Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Customary, The Green Zoo, Skyward Down and The Getaway Car @ the Knitting Factory (7/13/12)

Never let it be said that I won't give something a chance.  Originally, I had planned to check out Jason Anderson and The Very Most at Neurolux this night.  However, when I got a ticket to a show at the Knitting Factory featuring three groups I'd never heard of before, I said, "Hey, why not?"

The audience for this show was more than respectable for a bill of mainly local groups.  The crowd seemed comprised primarily of younger folks (late teens, twenties) with a few parents sprinkled around.

Portland-based hip-hop group Customary opened the show.  That name tempts the snarky bastard in me to say that they just wrote their own review, but that wouldn't be entirely fair.  The MC had some good rhymes, a decent flow and a welcome sense of humor while the DJ provided some pleasant, smooth R&B beats.  Not the Dedicated Servers, but not bad.

The Caldwell-based group The Green Zoo played next.  The larger venue space gave their intense guitar noise, lithely powerful drumming and booming vocals plenty of room to breathe, which helped make this performance more enjoyable than the gig that I caught at Grainey's Basement.  Some of the lyrics still make me cringe, and the air of self-importance that infects the music makes me want to firebomb a liberal arts college.  That said, I can't deny that this group's material has considerable melodic appeal or that they put on a good live show.

After The Green Zoo came the Meridian, ID-based alt/pop-rock group Skyward Down.  At one point in the set, lead singer Kerrie Meacham told the crowd that they hoped to get one of their songs onto the soundtrack for the film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's The Host.  That right there should tell you whether or not this group's moody, swoony music is for you.  That said, while my taste in sci-fi may tend toward William Gibson, I found enough in their well-crafted songs to sustain my interest: guitar riffs with some bite, good melodies and beat, singing with a touch of sultriness that wisely kept the American Idol histrionics to a minimum.

Local four-man band The Getaway Car closed out the night.  Their set began with a child-narrated spoken-word intro that made me want to gag, and their U2-derived arena-rock theatrics (singing with a megaphone, climbing the scaffolding around the stage, waving a huge white banner during the set's climax) called for something grander or at least riskier than the safe, vaguely religious self-help homilies of the lyrics.  Still, this band wasn't without its merits: they had a muscular rhythm section, a pleasant lead tenor and, most prominently, a sharp, chiming lead guitar.  Also, I found their evident gratitude and good cheer entirely commendable.  These guys may be too bland and polite to dislodge The Clash or Exile On Main St. from my CD player, but I'll take them over Creed in a heartbeat.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Jennifer Orr and ORRiginal Promotions, who can be contacted at info@ORRiginalpromotions.com.

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