Two Nights Two Shows (Continued. . .)
Wow two months later and finally revisiting a tale of TWO shows. Only one was covered when I wrote the first part of this piece way back on February 9th.
The first part of Two Nights – Two Shows focused on Muse at the Pru Center in Newark on the 29th of January 2016. It was your typical arena rock show. It was done very well, but still an arena rock show. As I said, the specatacle of that show was incredible. that is what such shows are about. Loud music, lots of lights, illusions, and today even droids. Pyrotechnics were lacking that night in Newark, but they had ample other things going on. So all very cool.
The second show featured Killcode, Ten Ton Mojo, and Crush of Empires, among others (Frankenstein 3000 and Nakid Jedeye I believe but I missed them entirely) the following night, January 30th, 2016. All of which took place in a Brooklyn. In fact it was a newer venue – a place called the Shop Brooklyn. Not to be confused with the Rock Shop over in Park Slope. It is certainly closer to Park Slope than the The Shop Brooklyn is, which it turns out is over in Bushwick. The Rock Shop I had been two once or twice before, but not tonight. Always good to know where you are going at the start of a night. I already had a late start. Thank God for Google Maps. And then when I asked the folks at the Rock Shop and they in fact suggested what I think was another place. . .not sure where. They did refund my cover. All just another reason we need something in Westchester. . .
Once getting there and even finding a place to park. I was happy to just take in the space of the venue. It is an actual room with a decent size bar, and nice sized stage up front. You could fit multiple Delanceys and other LES venues in it. Interestingly they had some bikes and really choppers back in the corner, and what looked like a drill press over in the other corner. Atmosphere? It was cool, whatever the intent. Sadly it appeared the kitchen was closed. It is a barbecue joint, so why not have a late-night menu. Maybe they did.
Sadly I missed Ten Ton Mojo, with their new bass player, Chris Laubis. There will be other shows I am sure. For those who want to know what I missed, I suggest this review from Sugarbuzz. They simply are a tight hard-edged rock & roll band with a set of solid tunes, and a great frontman and vocalist in Ernie Papp. All that said I missed them this night.
I did, however, get to see Killcode, which were as always in good form. Yikes I been watching them on stage in and around the city since 2008. Heavier than Ten Ton Mojo, you are just assaulted with their songs and those guitars, where as Ten Ton Mojo gets you from various angles. Either way works and to have both in one night is simply a good gig. Tom Morrissey, the vocalist, might have a bit of a southern thing, but definitely with guitarists DC Gonzalez on one side and Chas on the other, with Erric Bonesmith on bass and Rob Noxious on the drums, you pretty much know you are in NYC. Regardless you will be gettin an ass-whuppin here. And they did that again this night in Brooklyn.
The last act up, Crush of Empires, was one I have been intrigued with for the past few months. I had stumbled upon them on a Monday night at Arlene’s back in November. I just decided to go see what was happening and was pleasantly surprised back then. These guys had not originally been scheduled to play this gig in Brooklyn. so I was again pleasantly surprise when I saw the announcement a few days before the show. That I did see and pay attention, location sadly not.
Now when they got it was late and they like any band on last suffered the challenge of audience fatigue, and the perennial question of “who are these guys again?” Folks were tired, wanted to have one more round, and the band are a newer act. That said, they got up and did their set and did it well. One guy in front of me, who probably did not need another round was yelling up to Nicholas, the vocalist, in between tunes that he was going to be rich someday. Stephen acknowledged and continued on, not paying him to much mind, but the man, drunk or not, was onto something.
Crush of Empires is a good band but Nicholas does bring something special to his vocals. He is willing to experiment with tunes and his voice. He ranges from soulful chants to the harsh challenging rock. He is bit shy looking away from the audience especially when focused on the more ‘soulful’ stuff. David Lee Roth he is not, but who cares, his vocals just have a certain rawness or better yet expressiveness. Enough about Nicholas, the rest of the band, Steven on guitar, Randy on bass, and John Paul on drums more than support their vocalist. The tunes, with a dash of grunge, do rock and facilitate the range of Stephen. And that is the nice thing about this band and their tunes. they have a certain range or depth.
That night in Brooklyn was not the exception. Crush of Empires played their set and did pull the audience over to their side. I recall Nicholas trying to wake people from their slumber. . . well to re-engage them. It was kind of a tug-a-war. The band on one side and the bar on the other, and I would say it was more than a tie and credit goes to the band. Ultimately, perhaps after getting a shot or two, the crowd did come back to the band. Both DC Gonzalez and Tom Morrissey from Killcode came and checked them out. The man whose birthday and party it was for, Jerry Adams, came down and checked them out. So they rocked and people did come. – the pied pipers of Brooklyn – that night.
So that was the night at this new venue – the Shop Brooklyn. I do hope to go back. Now that I know where it is. I have not as of yet seen any acts that grab my eye that will pull me back. I am sure I will. I would be quite happy to go, have a complete meal, barbecue and all the trimmings, followed by some loud music and bourbon.
Lastly, let me return to my earlier theme. The spectacle of arena rock vs local home brewed, distilled, 100 proof rock. They are two different beasts, both musical, both rock. The visual is there in each – one with that amazing array of lights and effects, the other just seeing the band there feet away from you. That intimacy is there, but the crowd of arena is also something-that roar and those lighters or today the cell phones.
No doubt I love both. I remember seeing Rush and Rainbow at the Allentown fairgrounds back in the day. Likewise, I remember being underage sneaking into the Warford House in Frenchtown and later the Shady Lane. What use to be the known as the “Lower”, to see Spellbinder. A couple of kids like myself doing covers of ZZ Top, Foreigner, and Tom Petty. So perhaps it is not an either or. This does not require a choice between Arena rock and / or Local Home-Brewed Bands and Music, not at this point. The days of punkers being able to call out or challenge their brethren in the arena are long gone. That said, it is still fun and is just one way to connect and contrast the two.
This broadcast was brought to you in 1979
I’m just talking to you over these waves
Not just about another time and another place
And before we knew it
The old wave was gone and controlled
From “Talk in 79” found on Solo in Soho
*Pictures are all courtesy of Alan Rand’s Facebook photo pages!
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