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Monday, December 21, 2009

Album Review: Sunset Ammunition by Miclordz & Sauce Funky

the bands myspace site
official site

I was at a Lackluster show and these dudes opened for them. I got a CD from them and told them I would review it. That was last Spring. It took me that long to finally work up the nerve to put this in my CD player. I wasn't disappointed. Not because it is better than I expected, but because it is exactly what I expected. With a name like Miclordz & Soul Funky, there is very little room for doubt about the caliber of what I have put myself through.

I'll just do a song-by-song summary.

Intro: the bands' friends giving testimonials about how much "they make me move," "make girls shake their ass," and my favorite; "Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky are the past, the future, and most importantly, Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky is NOW." and the whitest guy in the world saying, "the sickest funky beats!" Hilarious.

Start the Show: fast song about "let's start the show." Really digging the drums in this. This song is basically about how awesome the band is, how the ladies "get laid like futons," and something about women having sex with them because "we're number one!"

Funk You Up: this song reminds me the Kottonmouth Kings or the Phunk Junkeez. Not just reminds me of them, this could be a cover of either of those two bands.

First I'm Gonna...: Starts off with individual members of the band explaining how they think about music, the music industry, mainstream music, in previously recorded interviews. Song starts pretty slow, but picks up some steam around 40 seconds in. This is what could be considered the 'introspective' song of the album. Lyrically it is about "duckin' drama," and dedicating oneself to living life. The phrase, "going to see better days," is repeated throughout.

Roll With Me: Begins with a guy listening to his voice mail messages. Some cool guitar gets ruined by some Fred Durst imitation raps. "Two shorties (dats right), gotta blunt with a bag, split it up like the jack pot. And now we smoke till we choke, I provoke to get up in that backseat (hopin' I can poke)." For some reason they slow the song to morose levels then surge again with more rap-rockin'.

Why U So?: Once again the voice mail messages. The first is from some ho who expected the band to pay her tab because they are rock stars. The second message is a bar manager calling to tell them they didn't pay their tab. The third is another ho who says she wants to go out but has no money and wants them to pay for her. The music once again the Phunk Junkeez, the chorus goes, "why U so, why U so, Why U so MONEY HunGRY!" More mentions of smoking reefer. Ha! they say something about "hungry skeeza's" which is one of my favorite expressions.

All My People: Now it is the political do-gooder interview excerpts. You know the ones, where the person who is speaking talks earnestly and vaguely about people on the "other side of the world" who suffer because of "us." Someone else chimes in about fighting the power or something, then another person says that music (I'm guessing the music of Miclordz & Sauce Funky) will bring the world together in peace. The actual song that follows is pretty much the same; but with rap-rock instead of spoken-word.

Rebelling... (R.A.P.E}: Begins with a skit about a girl getting a ride home from work from some dude. The dude says he wants to hook up, the girl says she just wants to be friends. The dude tries to kiss her, she says no, and then he apparently tries to rape her. Remember the Date Rape Song by Sublime? Remember how Sublime tempered the subject material of the song with comical justice and a fresh, fun musical style? This song has none of that. It's depressing - for a "funk" band, a party band, why the hell would you write a depressing song? Do the frat dudes who listen to you really want to hear this?

Intervention: I'm really trying, but I have no idea what this song is about. If they made this into an instrumental jazz song, it would be worth listening to.

Smooth: Another Limp Bizkit-esque tune, with a jazzy-funky back beat. Apparently about a woman who is smooth.

We Get Live: Once again, a track that starts with pre-recorded interview soundbytes of the band talking about how great they are. I'm getting tired of this. This is like a Fred Durst-Red Hot Chili Peppers mash-up. I hate to keep mentioning Limp Bizkit, but god-damn, it's everywhere in these songs. People stopped listening to that shit years ago. And furthermore, even the Chili Peppers stopped doing the funk-rock thing like 15 years ago. This is just tired, unoriginal, bland, gimmicky, trite, lame, boring music. Obviously made for frat boys and sorority sluts who like anything soulless as long as it gives the illusion of depth.

Dirty: meh, fuck it. I don't care anymore.

Sunset Doze: Oh WOW! More soundbytes of the band speaking!


