Polygraph, The Reckoning, Your Arsenal, Silver Snakes, Therapy Session
Mr. T’s Bowl, Highland Park, CA
Friday, February 11, 2011
Time: 8:00 PM
Like every show I go to, it seems like all the real drama seems to happen outside of the club. From the moment we got off the freeway, on some dark little side street, next to a 7-11, the neighborhood starts going downhill. We make a right on Figueroa, and as we drive further, and further down Figueroa, the city turns into a ghost town. All the stores look boarded up, the people all, but disappear.
Once we get into the parking lot of Mr. T’s, the people that are there, seem to be band members that are performing that night, and they are all smiles. There is no overpowering smell of weed or the sight of band members staggering around like Otis of Mayberry. No offense intended to any town drunks.
Wait, hold that thought. As we were getting out of the car, we saw a Hispanic man come into the parking lot, riding on an old ten-speed. He was staring/closely watching us, and then just as he passed us, he parked, sort of crashed into the back wall of the lot, to do a combination of piss, and finish off a forty-ouncer of beer. We watched him for a bit, and then as we headed towards the door of the club, we looked back, and he vanished. I didn’t hear him pedal off, and we didn’t see him leave either. So, if anyone reading this lost an alcoholic family member within the last few weeks due to alien abduction, feel free to contact me.
Anyway, I saw Your Arsenal back in July of 2010, and I was blown away on how mellow the crowd was. I’m not saying this in a bad way. I mean no fights, no angry drunks. Just a bunch of people enjoying the music, and the energy. I picked up their demo at the July show, and passed along a copy to my Brother. He dug it, and wanted to see them next time they came to town. So, here we are in a building that was erected back in 1929(ish) as a parking garage, then converted in the 1940’s as a bowling alley, and those bowling lanes are still there . . . just hidden behind some large Wizard of Oz-type curtains.
The first band up was a band called Therapy Session. Therapy Session was good, not my cup of tea, but good. They were a definite KROQ type of band. Some of the same kind of emotional Cure-type stylings.
In between bands I got to hang out briefly with some of the guys from The Reckoning, and Your Arsenal. The guitarist from The Reckoning was explaining how they have a few bibles for sale on their merchandise table, and how they play churches. Being a skeptic I had to ask if this was a Stryper kind of gimmick. He said it wasn’t at all. He explained how kids and teenagers respond to the music, and sometimes ask for prayers afterwards. This was a fairly new concept to me. Sounded very sincere.
The second band to the stage was Silver Snakes. The standout piece of this band was the drummer, he really good. Otherwise, they came off like a beefed-up garage band. Their sound was . . . like if Rush, and The Cure (here I go with another Cure comparison) had a kid . . . that kid would sound like Silver Snakes.
In between the second and third bands, Chad Sengstock, the bassist from Your Arsenal, slips me a copy of their just recorded EP. Six tracks of soon to be classic tunes. I promised not to leak it.
The third band of the night is Your Arsenal. If you haven’t seen these guys before, go. Every single song is worthy of being a single. They have a free three-song demo that can be downloaded from either their Facebook, or My Space (http://www.myspace.com/yourarsenalmusic) pages. The only thing negative to say about the set was the sound got a bit wonky, one minute everything was great, then the next you could only hear guitarist, Shaun Hale’s instrument, and then it would be back to normal again, and the lack of stage space. For whatever reason the first three bands weren’t allowed to use the drum riser, so the drum was placed on the stage, leaving each band member, about, eighteen inches of moving space. Otherwise the Arsenal was great!
As I’ve said before, somebody needs to sign these guys quick!
The fourth band of the night was The Reckoning. These guys impressed the hell out of me. The bassist, Tommy “Gun” Hilmes, played stand-up bass through half of the set, then he switched over to electric bass, and he sounded great on both. The vocalist, Josh, sings, plays guitar, and then on one song picks up an electric mandolin, sounded great doing it.
The killer piece of the set was when the vocalist says to the crowd, “This is a song for fans of 80’s rock.” And they launch into a punk rock version of Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It. Even if you’re not a fan of the song, the lyrics worked perfectly for a punk song. A bunch of talented guys.
The fifth band of the night was Polygraph, but by this time it was around 12:30, and I’m getting old so, we left after The Reckoning, sorry Polygraph, maybe next time.
Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb