Taco Tuesday @ Surf City Saloon 8/17/10 (Ska/Punk)
Side Show Productions Presents: music=life Battle of the Bands @ Surf City Saloon. Aug 17, 2010.
The saloon was low lit except for the stage. The background music was bumping and the skate videos were playing, and even the angles game was on TV not quite the setting for a typical show. There was about 40 people in the bar all chatting and laughing amongst themselves waiting for the first band of the evening. First band up was "Taco Tuesday" which didn't even seem to arouse the crowd as they were setting up on the little stage. Justin (Side Show Productions) ran up on stage gave the cue to kill the house music and to turn on his mic he gets the crowd all pumped up for the begging of the battle of the bands. Justin steps off stage "Taco Tuesday" then erupts into a wall of super poppy "ska" that you can't help but not to start skanking around the bar, the song then flipped a 180 and turned into a fast paced sing along punk song infused with trumpets and saxophone. By the third song "Taco Tuesday" still had a driving force backed up by loads of energy and exciting behavior to excite and keep the crowd interested. As an example half way through their set during a ska ballad with a saxaphone solo, the lead singer jumped on another member of the bands back and did a lap around the bar. Just picture a curly mow-hawked, handle bar mustached man riding the back of a shirtless man. Overall the whole entire set oozing with energy and never had a dull moment. I would even compare them to early Blink 182, Operation Ivy, Real Big Fish, and Rancid.
Justin once again runs up on stage got the crowd riled up with a beer chug and give away. With everyone hooting and hollering, Justin announces the next band "Stupid Flanders". The 7 members all clad in black on black and a bright yellow tie. They opened with a wall of blaring trumpets, saxaphone, and wailing guitars. Which turned into a really choppy punk song almost metal. Ska typically being really sharp and crisp sounding this band brought a trashy dirty sound that you find in most punk bands. As their set went on, I did notice that each song the energy on stage dwindled and they seemed not so tenacious about pleasing the audience. But on the contrary they did bring something amazing to the show: covers! They covered "twist and shout", "smells like teen spirit" (Nirvana), and "the teenage mutant ninja turtles" tv show theme song. Overall "Stupid Flanders" did have a great set but did seem as if they were bored or not enjoying the amount of people in attendance at the bar that evening. Musically they executed ska core perfectly and i would compare them to Rancid, Rage Against the Machine, Smash Mouth, Supertones, and Real Big Fish.
The next band up was called "Roosterhead". Quite the surprise to see a two piece band on stage: just a guitarist and drummer. Comparable to the two previous bands which each had 6 and 7 members. they started almost right away with eye catching instruments and equipment all covered in U.V. paint and well even the members had uv paint on them. The lead guitarist was dorned with goat horns and a brightly colored guitar that broke the silence in the bar with a punk song that you would hear in the 80's and early 90's, like sex pistols, ramones, exploited, total choas. As the set went on, their sound would twist like double helix spinning your mind around itself and recollect just to be twisted again. At times I would say that "Roosterhead" sounded more like "Butthole Surfers", and even like "Nine Inch Nails" the "Downward Spiral" album. Spite the lack of members their music filled the room and intrigued the audience. To help fill in the gaps of audio the guitarist would use his pedals to replay previously rcoreded audio clips of distortion or guitar riffs and pick up the bass guitar which would then make them sound like a full peice band. By the end of their set, I felt as if I had been sent on a adventure of our imagination to find the wildest and deepest of deires and mystery. With that being said the only down side to the set was the lack of energy due to that two members were committed to playing an instrument and not able to interact with the crowd.
Justin introduced the last band of the evening, "Race Card" to the stage. They brutalized the still air with a heavy overpower metal intro song. Which shifted the dynamic of the evenings style of bands. The first song did remind me of "Tool" but with more chuggy breakdowns. The lead vocalist was wearing a "Jay-Z" tour shirt and construction gloves and the rest of the members of the band had dredlocks and or long hair. At first, I started to be optimisitic with the band but once every song dragged on and seemed to have no differential between when one ended and one started. Another problem was that the bassist was way too overpowering that I would hear would be the rumbling of the bass and the snap of the snare, completely missing the solos and riffs that the guitarist was playing. Also they didn't really intereact with the crowd; it seemed that this just routine just "another" show. The good part about their set was the ending; they tore up my ear drums with a heavy, chuggy, riff filled closing song. It was amazing and made me sad that was their closer. Overall "Race Card" were decent musicians, knew their instruments, and their style but lacked the individualism not be drowned out in the huge metal core scene in LA and OC.
After the last band cleared the stage it was time collect the votes and announce the winner of this evening's battle of the bands. Drum roll please................................................................................ ............................................... The two bands moving on are: "Taco Tuesday" as our overall winners, and "Stupid Flanders". So keep your ears and eyes peeled for these bands coming at you in the near future.