Friday, October 2, 2015

Dead Flowers - Fellowcraft - Western Star -- Velvet Lounge - Sep 30 2015

Packed house tonight at the Velvet Lounge; I am one of four people as the show begins, so that means I need to clap tonight as I cannot rely on others to do the legwork for me. Before I start, I would like to mention the person that does the sound at Velvet Lounge; every show I have been a part of has sounded superb (Ed: Agreed). So if you are out there sound guy, kudos to you.

Western Star is first up tonight and it started awkwardly; I’m not sure if they were comfortable playing in front of the small crowd. They were unsure, we were unsure but they quickly informed us that they were going to do this tonight, whether or not anyone showed up and they certainly did do it tonight as their set was an interesting and manic, coupled with classic rock leanings and major keys that sounded similar to Thin Lizzy. Songs were mostly up-tempo but there were quick bouts of somber and fast. The vocal duties are split between the bassist and rhythmic guitarist and are quite strong, some of the strongest I have seen yet, occasionally drifting into manic screaming. Although they aren’t necessarily unique, they are clear and match the music. And that was the theme of the set, manic. The crowd has tripled in size by this point and a few brave souls have moved uncomfortably close to the stage dancing along. Despite the crowd’s small size, it allowed the acts to be somewhat looser in regards to songs and banter. It led to some interesting moments tonight. Western Star’s banter is odd to say the least. I couldn’t tell if this was some kind of joke or if they just were not great talking with the audience. Ultimately it did not matter. The set was excellent. Unfortunately, Western Star did not have any music to purchase but they did let us know that they will be releasing a new album sometime in November so be on the look out.

Fellowcraft followed and I was unable to see the entire set as I had to move my car as I feared I may get ticketed. David reviewed them earlier this month and it is clear they did not have a chance to read his criticism as they suffered from the same issues as the ones he brought up. In between songs they spent a lot of time talking about dicks. Now I’m not one to turn my nose up at a good dick joke but the frequency in which they were made was somewhat excessive. I get it, it’s an empty show, so fuck it but there’s a limit guys.

This local three piece is more traditional rock than Western Star; radio friendly one could say. Musically everything sounds fine but it’s a little vanilla for my tastes, kind of like a mix between mid-nineties radio giants Collective soul and one-hit-wonders Candlebox. The whole set felt like a relic from a bygone era, they even had a ballad, ‘The Wedding’ that would be right at home on terrestrial ‘modern-rock’ radio. The crowd hasn’t really grown at all and is kind of stagnant by this point. The dick jokes continue and they begin a cover of Seven Mary Three’s ‘Cumbersome’ and that was my cue to go downstairs and wait this one out until the Dead Flowers.
Dead Flowers - This must be somewhat deflating for Dead Flowers as the crowd has thinned out considerably; four people and two members from Fellowcraft remain. I can imagine it must be pretty depressing to have three strangers show up to your show, one of them with their head positioned in front of their phone for the entirety of the show.

The show, like the others, is very loose; they stop to tell stories mid-song but it looks like they are still having a good time, which is nice. Dead Flowers sound similar to Western Star; classic rock leanings but not as manic. They most certainly wear the Texas Roots on their sleeves. The drums sound phenomenal for such a small room and their songs are peppered with intense guitar solos that recall past southern rock giants. We gained two people in the room. They look suspiciously like Garth, clearly drunk and bouncing off one another. Even though the crowd is minimal they seem to enjoy what Dead Flowers are doing. They do a quick cover of the Replacements and question whether or not they should do another, because fuck it. Instead they decided to do some new stuff; a song named ‘Fowl’. It begins quick then slows and reminds me of the Doors mixed with some kind of blues/jazz fusion. There are some real drastic time changes as well. Ultimately the set was good and I imagine with a fuller room, it would have been an exciting show, one to remember.

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