Save Our Scene


Mac’s Bar 12/3/09

During the stress of finals and school and all the other stuff I’ve got going on right now, this show was exactly what I needed. The Welcome to New England Tour came through Michigan and made its stop in Lansing at Mac’s Bar and I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

First up was Accidents (myspace.com/accidentsmi), a local hardcore band. I came in a little late so I missed the beginning of the set, but was still really impressed by what I saw. The band had a ton of energy and sounded really solid. They were heavily influenced by the greats of their genre, such as American Nightmare, and definitely did a good job of emulating that sound. Accidents were just really happy to just be playing with the bands that they were with, something that is really good to see. Definitely check them out.

Next was another local act, Incarta (myspace.com/incarta). I feel like Incarta gets put on a lot of metal shows in the area and they consistently bring a fairly big crowd, but I feel like the passion just isn’t there. You can definitely tell that Accidents are fans of the music they play while it just feels like Incarta is doing it because it’s cool. This further shows when they choose to cover a song like “Heaven” by DJ Sammy in the middle of their set. I would personally rather see them cover a song that fits more in their genre. Maybe their music just isn’t my taste, but I feel like Incarta just isn’t in it for the right reasons.

A Loss for Words (myspace.com/alossforwords) was the first of the touring bands to play. They are a pop punk band from Boston that is heavily influenced by the Boston hardcore scene. A lot of people think of bands like Every Avenue when they think of pop punk, but AL4W is far from that. They have all the elements and passion of hardcore and fit perfectly on a bill with heavier acts like Vanna and Therefore I Am. Their set was super tight and they flew through it. I really liked the dynamic of shared vocals between the lead singer and bassist and thought they put a really cool spin on their music by combining elements of their various influential genres. Their set got cut a little short, but was still really awesome. Definitely check them out.

Next was Therefore I Am (myspace.com/thereforeiam). They were definitely heavier than AL4W, but still fit the pacing of the bill. I was really impressed by the passion of this band. The vocalist kept talking about how the band and the audience were one unit and how he wanted everyone to be having a good time. The whole band had a ton of energy and was all over the stage while still hitting every note. Their final song absolutely blew me away. The band was having trouble with the microphones and eventually the vocalist just broke down to screaming the words without any mic and letting out all of his energy on the stage. It was really a site to be seen. I was a little unimpressed by this band’s latest album when I gave it a listen, but upon seeing them live, I definitely will be checking them out again.

And finally, Vanna (myspace.com/vanna). There was a lot of hype for this band just in hearing about them and talking to friends and they did not disappoint. They had a very cool dynamic of really heavy parts mixed with very sing-a-long-able vocals. All were very talented musicians who were very into what they were doing and the vocalist really knew how to work the crowd. I don’t think they were my favorite act of the night, but they still definitely impressive. It was just a really solid, tight set.

This tour definitely accomplished what it wanted with the idea of Welcome to New England. I felt like I really got a sense of what the NE hardcore scene is about. Everyone there was singing a long and all the bands were really interactive with the crowd, sometimes jumping into the fray themselves. It was a really cool sense of community to be a part of it.

Finals are draining my brain. I hope this post gives you all a little break from it as well as you make the push till the end of the semester.

-Matt



Mac’s Bar 11/27/09

Hey interwebs. Sorry that it has been awhile since I’ve had any new content, but the holidays and my play got a hold of me and wouldn’t spare me any free time, but I’m back, and I hope to get a steadier stream of content going from here on out. Enough babble though, let’s talk music!

I capped off my Black Friday at Mac’s Bar in Lansing this year. The first act to perform was Apollo (myspace.com/123apollo) from just outside of Detroit. To be quite honest, I just wasn’t really impressed. They sounded a lot like a mix between Coldplay and Muse with an attempt at Sigur Ros. However, it wasn’t as strong as their influences. While the lead singer/keyboardist/guitar player seemed to really be enjoying himself and was into the music, the rest of his band seemed less than enthused. I feel like the talent is there though and the band has potential, they just need to figure out what music they want to play.

Next was Good Weather for Airstrikes (myspace.com/gwfaband) from Howell, MI. Yet another solid set from some of my favorite dudes. They have a definite passion for the music they are making and it certainly shows in their live show. Today, they debuted a holiday song they recorded with a friend of theirs, Erin Joy Wall. The song they played was a cover of the classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and they have turned it into something new and awesome. They put a dark post-rock layer on the song that is accented by Wall’s incredible voice. They turned a simple holiday song into an incredibly emotional song and have once again impressed. I’m really looking forward to some new tunes from these boys.