Sauce Funky, may I suggest two things? First, drop the Miclordz. Get them drunk, toss 'em out of the van, and drive off. Second, stop trying to revive rap-rock. It is a genre that should have began and ended with Rage Against the Machine. No one has ever been able to improve on that. Limp Bizkit sucked, Fred Durst sucked, the Phunk Junkeez sucked, and everyone else who has tried it has sucked. You want to call this "funk-rock" or something equivellant, but it's not. It's rap-rock. And it needs to die.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Album Review: Closer by Camp Out



http://www.thesixtyone.com/campoutmusic
http://www.myspace.com/campoutmusic

Camp Out is a band out of San Francisco consisting of Maddy Hanks (vocals and guitar) and Jackie Law (keyboard, drums, backup vocals). According to their bio, they like to eat burritos and camp out. Two of my favorite things.

The guitar, bass, and drums are not complicated, and that's what gives the music strength. The sound is crisp but not robotic; it's alive and complimentary with the vocals. Speaking of which, the vocals are clear and muddle-free. The recording itself sounds very good; clear, crisp, precise... everything comes through great.

Camp Out layers the vocals, which doesn't come across as a gimmick or cheesy. The effect actually makes the songs sound more earnest yet fun; like children singing rounds. Which is interesting because the lyrical content of the songs is generally somewhat sad and depressing. It is a nice contrast and Camp Out makes it work very well.

Some songs, like Leave a Light On, and Small Steps, utilize an acoustic guitar playing a nice melody to back the vocals. Small Steps takes me back to a summer night after a particularly bad day. Music that takes me back and elicits such an emotional response definitely has something special about it.

My only complaint about the album is the last song; Crossed Out Face. There is just way too much going on. The vocals, the effects... all are very distracting. Perhaps that was the intention, but it doesn't come across very well.

For comparison purposes (for those of you who need to compare things), this album is similar to Metric or even the less manic songs by Be Your Own Pet. This is mostly due to Maddy's ability to sing very innocent one moment, and then bust out with a much more mature voice the next moment. The best way to describe her voice is "pretty." I don't mean any of that as an insult; I like both of those bands and I find that style of singing to be very pleasing to the ear.

This isn't disposable pop garbage, or soulless indie crap. I want to listen to this album again and again. There is a depth and beauty to the music that you don't often get these days. Or any days for that matter. Thanks Maddy and Jackie, hope to see you sometime.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: Pictures of You

Pictures of You is a web comic written by Gibson Twist.

I haven't finished it yet, in fact I've only finished the first story arc, but man, i feel that it's so good that i should recommend it here.

This is a story about kids coming of age in college. There is a lot of heavy foreshadowing about some tragic events that will occur in the future, which leaves a gloomy cloud over the lighthearted story - just like real life.

The characters are very lifelike in how they are portrayed and I'm absolutely sure that anyone reading it knows someone who is very similar to at least one of these characters... that's how well written this is.

The fact that Twist is presenting this as an online graphic novel is intriguing in the pure audacity of the mission. Most web comics are short 3 - 4 panel jokey strips. Most have some sort of overall theme and many have a continuous story that grows and advanced.

But the mission of Pictures of You seems to be a self-contained front-to-back novel with an actual ending; unlike any other web comic I've ever seen. It is a noble endeavor, and so far Twist has done nothing but impress with his effort.

Another really cool thing about Pictures of You is that it has a bookmarking feature that you can click and it saves your place. Much more handy than bookmarking on Firefox.

Because of the format of this blog, i can't show a page of the comic. However, I've left links galore, so follow them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lackluster looking for a drummer

taken directly from Lackluster's Myspace site


Live in Central Ohio, play drums, and want to be in a band that's growing? Let us know!

We have been playing locally, and regionally pretty extensively for the last year. Our drummer had to leave, and we're all ready (and waiting) to take the next step. We're using the time to write new material, and record, but also focusing on finding an ideal drummer. We ARE NOT looking for a carbon copy of anyone. In fact, we're looking for something unique and original. We work hard to not sound like anyone (that we know of). So, we are an original band in the truest sense, and are looking for someone who wants to be involved creatively in such a group. We make consistent efforts to grow, and need someone who wants to grow as well. But, to get right down to it, we need someone who can play to a click, is creative, and is willing to tour.
You can check out music, video, and press @ http://www.reverbnation.com/lackluster.
If interested, feel free let us know. We have a private space on the east side with multiple full kits... as both myself and the bassist drum for other bands. So, all you would need to bring to an audition is yourself and whatever you feel necessary. But, please own a kit.

But to make extra sure I don't get bothered by people who skipped over the ad to this point... original band, play to a click, touring.

Thanks!
Jon Thought, it should be noted that they were all recorded by myself as demos. The quality is fine, but they're really more of a jumping off point. Check out "Liars," and "Why Try Harder," for the best representation of what we are currently doing. The tracks are also available right here on our MySpace page in shitty MySpace quality.

