Studio Night

Cool Music That’s Not Ours (part 2)

There’s this scene in Total Recall where Ahnuld is disguised in a dress and a high-tech mask that makes him look and sound like a woman, ostensibly so he can get through Mars customs undetected. Everything’s going swimmingly until the customs agent asks how long s/he’s planning to stay on Mars and s/he responds, “Two weeks”. Unfortunately for Ahnuld, the mask’s speech gadget malfunctions after this and can only repeat the phrase “two weeks”. So when asked the next question (something about importing fruits or veggies, I think), chaos and explosions ensue after he is only able to answer “two weeks” repeatedly, each time the voice sounding like a tape recording playing back more and more slowly.

Ahh, love that movie.

So it’s been almost two weeks since posting, and that’s not doing anything to make me feel better about how fast time seems to be going. In that time we’ve managed to get out to see some original music, squeeze in a studio Sunday, catch a Lake Erie Monsters hockey game, and start work on some new songs. It never feels like we’ve done enough.

A couple Thursdays ago we took the opportunity to head out to see some music on the west side of Cleveland at a club called “Put In Bay Lakewood“, or PIBL. For those that are unfamiliar, Put In Bay is a popular north coast party destination off the shores of Lake Erie in western Ohio. Hordes of drunks fun-seeking partygoers descend upon the islands annually to enjoy the entertainment, boating, and general island-y fun. PIBL works to capture some of that spirit in the comparatively landlocked suburb of Lakewood.

We liked the place. The layout is cool, the sound was great, and there’s bowling. The room is flanked on one side by a straight bar (which was closed on this particular Thursday) and on the other by a round bar. The stage for the bands is behind and above the round bar. Bowling alleys are separated from the main room, and to get to them you go through a wide hallway/shoe rental spot.

We got there early to see Rosella, a Cleveland band we recently discovered on MySpace that just took home the Free Times music award for best Rock Band this year. Their set was tight and sounded great, and they had a good time although the room was essentially full of band members and girlfriends at that point (they started pretty early, 8:30 if I remember right). We enjoyed their combination of heavy riffage and melodic vocals.

It seems like lots of bands that rock do so at the expense of melody, with vocals instead shouted, grunted, spoken or roared. Sometimes the screamo vocals are a perfect fit, but if they’re used all the time in every song, it seems like everything winds up sounding the same, and it just wears your ears out.

The band that came after Rosella was Trip Rod, from Peoria IL (hope it was worth the trip dudes, no pun intended). They, too, rocked hard. We dug it a lot – still not much actual singing from what I remember, more of the Anselmo-style delivery throughout their set. Regardless, they redeemed themselves of any possible shortcomings when they took a break during their set to do some shots. We’d check them out again if they decided to come back. Considering the crowd hadn’t picked up much by then, who knows if they would. Did I mention that there was some freezing rain that night?

The last band was Hydrovibe, who apparently are the headliners on this tour with Trip Rod. Their sound was great (the guitar tone was awesome), but I can’t remember any specifics about their songs – except that they did have melody and rock riffage, yay. We left partway through their set because we got turned off by what looked like extreme posing. As someone noted, “…every note was the most amazing, every facial expression was more orgasmic than the last”. If the room was packed, their delivery might have seemed less out of place. As it was, the crowd had probably peaked at 25 or 30 people and the singer’s exhortations of “come on Cleveland!” and “shake your asses!” wound up ringing hollow. I’m betting we would have enjoyed them more if they had just played to the people in the room instead of delivering what felt like a canned show.

Then again, what do we know?  We play in a basement.