April 2, 2009

Concert Review: Audible Thought at The Barking Frog (3/27/09 Beacon, NY)

By now, I am sure you are sick to death of hearing me talk about supporting the local music scene. Either you will or you won't, no amount of words from me will be able to convince you to of you don't, and if you do, my words won't matter as you are already out there. Let me just say that when you go out and support local artists, you will find a variety of music, both good and bad, watch bands as they improve at their craft, and possibly even make some friends. I know I have found my somewhat limited support of the local to scene to be immensely rewarding. Enough of this blathering, let's take a look at this night's show.

The day started like any other, I got up in the morning and went to work and waited for the clock to click over to 5:00. Once the magic hour hit I shutdown and got out of there, heading to my normal Friday hang out (that's right, a movie theater. You all know me too well). However, what came after the movie theater was a little more unusual. I headed across a couple of towns to a small bar called The Barking Frog. It may be small, but it is a comfortable place that doesn't cater to the uninhibited college student. This evening my friends in Audible Thought were scheduled to perform.

I arrived around a quarter to 10 to find a friend and former co-worker waiting there. I had just walked in the door and I was already being chastised for being late. While this was going on, the band was finishing setting up their equipment and doing their sound check. I could already tell it was going to be a fun night.

As we waited for the show to begin, I was talking with Lou (vocals) and Ryan (guitars) about how I am going to have to stop writing about them at some point. I have covered a number of their shows and I fear I will begin repeating myself. I have always been honest in my appraisals of them, but even still, there are only so many things you can say about them. Still, here I am, writing about them once again.

If nothing else, the band is becoming predictable when they play. They disappear for a few months and then play a show at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY, then a couple of weeks later they follow it up with one at The Frog in Beacon, NY, or vice versa. Perhaps one day they will get on a roll with their performance schedule. They have the talent to gather a good following around them given the opportunity. I could see them becoming the area's new Frail (a local act long since disbanded that had a loyal following and some killer tunes. I'll have to tell you about them sometime).

The one thing you can always count on from a show at The Frog is a bit more fun and a considerably looser atmosphere than at The Chance. Think of it as Spring Training versus regular season baseball. This is where they try out some new things, make a few more mistakes, toss in a few covers, and just play for the fun of it.

This performance was not one of their best, filled with little mistakes here and there. They played two sets of music, approximately forty-five minutes each, mixing up their original tunes with a few covers. One of those covers is a new one to their repertoire, Metallica's "Eye of the Beholder." You could tell it was one they recently learned, as it was filled with mistakes here and there, a missed drum beat here, a riff that runs a measure too long, vocals coming in early. Still, it was fun.

Another cover thy played is Drowning Pool's "Bodies." This is a fun one, but they played a little too fast making it sound rather odd. I later learned that if a song is played too fast it is drummer Mike Doyle's doing, as he wants to get it over with quick. I found that to be rather funny. Then there is their take on Skynyrd's "Simple Man." This is possibly their strongest cover tune and one they put their own spin on as they hit the gas towards the end, turning up the volume and the speed. It was a smooth as silk transition and really kicked things up a notch. I came to find out afterwards that this is not something they practice, it is more off the cuff on the stage. Impressive.

As for their originals, I was glad to find "Speed Demon" was not among them. I am just not much of a fan of that tune. On the other hand, they are doing good things with "Crushed," one of their newer and heavier cuts. "Can't Break Me" is another of my favorites that always seems to sound good.

I did notice a few different things during the performance. Ryan's solos seemed different on a few songs. I asked him about it afterwards and learned that many of his solos are not written, so they can change on a daily basis. I liked what he did here, he is a player to keep an eye on. I also noticed different drum fills and changes and such. When asking Mike about them, he told me that he has two different ways of playing each song, depending on whether he can hear the guitar and bass. I was intrigued by this, cannot say I ever encountered this type of forethought with the few other drummers I've spoken to.

Overall, the night was a blast, save for the interruption when the police came in to do a spot ID check. The guys were not in the best of forms, but there is no doubt they sounded good. I had the opportunity to hang out with them and some other friends, drink a few beers and stay out late. I also learned that Lou's wife, Tracy, was in a bad accident a few weeks ago. She was at the show, having a good time with everybody, and I have to say it was good seeing her out and I wish her all the best on her continued recovery.

Now, if only we could get Audible Thought to play out a bit more frequently. This summer, perhaps?


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