Artists Community

A week or so ago, my friend Michelle and I were sitting on her front stoop and talking about all of our musical and artistic friends.

We came to the the conclusion that even though almost everyone we know is artistically inclined, most of them do not have the motivation to do anything with that ability.

So we decided to attempt to change that.

Michelle is an artist, musician, and songwriter.

I am a rather mediocre wordsmith.

but together we are attempting to create a community where artists of all types can come together and compete with one another.

yes, i said compete.

see, having talent without focus is wasted talent. by having a group of people who challenge each other to come up with new ideas, improve old ideas, honestly critique others' work, and push each other to reach their full potential, we can help each other grow and expand!

currently, Michelle and I are looking at a monthly gathering.

Monthly gatherings are good to start out with, because it gives everyone time to prepare themselves.

you see, each month, anyone who attends must present something they have worked on. It could be a finished work, or a work in progress. It could be a song, a poem, a story, a painting, a sculpture, a quilt, a tapestry, a video, a game... anything.

Anything you are passionate about, anything that you create, is fair game!


so, if you are interested in joining this venture, feel free to contact me for more information. currently, the musicians are the majority, but i hope to change that and make a more even spread of artistic jelly. mmmmm jelly...

we are also working on a name for the group. any ideas for that are welcome too.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review: Dave Matthew's Band

A few weeks ago, a friend made me hold true to the promise that I would go to a Dave Matthews concert if the ticket was free. This particular concert also happened to be in Virginia Beach at the Verizon Center, and I love road trips.

Funny thing is, this road trip could probably be made into a movie with little or no exaggerations made. But this is a concert review, not a road trip review.

Arriving at the Amphitheater 2 hours early, we pull out some lawn chairs and start drinking beer with the thousands of other people who were doing the same thing. Some people had mini-grills and were cooking out, at least one truckload of frat boys brought a keg.

Two VB police officers came up to us and told us that we could continue drinking, but our beer had to be in cups, not cans or bottles. Fortunately, we had some taco bell cups left over from lunch.

We made friends with two dudes from Delaware who were fresh out of high school. They were drinking Jameson and coke out of big cups, and entertaining the two ladies that accompanied me with stories of past Dave concerts (i've noticed that people who love Dave Matthew's Band often refer to him as if they are close friends). These dudes assured me that I would change my mind about 'Dave' once I saw him perform live. I told them maybe that's true, but don't hold your breath.

Soon after the doors opened, we went inside to use the restroom and find a spot on the lawn. Our new friends, Dan (we kept calling him Lt. Dan because he's in ROTC) Chad (i'm probably wrong about his name), split to go buy t-shirts. Later on the found us because my friend Shannon was drunkenly hippie-dancing to the opening band and almost falling over everyone around us.

Speaking of the opening band, I don't remember their name. However, I saw or heard absolutely no difference between them and Dave Matthew's, and I do recall that they were named after the frontman. To me, they were musically and lyrically boring, sounding just like Dave Matthew's Band, but I was in the minority. I could hear preppie douche bags say things like, "oh man, this is sick! i hope he plays [insert song name here]!"

One good thing I can say about a Dave Matthew's concert is that it is a smorgasborg of vapid, slutty, preppy chicks, most of whom are pretty hot and scantily clad. More on that later.

Dave Matthew's Band comes on and everybody stands and goes crazy. Everybody but me is dancing. Dan and Chad grab me and yell at me to dance. "Don't be ashamed that you're white with no rhythm, your surrounded by white people with no rhythm!" I admire their spirit and energy, but Timmy don't dance, and Timmy definitely doesn't dance to this kind of music.

I was honestly surprised at how many Dave Matthew's songs I knew. Probably at least a dozen that I knew the words to the chorus at least. Funny thing is, they are all songs I've heard on the radio, and I didn't think old Dave got that much radio play.

The fiddle player is a beast. He's the single most entertaining person in the band. Evidently he rarely takes off his sunglasses, so when he actually did take them off, the crowd went ape-shit.

With the exception of the final song, the trumpeter sucked. He just stood in one spot the whole time, and would play one or two or three notes and then stop. Why was he even there? The final song had him play a trumpet solo that quite honestly was amazing. Not Doc Severenson or Dizzy Gilespie amazing, but pretty good nonetheless.

