Monday, March 13, 2017

March Mash-Up Concert Review!!

After a day's delay so we could get news about Gnaeus' breakup on the site while that shocking reveal was still fresh, here's our review of Saturday night's March Mash-Up concert at The Canadian Nightclub! The show's set-up was very similar to Live705's January Jam, but merchandise sales were definitely upped, with all bands except Electric Church and Pillory selling at least buttons (notably, The Din sold their first ever t-shirts prior to their set.) Despite weather warnings, the show had a solid turnout, especially for bands in the middle of the night, and I'm pleased to add that promoters kept the show rolling without any major scheduling delays!

Despite the event poster advertising Bizotic as the opening band, they switched places with Shane "DJ Seith" Erickson for unannounced reasons, placing the popular local turntablist as the first act of the night. After encouraging fans to rub their hands together and send the heat energy to the stage, he commenced with a set full of his usual vinyl record mixes that entertained early fans! I admittedly didn't recognize many of the songs he had spinning, but I did detect ZZ Top and Rob Base among the tracks, not to mention, DJ Seith even played a kazoo at one point. It is still hard in ways to compare Seith to full bands, but he's very good at what he does, has a nice way of amping up the crowd and getting them to interact with the set, and at least he's not playing pre-recorded songs on a laptop like some DJs do. Hopefully we hear much more from DJ Seith in the coming months!

Next on Saturday was new local alternative/hard rock quartet Bizotic in their Canadian debut, and the first time that I've had the chance to see them live, so what can I say? Well, they played a short 6 song set (visibly all original) with intriguing track names like "Psychic Vampire" and "Dirty Time Machine", and musically... well, having a keytar and trumpet in your repertoire helps you stand out on those merits alone! Compared to frontman Brad Griffith's prior band Infinity Grinder, Bizotic aren't as aggressive, but there's enough hard-edged creativity to go around, and at times, his vocals sounded a little like Chris Shoust from Telephone & Address. B.J. Swire handled the keytar well, and new drummer Travis St. Amour was reliably good as ever, even if I'm still more used to his work in death metal. However, trumpet player Louise Lamothe was often inaudible, especially on Bizotic's heavier tracks, and they should really turn her up or everyone else down to help correct that, as she lends a unique element!

For a first time seeing them, Bizotic had a nice free-form chemistry and energy, and I like the visualizations of that plasma clock (is there a better name for it?), so hopefully they continue fine-tuning things, as they're definitely a band to watch in 2017!

Third up was local death/thrash metal trio Pillory, who brutalized fans with a set full of newer death metal original songs, which definitely got a great crowd reception! Why else would Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce lead a chant of their name post-set? Their set included such songs as "Sculptor of Cadavers", "The Passing", and "Angst of Existence", as nicely realized with Robert Sartini's fast-improving harsh vocals, and a masquerade raven mask-clad Jordan Leach kept the rhythm steady on bass. However, the MVP of the set may be Bret Shuttleworth, whose forceful blast beats on the drums felt like I had a rapid heartbeat! If I was deaf, I'd have been concerned for my health! If there was an issue, it's that Robert really needs to work on his on-stage confidence regarding banter between songs, as he still comes across as too shy, especially between such ferocious songs. All in all though, Pillory were on fire, and don't miss them at month's end at The New A!

The next band was young local blues/hard rock trio Electric Church, the second of two bands I was seeing for the first time on Saturday, so what should you know on them? Well, if you missed their recent belated launch of their Facebook page, you may have been expecting them to stick to Jimi Hendrix and blues covers, but their set was actually all original, as far as I could tell, with songs like "Ain't Got None", "Take Me Away" (I believe), and an untitled instrumental jam among their setlist. The best crowd levels of the night to that point gathered to witness a very promising, talented, and well-dressed young band, and if you were only hearing the audio, you'd never guess that these guys were current White Pines students. Spencer Pine plays the guitar well beyond his years, Elijah Nielsen was a solid compliment on his unusually minimalist bass, and Beau "The Beast" Whitfield was aptly named on drums, and I like how deftly and effortlessly they meld blues & hard rock.

That all said, Electric Church need to be more lively and animated on stage, and it came across as slightly odd that Spencer introduced the band during their first song (albeit during the instrumental), but these guys are well on their way, and getting the blues from a younger original band will immediately set them apart as they move forward! The future definitely looks bright for them, so don't miss them when they play next!

Co-headlining was local alternative/hard rock trio The Din in their last announced show before opening for Quiet Riot, and they delivered another fun and well received set of originals and select covers, which their fans gave in to! Playing originals like "Alleyways & Apartments", "High Park", and their newest original "35's The Limit", The Din also broke out a few covers of frontman Mike Haggith's old solo tracks like "75" and an unannounced rendition of "Leon the Janitor" during their surprise extension of their set at night's end, which saw "Out Of My League" dropped, but other songs gained, like their cover of "Blow At High Dough". Aside from the absence of Mike's glasses, their set went about normal other than the extended set, with his singing and bass playing on point, and Tammy Hill was a standout on guitar as usual, while Mike and drummer Brandan Glew kept up their fun banter between songs. Solid set as usual from The Din, and good luck later this month!

And finally, the last band on Saturday was newer local alternative punk quartet A Dire Setback in what may have been their first ever headlining set, though it was preceded by frontman Larry Babic receiving a birthday card signed by many of the performers and attendees that night (happy belated birthday!) Their eight song set, not counting the intro, included such increasingly familiar originals as "Wasting Away", "Catastrophe", and "Kicking & Screaming", as well as the debut of a new song named "Everlasting Despair", and their cover of OneRepublic's "Counting Stars". Remaining fans definitely ate up their energetic set, with Chris Nielsen a spark plug on guitar as usual, and Larry delivering some solid and well suited vocals, even if his jacket implied that he was looking for a way out of here!  Everyone held up their own ends of the bargain, playing to the crowd and delivering a solid wallop of original punk rock, and I know they have lots more in the pipeline for 2017!

Overall, this was another entertaining concert from Live705, who have quickly established themselves among local concert promoters (and with good reason), and I know everyone found at least one band to enjoy on Saturday! You can check out our photos at this link and via our Facebook page, but I do apologize for the quality again, as between the reflective paint on the road signs on the stage and Shaw TV's cameras (yes, they were filming for OnStage again!), it was tough to get good photos without getting in everyone's road. I did get videos of each act too, but due to Facebook flagging the DJ Seith video for copyrighted material (as he was mixing other artists' music), I am hosting it muted with no audio there, until I can think of a different solution. Dailymotion also flagged it, and I wouldn't even bother trying YouTube. However, I'll list sampled songs in the title on Facebook if you're curious, especially if I can never think of an option that doesn't involve changing the pitch to an unnatural level.

Below, you can check out our videos, and they include DJ Seith's "Quick Mix" (primarily of Lyn Collins & Rob Base songs, apologies again for the audio issues), Bizotic playing "Record Light", Pillory playing "Abhorred Apprehension", Electric Church playing "Muddy Waters", The Din playing "35's The Limit", and A Dire Setback playing "Forget This Memory"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes as this week rolls along! Thanks everyone!

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