M. Lewis Barker
Last night was the third night of Muse’s Battle of the Bands, and so far it was the night with the most consistently good bands. I actually enjoyed this show immensely completely from an audience perspective.
The first band was Mad Diving Barons, an acoustic folk trio with a very cool sound. Their songs were well written and well performed. The vocal harmonies between Chad Gibson and Chris Vidmar helped stand this band out from the usual local folk music. Personally, their song style would benefit from a couple more band members to fill out the sound, but I’m a sucker for big bands. They were great.
Up second was Tighty Willis. TW is a rock band, through and through. They have pop sensibilities but play them well. Their lead guitarist pulls off a mean solo. Their sound could be a lot tighter (hypocritical words coming from me, I know). They’re a band that works best when playing in a tight room, packed with dancing people. I first saw them a couple weeks ago on Oct 30, and that show felt a lot more right to me than last night’s, even if I couldn’t dance much with a sword and shield strapped to my back. I look forward to seeing them in the future.
Archie Crisanto & the Travelling Salesmen played a terrific set next. I will admit that I am biased – Archie is my bassist and I’ve played in his own band more than anyone. When I’m in the audience, I just look like their biggest fan because I know all the words and parts of the songs. Travis White of Empirates filled in on bass. My singular complaint of Crisanto’s music is that his songs are too long. We played a seven song set Tuesday night but my songs usually don’t hit the 4 minute mark. Archie & the Salesmen can play that many songs and take 10 minutes longer. (Don’t worry. I’m not being passive-aggressive by posting this on the internet as I often say this to his face.) Crisanto plays a rather unique blend of 70s rock with a very modern and punkesque sensibility. He said that last night would be his last show as he is fed up with the music scene. Those opinions he has are what helped lead me to make this blog. People need to actually say what they’re feeling before too much resentment kicks in.
Last (but most certainly least) was Just For the Record. They describe themselves as Post-Hardcore. They are a band from Lindon with 2000+ fans on their Facebook page. I will admit right here: I hate hardcore. I hate it hate it hate it. As a teenager in southeastern Ohio, 90% of local bands became hardcore in 2003. And they were bad at it. I listen to a lot of amusical, weird post-modern music, but hardcore is “amusical” in all the wrong ways. It and its sister genre of emo can go jump off a cliff for all I care. I hated this stuff the moment I heard it.
That said, JFTR wasn’t awful. I really enjoyed their use of a synthesizer. They know the genre and they play it well, but they belong to 7 years ago when people cared. They managed to bring a lot of fans, and we were sure they’d win.
Then they counted the votes. And I don’t know how, but JFTR lost by THREE votes to Archie Crisanto & the Travelling Salesmen. Archie, who had all but given up on music, was ecstatic. I guess someone owes me a first born because I will be at the show this Saturday, with bass in my hand.