The lead guitarist was competent but i didn't notice anything all that special about his playing or style. Same with the new sax player. From what I overheard from the crowd, the new sax player can't hold a candle to the old one. Many were saying that with the previous sax players death, the entire band sounds different and not as good. This made me chuckle because everything sounded exactly the same as on the radio, exactly the same as I expected it to.

An interesting note is that a lot of people follow the band around the country. I was told at the show that the set list was very different than previous shows, which is pretty refreshing. Some bands play the same set list every concert, or just change the order a little bit. So I give you good marks for keeping your fans on their toes, Dave Matthews.

One song of note that was played was Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill, which in my opinion was better than the original.

After it got dark, I was standing behind Lt. Dan and Chad when a dark haired hottie walks up and hugs Chad. He hugs her back and they start swaying together to the music. Soon, his hand is down the back of her pants as she is texting someone on her phone. He says something to her, she replies and he pulls his hand out of her pants, turns around and comes up to me. I said, "hey who's your friend?" and he shoots back, "hell if I know, just some random drunk girl who is now texting her boyfriend trying to find him. She wanted to make out with me, but if she's that easy, I'd probably get herpes or something." Better luck next time dude.

Some weasely looking dirt bag walks up to me. This guy looked like he didn't belong. He was dirty, greasy, with a goatee. Not like any one else there. He introduces himself with a handshake and says his name is Josh and he's from Delaware and he's just looking for some green. I tell him good luck finding it, and turn away. I didn't have anything, but I sure as shit can spot a cop when I see one, and I sure as shit won't talk to one for any reason. 'Josh' moves on to the group in front of me; no luck their either for drugs, but Chad manages to pass the drunk slut off to Josh. Karma is real folks.

After the concert is was back to the parking lot for another hour due to the traffic jam of people trying to leave. Some people just started tailgaiting again waiting for traffic to die down. Some girl walked up to our car and asked if we wanted any cheetos. Of course we did!

Overall, Dave Matthew's Band was nothing out of the ordinary. If you are a young douche bag with some game, you can probably get laid quiet easily. Other than that, I really don't see the appeal. The tickets are expensive, the food is terrible, the beer is overpriced, and the music is bland. However, the people were all very nice and friendly. Possibly the nicest crowd I've ever seen at a concert.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lackluster at Skully's

This review is like a month late. Sorry Jon. Lost my notebook and had a lot of other things going on. shit happens.


anyway, Lackluster performed at Skully's. Before them was Black Eyed Betty, and before them was Monolithic Cloud Parade. After Lackluster was another band but i had to leave before they came on.

We'll start from the openers.

Monolithic Cloud Parade are interesting. Visually, they're a few white guys of the Trendy-Beard-and-Vintage-Clothing-type and one black dude who plays trumpet and keyboard. I liked the trumpet, although at times it seemed like they just threw a trumpet in a song in a "what the hell, why not?" kinda way. In short, i wouldn't mind seeing them again.

Black Eyed Betty. Oh man, here goes. I overheard several women in the audience say that they LOVED the singers shoes. That's about it. For a more or less bubblegum punk band, they were decent. But this was not a show that they should have been booked at. Completely wrong for the type of crowd, completely wrong for the other bands on the bill, and completely wrong on playing a ridiculously long set of songs that all blended together into a 45 minute mayonnaise-y on white bread punk set.

i would think about seeing them again if it was at a punk show and if their set was shorter by at least 15 minutes. The singer was cute though. very bouncy and smiley. and fishnetty. actually, forget the band, i just want to see her.

Lackluster was really good. One of their best performances to date. Whereas the dance floor was completely empty for the first two bands, people from the front of the bar and from outside filed into the main room after the first couple songs. that's a pretty good sign that you have a good sound. In fact, out of all the bands from my hometown of Reynoldsburg, Lackluster has the best chance of actually accomplishing something. The song that stands out the most is the brilliant cover of Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time. when i first heard that they were going to cover this, i thought it was a terrible, horrible, incredibly stupid thing to do. However, i was wrong. It was great! There were trendy scenester kids dancing everywhere! seriously. i haven't seen a crowd reaction like that for a local band in a long time.

i've said my piece. i'm out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Review: Communitychannel

Communitychannel (i realize i made it one word) is a witty, charming, and often hilarious Youtube show produced by "Nat" an Australian with a fondness for self-deprecating humor.

Nat plays every character on the show, using digital editing to have multiple Nats in a scene. Either that or she has half a dozen sisters who all look and sound the same. which would be pretty convenient if you ever wanted to get out of something like a math test or 5k run or wanted to give someone a sympathy lay but didn't want to do it yourself.

