by M. Lewis Barker
This blog generally focuses on the less known bands around town – the ones that people don’t talk about. Unfortunately for those losers (just kidding I am one of them), I’m going to talk about some popular bands because that’s the kind of show I went to tonight.
Tonight was one of those occasions where I found myself excited for a show. Toy Bombs (formerly Kid Theodore) and Eyes Lips Eyes (formerly Elizabethan Report) moved to Los Angeles a few months ago, but come up to Provo fairly regularly to play shows. I make sure never to miss one. (And my fandom increased when I won a bunch of their merch thanks to a costume contest last Halloween.) Tonight they played with two of Provo’s most popular local bands – Shark Speed and Seve Vs Evan.
Velour was packed. One of the most packed shows I’ve ever seen there (but I also tend to avoid the really crowded ones). And the crowd was energetic.
Toy Bombs opened the night, and they played a fantastic set. I must admit that I am biased towards them. They were the first band I ever saw in Provo and now I go every time they roll into town with Eyes Lips Eyes. They bring a lot of energy and fun to the show thanks to their dual guitars and three singers. Unfortunately bassist Ryan Darton has taken a backseat, due to concentrating on his own projects, so we did not get to hear him sing much or play his own songs (including one of my favorites, “Os Passarinhos”). But they still had great sound and put on a show that the crowd loved. They play very funky rock and roll and each song is catchy. This is a band that you know has played together over many nights in many towns, as they are as solid together as ever. I also bought one of their shirts that I will proudly wear.
Shark Speed is one of Provo’s most popular bands. Over the past couple years, I’ve seen their flyers up seemingly nonstop as I walk to and from campus. But this was the first time I’ve actually seen them live. I listened to their music a long time ago but it just did absolutely nothing for me. Now that I’ve seen them, I’m still not a fan, but they write pretty good songs and play together solidly. It’s very accessible indie pop/rock, extremely similar to Minus the Bear. My only real complaint is that it feels like they wrote a good song and based a whole set around it. But that’s something I can say for most bands (even my second favorite band, Sonic Youth, has fallen into the hole of monotony over the past few years). I can understand why people like them so much, but I won’t be going out of my way for their shows.
ELE put on the best shows. Tony Hello is the most enigmatic frontmen to come out of Utah County. Spencer Petersen’s special blend of Frusciante-esque funk guitar is the center of the band in my opinion though. He writes some fairly complex, fun guitar parts. Aaron Hatch’s bass and Thomas Carroll’s drums add the solid rhythm to accompany the rather eclectic guitar and vocals. No band commands an audience like they do. Everybody dances and yells and sings along and anyone who isn’t enjoying it hates life itself. They lack solid melodies with the exception of the occasional chorus, and that is their biggest weak point. Imagine Red Hot Chili Peppers with (a fun version of) Ian Curtis on vocals. They are a fantastic group though and have come a long way.
Synth pop. Glorious synth pop. I now know why so many people love this band. Seve is a fantastic keyboardist and songwriter, and Evan keeps up with a very solid drum beat that really makes their sound something beyond electronic. I love a good fun band, and these two are great examples of that. Their musicality is outstanding. I do feel like Seve may have been in an emo band in high school, as his vocals can get that somewhat weak, nasal quality to them, unique to that genre of/for adolescents. He’s a great singer, but I would really love to hear what those two could do with a solid vocalist singing along. I will not miss their shows in the future, as Provo could use more of this.
All in all, I have to say that this was a great show. The audience was happy, the bands were fun, and people actually danced! Provo could use more of these.
Tomorrow night (Saturday, January 29) I will be playing at The Deathstar, a new venue primarily for hardcore bands that opened up right between Velour and Muse on University Ave. Tomorrow (technically tonight) will not be a hardcore show though. We’ll be playing with my favorites The Lunatic, and a band I previously heaped great praises upon – The Broken Spells. Also playing is Big Trub who I have never heard of but I’m sure they rock too! It starts at 7PM and is only $5. It’s going to be for all you folk that don’t feel like listening to Provo’s VH1 Storytellers at Velour. (Sorry, I don’t care what most famous people wrote their songs about and the same applies double to you local bands.) Muse’s last night of the Songwriter Showdown is tomorrow too if you want to check that out.
Much peace and love to all you folks.