Thursday, August 29, 2002 @ 4:46 PM
Let 'Lones Let Loose In Raleig
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REVIEW BY: Jim L. Keller II
Elton sang that Saturday Night is alright for fighting.
I always thought it was alright for rockin' out. And that's what I set out to do down at the local band showcase bar in downtown Raleigh, Kings Barcade. Now, check it if you can, this place is now a mix of ‘70s decor and early ‘80s video games. We're talking mood lighting, lotsa bright plastic colors (think an adult Brady bunch), and Asteroids, Galaga, Kung Fu Master et, al.
The club has recently started selling liquor (as opposed to just beer) and per NC law (WTF?) they had to close it to the general public. So now you have to be a MEMBER to get into this pseudo dive to catch shitty, crappy, and not so crappy bands alike. So, once I get the door situation sussed, we're in. Redbull and vodkas in one hand, and Tempest controller in the other.
We're here to catch the left over members, or the Let 'Lones as they are calling themselves tonight, from COC. Woody Weathermen, and Mike Dean along with 'current' drummer Merritt Partridge are jamming tonight and we are simply abuzz with the possibilities. The boys have been jamming and settin' up shop, laying the ground work for the next COC album while Pepper is doing the Ozzfest thing with Down. And they are hankering to get it out and get live. Bully for them and bonus for us.
While Kings has never been known to start gigs on time, we account for this and show up late, just to stand around for 2 hours before the first band takes stage. Caspian Sea Monsters apparently are a trio who played this night as a duo. So what we have here is a Guitarist who doesn't appear to be the lead singer, but is trying, and a drummer and keyboardist(????) who had problems keeping time and trouble playing the keyboard. You know you’re in for a bad set when the guitarist is playing through a Peavey rehearsal amp and the keyboard is miced to a Marshall half stack. Um, WTF???? 20 minutes later, and we are no longer being accosted by bad music, bad drumming, no real singing (can't sing when ya can't remember the lyrics now can you?), and a keyboard that sound like it cost $10 EVEN through the Marshall half stack!
A quick stiff beer later, and we're ready for band number 2, Night Moose. Who comes up with these names? Now Night Moose is a trio that actually has all three members here this fine evening for a little rockin' and rollin'. However, midway through the first song we realize that they would have been much better as a duo also. Lose the guitarist/lead screecher and you've got an alright bassist, and a drummer who appears to be slummin' with these boys.
What is going on here? Is this open mic night? Did we just find 5 guys walking down the street carrying instruments and say, "HEY, come play at Kings tonight?" Now I am always one to be able to appreciate even the small things about a live band. I have much respect for anyone who can get up on stage and lay it bare for everyone to enjoy or criticize the hell out of. Simply having the cajones to get up and belt it out fearlessly earns much props in my book. You have to give them respect even if you don't dig what it is they are actually doing up there. But tonight it's hard for me to hand out props to either band. So I've waited two hours now to hear utter crap. At least the promise of gettin' our butts kicked by the Let 'Lones and some cold beer holds us through the cacophony coming from the stage.
Truth be told, Dave Williams passing this week really got to me. I mean, there was such promise there. Drowning Pool were a few notches above the Nu Metal scene. Their debut album rocked front to back, which is so very rare in this day. And they were on many peoples top ten lists for albums in 2001. After doing the Ozzfest thing for the second year, they were getting ready to release their sophomore effort, and I for one was looking forward to it in a big way. So, tonight for me, was about celebrating good music, good friends, and a talent taken too quickly from us all. And what did I get for my efforts? Well less than sub par music. But I was not to be deterred; I mean, surely Mike and Woody would rock in grand style right? RIGHT!
Time drags on like poured peanut butter, and after an excruciating 20-minute set, Night Moose has shot their load, and off the stage they go. I need one last beer to wash away the stain left by the natty Moose and I am all set to rip one out with the Let 'Lones.
Mike, Woody, and Merritt, are up on stage settin' up their own gear. I'm thinkin' that's very cool. Woody uncrates this ancient, beaten, weary lookin' guitar and my pulse quickens. You don't bring an old friend like that in, and not expect to shred for the night, and beat out of that six string every note you possibly can.
They launch into their first song, and it is a southern rock, funkified tune that gets the heads bobbin' and feet tappin FINALLY! Mike is bassin' it up and singing, and while he does a solid, and passionate job holdin' down the vocals, it is a bit limited in range. The setlist was all original material as far as I could tell.
Three songs into the set, and the boys finally seem to hit their stride, and they are locked in and groovin'. Woody is prying the notes out of the old beast in his hands with style and power, and mike is slappin', pickin', and plucking that bass with finesse. Merritt also does a very solid job on the drums. If he is the 'new' or 'current' drummer for COC then the boys are good to go on the skins front. Why Jimmy isn't going to be 'the' drummer no one knows, or is saying. So we're all watching Merritt and damn if the boy doesn't have some good chops, and holds the rhythm down tightly at that.
Just as the three start to really let loose and let the songs breathe and are in the middle of a thick groove, the song fades, the clock shows they've been jamming for a solid 20 minutes, and Mike walks up to the mic, and thanks us all, and says goodnight, that's all they know, thanks for showing, cya! And they leave the stage!
Um, EXCUSE ME. 20 minutes? What? We waded through two thoroughly shitty bands to watch you jam for 20 minutes? I know I wasn't the only one that felt a bit ripped off. As everyone in the place just stood there, with stupid stunned grins on their faces. Total disbelief registering all around. This has to be a joke right? They're gonna grab a beer and take the stage again right? RIGHT?
Nope, fraid not folks, that's the show, the canned music starts up, and the house lights come on. We're done racing fans, and the drivers have left for the night.
So let's tally up the results of the evening. 1 pseudo trio that can't play nor sing, 1 trio that needs to rid themselves of their guitarist/singer, and 1 trio with so much promise and talent that only played for 20 minutes.
Hello? Um, what exactly am I missing here? How can you get 2 guys (Woody and Mike) who have played together for damn near 20 years on stage for only 5 songs or so? I mean, the riffs they must have stored in their collective heads must be phenomenal, and I know I'm not the only one who would have totally gotten off on having the three of them just free form jam for 30 minutes or so, just riff it out and let loose and boogie till the bar closed. But no, we got 20 minutes of a stilted set, and a thank you for coming.
Did they sound good? Yes. They rocked decently, but they only really let go once that I could tell, and it was great. They jammed hard on one song, and you could see all three of them just groove out. But that was it, they never really let go, and let the music take over.
I talked to Woody after the set, and he said that they weren't real happy with the set (no shit, neither were we) because they played everything twice as fast as they should have. Ah, so we were really supposed to get a 40-minute set apparently, but they played it so fast, they reduced it to 20 minutes. Nope, sorry, this news doesn't make me feel any better whatsoever.
If the Let 'Lones continue to jam it out occasionally, I'm sure I'll be there to catch it again. And hopefully Mike, Woody, and Merritt will let their hair down, and let loose on stage and rock out for themselves, and for us.
So my night of celebrating music was a total catastrophe. But I did raise a beer at one point, to the fact that, at least there were still people getting up on stage and trying to make music. That even if they sucked, they had heart, they had desire, and they wanted to rock. If for nothing else, the desire to want to rock is enough for me to celebrate this night.