After GWFA was Company of Thieves (myspace.com/companyofthieves) from Chicago. I don’t even know fully how to describe this band to you. They just absolutely blew me away. I came in from outside the bar to hear southern rock ala Colour Revolt and Manchester Orchestra being led by a woman with the pipes to rival Regina Spektor and more stage presence than just about anyone I’ve ever seen. I was absolutely floored by everything about this band and they have quickly gone into heavy rotation for me. Everything about them was just tight and well put together. I suggest you check them out for yourselves; it’s really the only way to understand.

And finally, Annuals (myspace.com/annuals) from North Carolina. I had listened to this band before coming into the show and was really excited to see them live. They’ve got a really cool sound that uses a lot of different instrumentation and weird layers to tackle indie rock. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t really fit into any set sub-genre. While I enjoy them on album, I have to say I was pretty unimpressed live. Their energy seemed pretty low, despite the fact that they sounded really really tight. They did however use some really cool lighting effects by placing LED lights in clear drums and I really like it when bands take up the little things like lights. I just felt like they were pretty average though. A tight set and good sound, but just pretty boring. That’s it for my post-Thanksgiving show.

Please check out the above bands, especially the Michigan bands. I took a ton of shots at the show and I just upgraded my Flickr account, so expect lots of photos!

Best wishes,

-Matt



The Annex 11/13/09

Happy belated Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you all stepped on 6 cracks, walked under 12 ladders, and spent your day walking in circles around black cats while saying Macbeth on stage. While you were making a fool of yourself, I was at the Apathetic Critic CD release party at the Annex in Brighton, MI. If your bad luck left you alive, read on to hear about the show!

First up was Ports of Aidia (myspace.com/portsofaidia). I was unaware going into the show, but apparently Ports of Aidia’s singer quit sometime between now and the last time I saw them. The band still played the show in spite of the loss however and did pretty damn well, all things considered. There was a notable drop in energy from there normal show, but splitting the songs up the way they did was actually pretty effective. The bass player is also a very good screamer, which helped. I talked to the band and they are looking for a new singer soon, wish them the best of luck with that. A very strong set from some great guys, I hope all works out for them.

By some cosmic chain of cataclysmic events, I haven’t seen Jeff Pianki (myspace.com/jeffpiankimusic) … still. I went and got food during his set. I am a failure.

Third was Good Weather for Airstrikes (myspace.com/gwfaband). They play a very cool brand of post rock influenced indie rock that sounds a bit like a blend of Explosions in the Sky and Death Cab for Cutie. Today was another great set for them and being on a big stage like the Annex was very good for them. The sound was much better than what they were used to and it helped. I did feel like they got off time a few times, but it was still very impressive. They are very passionate about their music and that really came out in their last song as guitarists Joe Hillier and James Radick both went nuts at the end of their last song. They always are a solid show, definitely check them out.

Next was Tiger! Tiger! (myspace.com/tigertiger). I recently had a conversation about how it is hard to come up with bands for Tiger! Tiger! to open for. They play such a unique sound that is so broadly influenced that I find it hard to fit them to a bill really well. In no way is this an insult though. They are another band who is quickly maturing and it’s great to see. They played mostly new songs tonight and the new songwriting is so impressively more dynamic and deep than their previousEP. I can’t wait to hear the new stuff. They played a solid set, even though both the guitarist and bassist broke a string. It did seem that bassist Nick Weigand was a little out of it tonight though; his energy was just a little low. Still, great set from a great band.

And finally, Apathetic Critic (myspace.com/apatheticcritic). I don’t even know where to begin, this was easily one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in a long time, bar none. The band brought guitarist Avery Black’s brother onstage as a second drummer/percussionist and played their new album from front to back. And blew everyone away. The started their set by playing the first three songs in rapid succession and then slowed the throttle down to give people a chance to breathe. Those that knew the words were singing along at the top of their lungs and moving and having a great time. But when the band got to the last couple of songs, they really showed just how far they’ve come as musicians.

