Live Review: Engine Down/These Arms Are Snakes 09.13.04

The show the other night at the Jackpot Saloon kinda bored me. Engine Down‘s not bad as background music, but they’re really not something I’d pay to go see live again. Kinda like the Capsules– while I love what they’ve done, recording-wise, I’m none too fond of seeing them live.

These Arms Are Snakes were entertaining as all hell, however, although their set was abismally short. Then again, that may because Veda seemed to go on for fucking ever. I assume they’re local, or semi-local, since the Black Lodge folks (Ed Rose, Ron Hayes) were out to see them. They were also hanging with the band before and after their set. Whether they were local or not, Veda bored me to tears. They were, for lack of a better comparison, like an indie-rock Evanescence. All their songs sounded exactly the fucking same. The first one sounded good, kinda crunchy, and the lead singer vocals were nice and powerful. Then she introduced the next song. Which was not noticably different from the first. And so on, for about 45 minutes. My brother Steve and I nearly fell asleep.

But, as I had said, These Arms Are Snakes were damn fine. They had that same sort of angular, sasscore type sound that the Blood Brothers have. Their singer was all over the damn stage, and it’s not that big at the Jackpot. The man was jumping and moving like the place was full, as opposed the thirty or so people that were near the stage. Great band, too- there was some serious muscle and talent there.

Engine Down, well… I have to be honest. I only saw the first half hour of their set. I was tired, sore, and just generally wanted to go bed. So, I left. However, the thirty minutes I saw were LOUD. Damn. I think my ears are still ringing. Let’s just say Engine Down is fond of taking a page from Lemmy and the Motorhead boys when it comes to stage volume.

It wasn’t all wall-of-noise, though. I mean, the band is good. They are happily not a studio band, which was something I was afraid of. I’ve seen too many fucking bands that have their sound just turn out to be nothing without auto-tuning on their vocals, and twenty takes and a click track for the drums. Speaking of their drummer- DAMN. That is one talented man. He had a pretty simple kit, but he was busting out the most amazing fucking rhythms and sounds out of that thing. The guitars and vocals were fucking awesome… a studio quality performance done live, in essence. I mean, really, if I hadn’t been up since 5am, I’d have been just as enthused as everyone else in the club. As it was, I enjoyed the band an awful lot, I just could physically stay any longer.

Your writer was a bad music fan. Don’t be the same sort of person when the band comes through your town. Go see them, support them after their really amazingly bad luck, and have a good time.

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