Hank here, glad to be posting again as your concert/beat writer. I haven’t posted in a while, but hope to do so now with regularity. So for all who have missed me, (I’m sure it’s a ton of you) I’m back. You might think I haven’t been to a concert in a while, but that is quite the contrary. It's just that I have seen some bands (Staind, Breaking Benjamin, Evans Blue etc…) that I have already posted about, so I had no need to repost them. So without further adieu, here goes:
The Bangkok Five
With my lovely companion in tow, we arrived at the magnificient Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines just in time to catch the opener, The Bangkok Five. I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I needed to hurry to catch this band. I went to their site prior to the show and listened to their debut single off of their debut EP Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive?, and I really enjoyed the song. I also enjoyed "Karmakazi," "Spread Eagle," and "Starting Me Up," so I was a little excited to see them. However, seeing them in concert, I was a little disappointed. The five-piece just seemed to be making a lot of noise on stage and not really attempting to create any flow. They have a nice jangly guitar to complement the noise, but it seemed to get lost in all the noise. The band ‘complemented’ their sound with lots of random screaming, yelling, and guitar chords between songs, for absolutely no reason at all. I almost felt like I was at a Henry Rollins rant instead of a rock concert. Add on their constant complaining of the record industry and how unsigned bands get no respect, and it just got downright annoying. They seem like a band that’s in it for just the sex, drugs, and partying, and not so much the music, even uttering a nice phrase like “….there’s lots of underage pussy in here.” Classy.
Here’s a hint guys: most of your audience are high school kids who live at home with their parents or are poor college age or post-graduate 20 something’s who deal with a lot more crap than you do, so don’t preach to us about how much you’ve suffered. We know how much the record industry sucks (i.e. Napster downloading controversy), so thanks for the reminder. We’re paying good money to see you play (which I’m guessing is your dream come true, so how bad is your life??), so spare us your sob story and give us some positive energy. It was almost as bad as listening to a band bring political onesidedness on stage, something I absolutely will not tolerate. Music knows no bounds, so alienating fans who pay good money at your concert just to bash a certain political party is uncalled for. Speak about it on TV or in an interview or even in your lyrics, but in between songs, just thank the crowd from being there. How can I say this and be a Rage Against the Machine fan? They hated both Republicans and Democrats equally, and did not hold their hatred for anyone. Plus, when you went to their shows, you KNEW what you were getting!
Ok, so sorry about the rant, it’s just that I felt The Bangkok Five’s performance in concert didn’t do them justice. Their lead singer Frost has a good animated voice, he just needs to channel it and make it more powerful. They have a good sound, just need more practice getting the crowd involved. I’m sure it is hard being a newer band and winning fans, but even the best bands out there will tell you it’s not how good your songs are, just how you connect with your audience. I really think this band has a good future, if they can just perfect their visual show. Give them a listen here, I think you will enjoy them.
From the instant Josh Todd, took the stage, he just exuded the look of a rock star: shirtless, stick skinny, leather pants, lots of tats, and crazy; he could have carried the crowd all night. Blazing into a great opening song “So Far”, he dominated the ambiance of the steamy Val Air all night. Being a med student, I found it humorous when girls talked of how accentuated his “penis muscles” were than night. Penis muscles? You know what I’m talking about; it’s the lower part of the abdomen on the sides where the curve seems to lead right toward the center and to his ‘nether-regions.’ If you can’t picture what I’m talking about, just picture D’Angelo in his very steamy video “Untitled” standing there naked with this shirt off, and you will know what I’m talking about. Well, I’ve heard numerous girls talk about how ‘sexy’ this is on a guy, and Josh Todd was in full effect in this category. However, it’s disappointing for these girls when I tell them that’s it’s no special ‘penis muscle,’ just the end of the rectus abdominus muscles on the abdomen, and the apparent line is just the inguinal ligament running over a relatively non-muscular region of the body, providing the pathway where the testes descend into the scrotum during development (consequently the same area where men tend to get hernias, since it is such a weak area – learn something new everyday, huh?). So not so exciting huh? Ok sorry, I’m sure what was boring, but you can’t say you aren’t smarter from having read this article!
Buckcherry played a strong set, focusing on their new CD Fifteen (which I think is dynamite), and hitting important tracks from their first two CD’s. They really nailed and their sappy slow song, “Sorry.” And they played my companion’s favorite song, the title track off of their new EP, “Fifteen,” which made us very happy. I did have a question about one thing from their presentation: they were displaying their old artwork from their first album as their background. Wouldn’t you think you’d want to show off your new artwork from the album you are supposed to be promoting?? Just a thought…. I did really like another piece of 'artwork' they included, which consisted of two girls dancing just behind the drum set. Was there any reason for it? Probably not, but would you expect anything less of Buckcherry? I mean, c’mon, these are the same guys who just had a lawsuit filed against them about some girl who appeared in their video when she was underage!
When they finally got into my personal fave song “Crazy Bitch,” they added a little impromptu break in the middle of the song, adding “The Stroke,” and “Fire” from Billy Squire and The Ohio Players, respectively. Two interesting, but effective, choices indeed. They then plowed through the rest of their set, not missing a beat all night. "Broken Glass" and "Next 2 You" lived up to expectations as move-your-body songs. As they played “Lit up” into their encore, Josh Todd made us repeat “cocaine” over and over (possibly to make us crave some?), even telling us that it "helps him drink more Budweiser." Can’t say I have personal experience, but it sounds interesting (I guess). As the set ended, I left feeling very satisfied, except for them leaving "Brooklyn" out of the set. When I first heard their new CD Fifteen, I was completely blown away with how much they had matured since I first heard them in 1999. It’s a complete album, filled with all types of songs. Somebody much wiser than myself told me they were starting to sound much like the Black Crowes. I first scoffed at the idea, since the Crowes are one of my favorite bands, but after listening to their album and experiencing them in concert, they definitely fit into that southern rock mode. They have really found their sound, and I was lucky to have caught them at their peak. Check out pictures of the concert courtesy of Lazer 103.3.
I will leave you with this quote straight from Josh Todd’s mouth:
"What excites you Iowa? For me, it’s big tits and a fat fucking ass!”We shall speak again soon. Until then, adios!
Coming soon: Hopefully Godsmack and Alice in Chains shows.