Pacific Northwest Writer
Monday, April 8, 2002 @ 12:36 AM
A Review Of Earshot, Glassjaw,
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Let’s just get one thing straight. Reviews are not really my thing. While I do appreciate listening to someone’s opinion of their experience at a concert or what they thought of a movie, it is, and will remain my opinion that it is truly individual. Why write this review? Well, I do feel qualified, as I’ve probably attended well over 500 shows in my life all ranging from fabulous to shit. So before you diehard fans of the following bands send me hate mail because of my review, please keep in mind that it is only my opinion. And if you truly enjoyed this show, then please, for the next show, let’s meet beforehand and let me share your drugs…
So I’ll start off with the morning of the show. I was thinking actually about bagging the whole thing. Why did I want to do this show? Who the fuck are these bands? Earshot and Glassjaw I’ve never heard of. Adema, I thought was some kind of swelling I get once a month. The only band I actually knew about was Alien Ant Farm, but even then, I only knew who they were because of their MTV video where the singer is sporting a reverse-mohawk and slithers his hand down his head singing a Michael Jackson tune.
Around 11AM, I received a package from Warner Bros., with Earshot’s CD in it. I thought, what the hell, probably another rock/rap (krap) band that I’ve heard so much from lately -- but gave it a listen anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. While I thought the band was a bit too reminiscent of Maynard’s Perfect Circle (a band that in my opinion kicks ass, however), I could totally appreciate the arrangement. The lyrics were intelligent, the music melodic with good hooks. After listening, I figured that perhaps I was being a bit too cynical about seeing the show and decided I should go.
I made my way into the venue around six that night to find literally hundreds of twelve to sixteen-somethings crowding their way into the front door toward the ten security guards -- who were body and purse searching -- prior to pushing the attendees through the thresholds of two metal detectors. My cynicism was quickly returning. Ah, but I have a pass waiting for me beyond those doors and besides, I’m twenty-nine something, with the press, and why should I have to go through the gauntlet of young men feeling my body for “things” -- okay maybe this is not so bad after all -- but I should be immune, right? “Please get in line, Miss,” the security guard says to me. “You’ve got to be kidding.” I pleaded, “What I need, son, is to go over to the will call desk, retrieve my credentials and get on with my job.”
Twenty minutes, four sets of hands groping me and my camera bag, and three explanations as to why it is I’ve got a camera in a show that “you can’t have a camera” in, I was finally headed for the will call desk. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally appreciative that the promoters are taking the necessary precautions to ensure my safety so that some numbnut doesn’t decide to blow himself and the rest of us all up. However, could someone please prompt these minimum wage guys that have been granted a little power (almost worse than the numbnut with the bomb), that there just might be an adult coming there to do her job?
With that, I proceeded to will call and retrieved my passes, and then headed to the bar. Oh yes, there is a God! A venue full of pierced, inked pubescent kids, most with reverse-mohawks to match their hero of the night, and sitting neatly upstairs, tucked away from it all, is a cute little beer bar. Can I hear a hallelujah!
An hour and a couple of beers later, Earshot took the stage. Primed, I set out to take some photos and check the band out. Compared to their album, I would say that they definitely had a great recording studio. But they are promising. Definitely more substance than flash, which is rare these days. The guitarist, an adorable young guy, accidentally spat on my camera bag, and apologized right there on stage. Later that night, he caught up with me… (guess where?)… the bar, and actually told me that I needed to spit on him to get back for him spitting on my bag. So I did.
Glassjaw was next in line. No, not next in line to be spat upon, although I really wish I could have. Sorry, but these guys just sucked. On their backdrop along with their name was a picture of the World Trade Centers. The singer comes out and boasts, “Can you guess where we’re from Portland?” Um, let’s think…Borneo? Can you say, cheese? And not the mild textured Brie either -- I’m talking thick, stinky Gouda. Please. I’m getting sick of seeing people “working” the whole World Trade Center tragedy for their benefit. Anyway, a whole lot of jumping around by all the band members, and a meek attempt by the singer to throw his microphone around as if he were a “punk-rocka” was all too staged for me. Not even their stage antics could make-up for their lack of quality songs and musicianship. And the mix was way too loud, but then again, anything above zero was way too high for this band.
Adema was up next. And I have to say, these guys were not bad. They had a much fuller sound than their two predecessors, and it was obvious as to why they were second to the headlining band. I’m particularly fond of their popular song, “Giving In,” and the audience seemed to agree as they nearly went into a frenzy as they played it. But it was a tough audience. After a couple of songs, the singer decided to talk for a minute, and even tried to be a bit philosophical. “Do you know how we got here, Portland?” Some wise-cracker kid (whom I later found out was my son’s best friend) shouted, “On the bus!” “Oh no,” the Adema singer said, “We got here because we didn’t take anyone’s shit!” “Nope. I’m pretty sure it was on the bus!” my son’s friend once again shouted. Laughter filled the venue. I’ve always heard that bands hate to play here in Portland, I just cannot figure out why that is.
Last was Alien Ant Farm. Just a little ol’ band from Texas, these guys were discovered while playing at a battle of the bands, and have since become MTV’s latest sweethearts. Again, just a really full sound with some amazing musicianship. Any band in my book that can get up and play Sade’s “Smooth Operator,” and not get jeered off the stage has got to be okay. The only bad thing about this band was that the singer was no longer sporting a reverse-mohawk, which left the two-hundred or so boys who did have reverse-mohawks looking like real assholes, and chances are they did not get laid that night, because they no longer looked like AAF’s singer. Also, they did not do an encore, which left the entire audience kind of feeling dumb for chanting their name a half an hour past the show, while the lights poured on and the security guards pushed everyone out the door.
I did get to hang out with the AAF’s singer, Mitchell, for a time, (yup) in the bar after the show. A few people were trying to hang all over him and hound him for autographs, to which he was polite, but asked if he could just hang out with me and my friends and have a beer. Amen to that brother.
(Photos by Krishta Abruzzini)