Before they played Vernon, Apathetic Critic announced that this would be Jeremy, the bassist’s last show. AC has been a big part of the Livingston County scene for a long time, so all were sad to see he was going. The song was very emotional for everyone, especially best friends Avery and Jeremy who came together to sing parts of the song. After that, Avery said that he was dedicating their next song to a friend of his who recently passed away. He was a Brighton High School student and good friend of many in attendance. The song was very emotional and had everyone in tears as Avery quietly played guitar and sang alone. It was an incredibly moving experience and the whole room was very connected to what was going on. They finished their set with two much more upbeat songs and left the song to resounding applause. They were asked to do an encore and played the fan favorite You Don’t Stop and invited the audience on stage to help them sing the song. The tears were all smiles at this point as everyone sang and danced in absolute bliss.

I can’t even begin to do this night justice. Shows like this are why I started this site. All the bands were friends, all the fans were friends, and during Apathetic Critic’s set, we were one big community. It was the tightest I’d seen our scene in a long long time and it was a truly magical experience. There is nothing like that feeling and it only comes around every once in a while. Thanks to Apathetic Critic for playing an incredible set and writing one of the most incredible records I’ve heard in a long time. They’re keeping this scene alive and deserve all the praise in the world. They are definitely one of the best bands in Michigan right now, and I reiterate that they are only 16 years old.

There are a few photos up on Flickr with more to come soon. Please check out all the bands listed above. And have a great day!

-Matt



Review: Finding Home – Apathetic Critic

ApatheticCriticAlbumCover

Why yes, they are still in high school. I imagine in the coming months, many people will be asking how Avery Black, Parker Munson, and Jeremy Head, three high school students, have managed to create one of the best albums to come out of the underground Michigan music scene. Talent, determination, and a lot of hard work are clearly their secrets to success, and all the work they’ve put into Finding Home make it well worth the wait.

The album opens up softly with the sounds of Black plugging in his guitar and the trio opening the studio, but from the first riff, the album starts a journey for the listener that is all the while diverse and passionate. The first two songs are a fast paced blitz led by alternating vocals and harmonies between Munson and Black, who both have found where they fit comfortably vocally after playing together for a few years. By the third song, the band  throttles back and lets Head lead the way with smooth bass grooves in “No Idea.” The disc opens with these three songs that showcase how the band can go from a happy jam session, to a raw and angry emotional trip, to a smooth and heartfelt slowdown. The band uses all of these on the rest of album, effectively mixing elements of rock, punk, indie, and blues that sounds reminiscent of bands like Manchester Orchestra, Brand New,  and the Hard Lessons.

One of the highlights on the album is the second song, “Dig Your Grave,” which is probably the darkest and heaviest song on the album. Munson showcases his talent by really letting loose on the drums and pulling out all the emotion he has into him as he belts from behind his drum set. It is one of the most honest vocal performances I’ve heard in a long time. Aside from that, another track to play very close attention to is the title track, “Finding Home,” a six and half minute exploration of where home exactly is and what it means. It truly showcases just how far the band has come on a personal and music level. The lyrics show an astounding level of maturity, especially for musicians so young.

Finding Home is something that is truly remarkable. There are musicians that have been playing for years that have not been able to impress me as much as what this three-piece has put together. This album will definitely be getting a lot of plays for a long time and I hope it does for all of you. Make sure you pick it up the first chance you get. They album officially releases next Friday, 11/13, and you can get a copy with admission to their CD release show. Check out their Myspace for more information.

The Bottom Line: Buy it.



Save Our Scene
October 28, 2009, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Hello Blogosphere. You’ve managed to stumble across my corner of the internet. And you’re probably wondering, what the hell is this thing?

Save Our Scene is born out of a passion I’ve carried for years and that many people share. That passion is music. Growing up in Michigan, I’ve spent much of my time and money going to shows and spending money on the bands and music that I love. I’ve had opportunities to see some of the greatest artists up close and personal before they become major label artists. And I want to share that with other people.

With a camera and this keyboard, I want to give you a look into the world I see. I want to show you some of the bands that I’ve had the privilege and hopefully encourage you to check them out for yourselves. A lot of these people are friends of mine and they pour their heart into their music so I want to help them as well. I want to bring you the consumer and they the artist together in hopes of building up the Michigan music scene into a community.

As you can see, I’m just getting started, but I’m going to be checking some shows out this weekend. I’ll have some pictures and thoughts to share afterwords. So not much to see now, but stick around till this weekend and beyond. I promise, this will get cooler.

-Matt