber on vocals as of June 2004. Sound: Melodic Rock Website: Review: Saosin is a band that I am really into. They put on an amazing show, period. Whether it be the triple guitar swing or just their unbelievable stage presence, they put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The sound quality of the Grove was mind-blowing. The bass hit you in the chest so hard. If you like bands with high pitched vocals such as Circa Survive, (Ex-Saosin Vocalist Anthony Green’s new band) then check out Saosin. Go out and buy their full length cd. You will be very impressed.

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