Anyway, each episode is broken down into 3 parts:

The first part is whatever the main topic is, which usually involves a skit of some sort.

The second part is where Nat briefly discusses the last episode or something else that has nothing to do with the first part.

and lastly, is Porno Music Comment Time. This is where (surprise, surprise) she shows comments from the previous episode, briefly answers questions, all while porno music is playing in the background.

here are links to my some of my favorite episodes:

how to lose a fight effectively

bending at the knees for love

uncomfortable love scenes

also, she's obsessed with your mum.





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Monday, June 22, 2009

Violence and Teenage Girls

Even if you aren't a geek you should at least look at these games for the unique and pure humor


The first is called Violence: The RPG of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed (careful, the link goes to a PDF document)


i love that title!

"Violence is ostensibly an RPG about playing thugs, thieves, and serial killers as you break into homes, kill the inhabitants, and take their treasure."

you see, the game was designed as a parody of "hack and slash" gaming where the players simply wipe out everything they see. or as the back of the book says,

"Excessive is not enough to describe Violence. Bad taste doesn't even get close. This is role-playing's answer to the snuff movie."

bullshit like that is why a lot of people are turned off to RPG's. they hear some smelly geek shriek with his ear-piercing and jarring falsetto breaking pubescent voice "i slayed an elfin warlord! Excelsior!" and immediately think... lame.

well yes, that is lame in the highest caliber. and this game makes fun of that. only diference really is that in Violence, you play in modern times and choose from gangsters, cops, or psychotic killers as classes. and they are all rolled up the same, so how you turn out is really up to you and your own hidden psychosis' in how you play the character.

the humor is layed on pretty thick by the game designer, a eurotrash brit who calls himself 'Designer X' ooOOoo! sneaky!

for an idea of how this game works...
"Consider Frank Miller's Sin City and Batman: Year One, or the movies Pulp Fiction, The Big Hit, La Femme Nikita, The Professional, El Mariachi, any movie by Quentin Tarantino or John Woo, and so on. You get criminals, cops, guns, and victims together, and suddenly you have a plot."

see? you've seen those movies... you wondered what it would be like to be that bloodthirsty. don't deny yourself. embrace your sick imagination.



moving on towards a less violent but equally disturbing game...
the winner of the 2002 Indie RPG Award for Best Free Game...

Nicotine Girls

as the website says,
"nicotine girls is a roleplaying game of teenage, lower-income girls looking for happiness."


wow.


First off, the game is free. you don't have to pay for it, you don't even have to download it. the rules are like 2 pages in length. you can simply cut and paste the text into MS Word.

Second, the point of the game is thus: pretend to be a 16-19 year old girl with the goal of attaining "your dreams."

whatever that means. i know some dudes who would interpret this into the sickest thing you would ever hear of.

i think the best part is how the characters manipulate the game world, get what they want and attain their dreams...
you use four attributes that they refer to as "Methods"

1) Sex: should be obvious. girls use sex and the promise of sex or the implication of sex in the future to get what they want.

2) Money: this should also be obvious. a girl needs money to get shit, right? and she can simply use her Sex stat to get money in a variety of ways.

3) Cry: i hate it when girls cry. nothing paralyzes me in fear more than some poor chick balling her eyes out.

4) Smoke: i think this is the coolest RPG idea EVER. if you have to make a decision, you can opt for a Smoke Break and ask for advice from other characters as to a course of action.

there is some more to it than that, but not much. and the Fear list is quite humorous. at least to me.


i think Nicotine Girls was made about almost every single girl i went to high school with. and, by extension, every girl in high schools everywhere. well, at least the bad ones.



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Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Bert's Chili at Waffle House



i shit my pants.

if you are laughing about that last statement, or if you think i am kidding, i'll say it again...

i shit my pants.

earlier tonight i played some euker, watched the funniest documentary ever made (Country Boys on PBS), drank 12 beers, and ate some waffle house (chili covered hasbrowns). i've never had waffle house chili before. i said that to the waitress and she assured me that the chili is good.

i got home, read my numerous messages, and started to write a blog...

and then i shit my pants.

normally, your body lets you know that you may have to take a shit a few minutes in advance. my early warning system failed.
horribly.
it was like i aged 80 years and became suddenly incontinent.

now, i might have misled you a bit. my pants did not fill up with feces. and i did have some amount of warning. that warning was the horrible sensation of something more-than-a-fart trying, with mixed success, to escape from my bowels into the outside world. a world that does not appreciate poop.

as i attempted to run to the bathroom, i could feel more and more pressure. to keep my ass from exploding into my jeans, i squeezed my butt cheeks together. this made the short run to the bathroom difficult indeed.

i have discovered that chili covered hash browns look exactly the same coming out , as they did going in! consistency is a little more... mushy, however.

my buddy Chris Cantor said that my ass was smothered by my jeans and covered by my shit. a better Waffle House analogy, i have never heard.

i really don't know what else to say. i could have easily covered this embarrassment up, but i don't think that is fair to my faithful readers. i love you all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Huntington Park

I tend to be a nostalgic person. I like the original Transformers from the 80's, hate remakes of classic movies, and screamed bloody murder when the Browns moved to Baltimore.

