March 9, 2005

Concert Review: Sno-Core 2005 3/6/05

Before I get to the evening's show, please allow me some thoughts regarding the Sno-Core tours. This is the second incarnation of Sno-Core, the first was the original line-up back in 2000, and what a collection of acts it was! There was the experimental Mike Patton (Faith No More) with his new act Mr. Bungle, next up was Puerto Rican act Puya, then there was up and comer Incubus, and finally, as if that wasn't good enough, there was headliner System of a Down. That was a great lineup, and possibly one that will never be matched. Over the years the lineup seems to be becoming less adventurous and more radio driven. Don't get me wrong, this year's lineup put on a good show, but it just didn't have that diversity of talent that the first go around had.

One more note before getting to the show proper. I must mention that the band that I was most interested in, Helmet, dropped off the tour. I have no idea why, but I was very disappointed by this news. OK, now let's see just how good this show was.

I arrived about a half hour prior to the opening of the doors, and there was already a good sized crowd filling up the alley entrance to The Chance Theater. The line moved indoors pretty quickly, so we could hurry up and wait inside for the start of the show. About 15 minutes prior to the start of the show, Security guy Chuck took the mic and welcomed everyone to the show, and then asked for the crowd to cheer as he called each bands name, by far the biggest cheer was for up and comers Crossfade, which surprised me. By the time the lights dimmed the crowd was ready to let off some energy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe theater went dark and Strata took the stage. I had heard of these guys, but can honestly say that I have never heard a single song from them, and first impressions are everything and this impression, wasn't all that good. First off they were not done any favors by the sound mix, the guitars were up way to high. The other instruments, not to mention the vocals, were drowned out. They played about 35 minutes. They were tight as a band, but the music was wholly unremarkable, they were just another emo-rock act. The majority of the set all sounded like one song. The crowd seemed to enjoy it enough, but I was hoping for something more. Maybe if the mix was better, I would have gotten more out of the music.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNext up was Future Leaders of the World, and the bad mix problems continued. Again the guitars were up way to high, virtually drowning out the rest of the band, which was probably for the best. This was another band that I knew nothing about, and the live performance did not do much to win me over as a fan. They came across as some sort of mainstreamed nu-metal, mixing pop rock and rap metal into what sounded like a mess. There were a couple of decent guitar riffs, but not much else. The drums and bass were rather generic, what I could hear anyway. The singer,had some sort of variation on the look of Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, couldn't really sing or rap or scream, so that put a damper on things as well. The one thing that the music did do well was get the crowd going, lots of shoving and thrashing involved.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow was the time for the crowd to really come alive, the band that received the biggest cheer was about to hit the stage. At 8:00 Crossfade stormed the stage to an absolute roar from the crowd. Finally, the mix was finally on a more even level, I could actually hear all of the instruments. They owned the stage for the forty minutes they played. The most impressive act so far. They had a very good live sound, playing their singles, plus the other tracks off of their debut CD. They do a good job integrating a DJ into their sound, not to mention trading off vocal parts between 3 of the 4 band members. They reached the pinnacle of their performance with the song "Colors," which I believe was their first single. The crowd may have gotten rowdy early, but now they were reacting to the band on stage, singing along and really getting into the music for the first time of the night. Excellent performance, I foresee good things for this band, they have nowhere to go but up.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLast, but not least, the stage was getting set up for Chevelle. One I noticed that seemed a bit odd, was that the drum kit was set up over to my left, stage right, and slightly angled back towards the center of the theater, not a setup I believe I have seen before. They also brought their own lights, there were a number of pillars with lighting fixtures on top. It's been awhile since I've seen a band put on any type of lights show for their set. At 9:00 Chevelle took to the stage, to possibly the single biggest cheer of the night. They proceeded to put on a high energy hour long set. I have one of their CD's, the one with "The Red" on it, so I have heard some of their material before, but could not claim to know a lot about them. What I can attest to is that they have grown a lot since I saw them open for Stone Sour a couple of years ago. They kept the momentum going, playing a great mix of music and just flat out playing their heart out, leaving it all on the stage. The light show was also great, adding another level to an already excellent show.

I must say that this in no way lives up to the first go around with System of a Down, and the acts started off rather dull, but it finished strong with Crossfade and Chevelle. Chevelle put on the best performance of the night, which is what I expected, but the real surprise was Crossfade. Crossfade has a lot of ability and a style which, while radio friendly, attempts to stand out on it's own, they are at a point where they could really break out.

To see photos from the show, click HERE.


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