Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Live review: Sick Puppies

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Sick Puppies w/ Janus, It's Alive

Amos' Southend

July 27, 2010

The Deal: Australia's Sick Puppies rocks Amos', brings along some cheese and whine.

SickPuppies2

The Good: I'll talk about the opening bands later, so let's just jump straight to the main event. The thing that struck me immediately was bassist Emma Anzai, who got into it from the first notes — a bit of slap bass, driving the music and rarely standing still. Singer/guitarist Shimon Moore balances smooth vocals with something a little bit more raspier when he screams for a tone that works well with the music.

After playing "My World," the band ran through a few bars of Rage Against the Machine's "Bombtrack" before starting "Odd One."

Of course Moore said it was just for Charlotte, but I'm guessing they do the three-song acoustic breakdown at every tour stop. They played "All the Same," "What Are you Looking For?" and "Too Many," before ramping the sound back up to 10.

After a short intro of Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of," the band played "Should've" before their moment of cheese — getting a crowd singalong to "Pants on the Ground." This launched into a hard rock cover of Beyonce's "Say My Name" that was actually an improvement on the original.

The band ended its set with its biggest hit, "You're Going Down," a song that sounds more like Nine Inch Nails than the rest of their material.

The Bad: I missed My Darkest Days, so my night got started with the cheese rock of It's Alive. To me, it was generic radio-ready crap with a singer that took a few too many cues from the "How to Rock" playbook. He said Charlotte five times in the first three songs in a poor effort to get the crowd involved — though it may have worked on some of the youngsters in the crowd, most people seemed unimpressed. They generally sounded like one of those nondescript bands that comes on the radio and becomes background noise until a song you're familiar with starts. Years later, you say, "Hmmm... It's Alive... the name is familiar, but I couldn't tell you one of their songs."

Janus failed to impress me as well. The singer did his best to get a little bit of a Maynard-from-Tool thing going on in his vocals, but it didn't really work with the music and sounded more like whining. And what was up with the matching shirts?

I'll mention it every time until it changes — Amos' continues to have some of the worst lighting in town. Um, 1987 called and they want their lighting rigs back. A guitarist will move two feet forward and be in complete darkness or one foot to the right and be in washed out bright light. I love the setup of the club, they get great acts coming through, the sound isn't bad — it's just the lighting that needs help. It doesn't have to be top-of-the-line, but just consistent from one side to another.

The Verdict: Sick Puppies has a lot of talent and potential to become something much bigger, but the opening bands definitely need more work.

Sick Puppies Setlist

War

Cancer

Survive

My World

Odd One

Riptide

Maybe

All the Same (acoustic)

What Are you Looking For (acoustic)

Too Many (acoustic)

Should've

Say My Name

Nothing

You're Going Down

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