That being said, the Columbus Clipper's new home at Huntington Park is superior in every way to Cooper Stadium. I feel absolutely no remorse in saying that either.

Some of my fondest childhood memories were at the Coop, and I would never give those up; but the old stadium was in a bad location, in a bad neighborhood, had bad food, looked bad, smelled bad... Cooper Stadium was just bad.

Huntington Park on the other hand is AMAZING! It reminds me a lot of Jacobs' Field in Cleveland; picnic tables, plasma screens everywhere showing the game, restaurants all over the place along with little beer and food stands. The bathrooms aren't room-length troughs to empty your bladder into; there are actual clean urinals and toilets.


The left field... I'm not sure what to call it... building is pretty amazing. It is three stories; first floor is a Bob Evans, second floor is a bar filled with amazing baseball memorabilia spanning the length of baseball from all the old Columbus Teams like the Jets and the Red Birds, and the third floor is open-roofed with a Rooster's and bleachers. All floors have HUGE open windows to watch the game below. In front of the building is a large concourse with lots of tables and benches and more picnic tables, and even a grassy knoll where you can lay down a blanket to watch the game.

On Friday's you can buy $2 Leinenkugal's before the first inning! There is a City Barbecue behind the Right Field Fowl Line, and two HUGE bars behind Home Plate. Drinks are expensive; $6 - $7.75, but that's the same for any sporting event, anywhere. The drink prices are offset by the incredibly cheap ticket prices; General Admission is only $6, Reserved Seats are $10, Boxed Seats are $12 in advance or $15 on the day of the game.

On top of all that, after the game, head out the Right Field Entrance/Exit and head West to Betty's Bar, just a short walk down the street. Betty's is a little dive that's been surviving since 1963. The place is awesome. They also happen to have buckets of 10 beers for only $20 after the game!

You need to go check out Huntington Park. Major League stadium with Minor League prices, and a great addition to our fair city.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lackluster

Official: Lacklusterband.com
Myspace: Lackluster
Garageband: Lackluster

Jon Hayes, the singer, guitarist, main songwriter of Lackluster describes his band as being "essentially a one man project stemming from the remains of Bender, a local central Ohio band," but I have to respectfully disagree. Bender, as I knew the group, was musically limited to a grunge/post-grunge, almost Nirvana wanna-be style that, quite honestly, wasn't that interesting to listen too.

Fast-forward ten years and Jon has created something fresh, something new, something that is willing to take risks, and more often than not, succeeds in what it's trying to do.

Like a lot of bands, Lackluster's recorded music doesn't match the brilliance of their live show. So if you don't dig the music on the official site or the Myspace site, then you should definitely check them out live. It's definitely worth your while. Besides, the shows are usually either free or no more than 5 bucks ya stingy bastards!

Jim Weisbarth of Verner Caliper and the unfortunately-defunct foid plays bass and Mike Shiller is on drums.

Jon managed to spare some time to answer some questions:

How many concerts a month do you play? how many would you like to play?

JH: Right now, we're playing maybe two or three times a month on average. As far as how many I'd like to be playing? Somewhere between 27 and 31, depending on the month, would be nice.


do you still use drum samples now that you have a dedicated drummer?

JH: Right now, no we don't. We do use a sampler of sorts for instrumentation we haven't acquired in the human sense, but not really so much for additional drum layers. We do have another song that doe shave additional percussive elements to it, but we haven't started working on it as a group just yet.


what was your favorite cartoon show growing up?

JH: Growing up... that's a tough one. Snorks. All childhood cartoons have become a blur to me, so it's not like the Snorks have a special place in my heart for any particular reason; other than, when i mention it to people, more often than not, I get a look of bewilderment staring back at me. Like the Snorks are the product of my own imagination. I question that sometimes. Have you ever heard of Snorks?


Why do you complete so many Myspace surveys?

