Surprising, Soporific, Spectactular…


Surprising, Soporific, Spectacular
– Laurel Hayles: The Club Circuit

The concert was AWESOME – there is nothing like seeing bands playing live (in tiny venues or huge amphitheaters), and all three bands put on a helluva show.

Opening Band – Sleeper Agent (surprising!)

Alex “Kidd” Kandel – Vocals
Tony “Tutone” Smith – Guitar + Vocals
Justin “Keyser” Wilson – Drums
Lee “Grizzlee” Williams – Bass
Scott “Saga” Gardner – Keys + Synths
Josh “Junior” Martin – Lead Guitar
Sleeper Agent, McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) 6/7/2011

Let it never be said that there are no decent female-lead vocalist rock bands. These guys just amazed me – there was a nice variety to their songs, but every one of them had a hard rocking foundation. Alex “Kidd” Kandel does lead (think Flyleaf) with a serious hard core punch. Setting her up are Tony “Tutone” Smith – (guitar and vocals), Josh “Junior” Martin (lead guitar), Lee “Grizzlee” Williams (bass guitar), Scott “Saga” Gardner (keys and samples), and Justin “Keyser” Wilson (drums). I so love that keyboards are coming back – it is, after all, my first (and primary) personal instrument! These guys met and bonded with CTE in their stomping grounds of Bowling Green, Kentucky – which makes it three bands I’ve heard over the past week from that town.

It always makes me crazy that the audience just stands there like statues through most of the opening bands’ sets – their music was amazing! Never mind the fact that, on the second to last song of their (entirely too short) set, they nearly blew out the house PA subs when Tony’s (over-hot) mic started feeding back on I suspect the way over-amped bass, resulting in a noise reminiscent of a jet engine taking off – NEXT TO YOU – and they just rocked on, finishing the set with virtually no bass running at all – AWESOME, you guys were great!! Watch for these guys – I’m sure we’ll see more of them.

2nd Act: Manchester Orchestra – Soporific…
Andy Hull – vocals, guitar
Chris Freeman – keyboard
Jonathan Corley – bass
Robert McDowell – guitar
Tim Very – drums

Manchester Orchestra, McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) 6/7/2011

I really wish I could be as enamored of this band as the rest of the media… but I can’t. This is your basic hard rock band, mixing intros that are softly appealing with LOUD thrash (read moshing), going back to quiet, nearly solo, vocals. Power chords do not make a band… but the crowd loved them! What makes these guys stand out is the fact that three of the guys do vocals, and of course Chris on keyboards/synth/percussion – who has a small drum kit (sans kick). I just can’t find anything to say about this band – maybe it’s Andy’s semi-falsetto vocals (reminiscent of Silversun Pickups).

They’re a good band – just not that good. I do really like “Friends In All The Right Places” (which I remembered from the 2009 open for Silversun) – love that song! I was seriously watching Chris doing headbanging while playing air drums, although that’s sometimes… weird. He reminds me of a mad scientist – all you need is audio running with him cackling madly. All in all, a decent band with good storytelling – but I felt like I was either being put to sleep during the slow/quiet parts of songs alternating with feeling like I was being pinned to the wall on the thrash parts. ::shrugs::

Cage The Elephant – Spectacular!

Matt Shultz-Vocals
Brad Shultz- Guitar
Lincoln Parish- Guitar
Daniel Tichenor-Bass
Jared Champion- Drums

Cage The Elephant – McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) 6/7/2011

That’s the only word to describe these guys – they put on an AMAZING live show!! If you have never seen them, you absolutely have to. It is something you will tell your kids – trust me!

I’m not even going to attempt to review their actual performance – these guys are professionals, every single one of them was outstanding and gave us everything they had – so you get just the impressions view here. The floor (and most of the balcony) was packed to the walls by the time they hit the stage. Seeing and hearing hundreds of fans screaming, singing, hands in the air clapping, pounding… it was… perfect. No other way to say it. I do wish I could see them in a better venue tho – the McDonald (while an amazing venue) SUCKS for sound quality – Matt’s vocals were nearly drowned out by the guitars… which is a shame, he has such an amazing voice, and the lyrics of the songs themselves can easily stand alone.

What I especially love about these guys (besides their raw energy) is that every song sounds different. No falling asleep here, and the sound levels were significantly lower than what they were running with Manchester – I use ear plugs (real ones – not ‘foamies’) as everyone who attends live events should be doing or they really will be deaf by the time they are 45 years old. Anyways, Cage takes a four-piece instrumental group (bass, lead and rhythm guitars, drums) and makes it sound extraordinary. Brad’s rhythm guitar doesn’t ever hide (Jeanice noticed you, btw), Lincoln’s lead riffs absolutely rip, and Daniel’s bass runs undercurrent with Jared on drums to keep Matt from coming completely undone! What left me absolutely gasping was Matt bodysurfing the pit (with the security trying desperately to reel him – sometimes unsuccessfully – back). See that photo at the head of the column? That’s Matt standing on the shoulders of someone in the pit (yes!) – I’m not sure who was more surprised: the crowd? security? or Matt…. it was amazing, awesome, all those “a” words, with a few thrown in for the helluvit!

For the full story >>> The Club Circuit

Not sure if he is singing or just holding his hand over his mouth in awe here...
Security trying to disentangle him from the mosh...


and then they toss him over the monitors!!!! (go Security!)
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