JH: Ha, it used to be out of boredom, when I had a regular, lame-ass job. Now that I no longer have that job, it's far less frequent.

Have you seen Lackluster's fan support grow from people you know personally, to people you don't know at all?

JH: It's changing to an extent. It's weird because I imagine however popular one might become, they are always kind of relying on the support of others. Perhaps even more than their own abilities. We're just as dependent. Though, I'd like for it to be a symbiotic relationship. I'd rather someone come to see ebcause they get something out of it than just because we know each other. But we'll takes what we can gets, and be thankful for it. But, yeah, it's growing slowly. The tough part isn't getting people to come up to you after a show and pay you compliments, or money for a CD. It's getting them to come back. But, it's growing. Occasionally someone I've never met will say they saw us somewhere, then kick me in the balls and tell us we suck. It's kind of an honor really.

How was life in the Air Force? Did your service influence your musical taste?

JH: I can adapt to things pretty well, and I don't have any notions that anything but my own stink revolves around me. The military, to varying in degrees, is mostly just made up of people who feel the same way. It fostered integrity, which I feel translates into different aspects of music... but I still hate Creed.

How has your music grown since you first started playing?

JH: It's weird, because sometimes it doesn't seem like it has at all, and sometimes it does. If I were to sit down and play something current in front of myself, from fifteen years ago, I think there would be a difference. But, I actually put some effort into lyrics now. That's definitely changed.

Do you find it difficult to write songs, or does inspiration just come to you?

JH: I find it extremely difficult BECAUSE it just comes to you.

When did you first start playing music, and what made you start?

JH: I think I was 13 or 14, and I'd skip school to hang out with this kid. He had a guitar, and we'd pretty much just play it all day, wherever we could that would piss off as many people as possible. He told me my fingers were too fat, and I thought he was wrong. So, I played.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dragonforce

Dragonforce is coming to town tomorrow. Not only that, but they're playing at the Newport Music Hall, which has more history and character than any other concert hall in the country. But to add a little shit to the sugar, I have both the flu, and an extreme lack of funds.

I was first introduced to Dragonforce when the video for "Through the Fire and Flames" first started playing on Fuse several years ago. My friend Metal Joe would always play it while we drank at his apartment. He played it loud. Really fucking loud. And we would all sing along with it as if it were some old irish drinking song. That is, if old Irish drinking songs were power metal played at 800 beats per minute.

I've seen Dragonforce twice already; once as the openers of the main stage at Ozzfest and once as the openers for Killswitch Engage.

At Ozzfest '06 Dragonforce opened up the main stage at like 10 in the morning. They played 4 songs, lasting about a half hour to 40 minutes. Even though it was early, and a more popular teeny bopper candy-metal band was playing on the second stage, Dragonforce brought their A game. They actually had a small crowd going (the majority of Ozzfest attendees had yet to arrive because the concert was on a weekday). What made me laugh out loud was the Keytarist. That dude is absolutely driven. He starts out every song playing a traditional keyboard, then mid-way through switches to a keytar and rocks his fucking balls off for the rest of the song, leaping and jumping and kicking like a maniac.

Less than a year later Jason Perlman at Musicohio had an extra Photo Pass and gave it to me. I didn't have a camera, but I didn't particularly care about that. I got to see Dragonforce up close; so close I could smell what they had to eat for lunch. So close that I got repeatedly hit with strands of Dragonforce sweat.
This was LONG before they became huge through Guitar Hero III. They were one of the opening acts for Killswitch Engage. Really. Both I and the band itself were surprised by how much the crowd was into it. It was an indoor show, and people were going crazy. The whole place was singing along with the chorus to almost every song. It was amazing.

Go see Dragonforce. Even if you don't like metal. No matter how much tickets cost, you will get more than your money's worth.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Primer on Columbus Music pt 1

Bands in Columbus are constantly evolving, mutating, and changing. Contrary to what Cringe.com says about the "Columbus Sound," there is very little that any Columbus band has in common with any other Columbus band.

there is no such thing as a "Columbus Sound."

that phrase is simply a marketing term, and as with most marketing terms, it does a huge disservice to everyone involved.

As far as i care to go back, there have been three major musical movements in Columbus in the past 25 years. these three trends aren't clear cut, overlap each other, and many bands do not fall into these loose categories.

the Punk movement of the 80's and early 90's; bands such as New Bomb Turks, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and Great Plains.

The 90's and early 2000's Pop movement with Royal Crescent Mob, Watershed, The Sun, and Tiara

The Stoner Metal trend with Deadsea, Evil Queens, and Teeth of the Hydra among others

there has also been a growing hip hop community with such greats as Blueprint, Envelope and Hotsauce.

A lot of the older bands are still around and still very influential to the younger bands coming up.
For example, the New Bomb Turks are still one of the best live bands in the city, and they can really be called a national band now (or even international: i have a DVD of them in Edinburgh, Scotland for christ' sake).

Our Columbus venues support these trends.
Bernies Distillery, while slowly dying, was for a very long time the BEST place to see punk shows. i say slowly dying because it's true. Bernie's nowadays is a far cry from what it used to be. i blame the smoking ban; the scenesters used to stay inside and smoke and be seen and could act cool while listening to a band. Now, all the little kids who think they're bad-ass lil' punx hang out outside and never even hear the bands they paid 5 bucks to see. As Bernie's dies, i think the Columbus punk seen will die with it. Not completely die out, of course, but it will be dealt a serious blow.

Cafe Bourbon Street and The Summit, as well as the numerous house show places have helped to further reduce Bernie's reputation. They don't usually showcase the frenetic hardcore acts that populated Bernie's, but they've taken everything else. Plus Cafe Bourbon Street has a built in hotdog stand (not as good as Taco Ninja though)

Ravari Room is THE place to see metal shows in the city. there is absolutely no where else that can get the talent Ravari Room gets in terms of metal bands. Cheap beer, decent service, good food, and awesome bands.

Skully's has decent support of local bands, including a free local show every week, but seems to be moving towards national electronic dance and hip hop acts.

Carabar could be the best venue in the city for local bands except for two reasons; location, and clientelle. the location is on Parsons in Olde Town East, far from just about everything else in a high crime neighborhood. The clientelle is mostly (but not all) snooty, elitist scene kids. I know that Carabar has had that reputation for a while now, and from what i hear things have been changing, but i've never felt welcome, i've never seen the kids dance or move at all to any band, and it just makes me kinda sad. They tend to have the more "artsy" and experimental bands, as well as a decent, if limited, selection of local punk and metal bands. For a band, if you don't know the people at Carabar and you somehow get a gig there, you're probably not going to have a good time.

The Circus ruined what used to be a great bar, the High 5. No, i'm not talking about the High 5 you probably remember from the past 5 years. I'm talking about the bar BEFORE it was renovated. No windows; just dank, smoky darkness and a 50 year old nasty woman bartending and local and regional punk bands tearing it up. From what i can tell, Circus is a gay bar made for straight people. Their biggest night of the week is karaoke, if that helps you out any.

There are lots of house shows as well. If you are unfamiliar, it is simply a house whose owners or renters have converted the building into a concert hall. Legion of Doom has been around forever and is for you straightedge kids. but there is also Monster House and Metronome House (acoustic) to name a few.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love hole


i just read in today's Columbus Dispatch that Mickey Rourke and Courtney Love are now a couple.

for a brief moment, i lost all the respect i had for Rourke.

then i realized that the man is damaged. and like always, when she see's a damaged man who is seemingly successful, Courtney Love skanked her way onto his lap so she can suck his blood like a succubus.

i'm guessing it was the scene in the Wrestler when he called Kurt Cobain an asshole. i'm willing to put money that she saw that scene and thought, "a man after my own heart."

what a fucking cunt-rag.

to this day, i've never understood why people defend her. she's a junkie, a shitty mom, a murderer (if she didn't pull the trigger, which seems very likely given the evidence, she certainly drove him to do it), and a no-talent hack.

musical talent = none. acting talent = none. personality = none. looks = none. personal growth = none. taste = none. relevence = none.

i will giver her this; she is somewhat intelligent. getting away with killing her husband, then stealing his career, then fucking every record executive and drunk/drugged rockstar who would touch her heel-skag ass, then getting a role as a junkie prostitute in a huge movie... i mean, that is pretty impressive. you can't be stupid and be able to do all that.

or it could all be luck.

i mean, could someone who looks like horny scientists shaved a chimpanzee, bleached its hair, smeared hooker-red lipstick all over its face, then taught it to take dick in every hole for treats, really be all that intelligent?

she sold millions of records though.. oh wait, it is cliche to say that the majority of people are incredibly stupid, right?

and now her claws are in poor, fucked up, deranged, damaged, Mickey Rourke. hasn't the poor guy had enough pain in his life? now he has to get syphilis, herpes and a fucking leech sucking what's left of his life away?

doesn't he have friends? couldn't Steve Guttenberg give him some helpful advice?