Planes Mistaken For Stars
Bear Vs. Shark
Bullet Train To Vegas
Thursday June 16, 2005 @ The Glasshouse in Pomona, Ca
So I arrive at the Glasshouse to find no one in the vicinity of the venue. The bands were loading in, and they all had looks of disappointment on their faces. Nobody wants to play in front of the venue staff and the other bands, but that’s the life they chose. Time gets closer to the show, and four more people trickle in to catch the night’s festivities. With all the High School’s holding graduations this week, it’s no surprise that was hardly any turn out for the show. It’s even worse being the opening band, for people usually show up late anyways, unless you are some pick-a-core band that people idolize off Myspace. Unfortunately for Navajo Code, not one person had heard of them. In fact, they had just gotten off a plane from the UK. They had no merch, shared equipment, and no fan base in the US whatsoever.
This didn’t stop them from playing their hearts out. First chord and lights out, they go into a blistering set of hardcore punk, that’s quite reminiscent of early Refused (with a British accent of course). The band took use of the dance floor and seemed to roam freely. They managed to joke about the turn out, and took it with a light heart, as they continued to assault us all with their anthemic hardcore rock and roll. They showed signs of a true touring opener and played their hearts out as if they were in front of a packed room. They even said, “You guys paid for a show, and you are still going to get one”. Slowly more people began to show up, giving a small crowd, but still a crowd none the less. Between songs, each member would ask if there was alcohol, because the really wanted to get “smashed” after their set, setting the mood for the rest of what was to come. They would continue to assault our eardrums, thus finishing their somewhat short set. They seemed to have made fans out of the small crowd in attendance, including myself.
While they were tearing down, I stepped outside to realize a few more people showing up, still not many at all. I have never seen the Glasshouse so empty, but it kind of nice. It made for a more intimate feel, especially since the show was on the small side stage. I noticed a small abundance of long-haired, skinny, girl pant wearing boys. I was shocked, seeing how these are not you’re typical “emo-screamo- hardcore-funkXcore” bands. Bullet Train To Vegas was slotted to go on next. I had never heard of them, so I began to think, maybe they were the reason for the girl pant wearing sissies’ arrival. Upon first ring of the obnoxious guitar and screeching vocals, my nightmares were realized. They were, in fact, the reason they were there. BTTV were very unoriginal, and the vocals were enough to make me want to gouge my eyes out with a hot beef skewer. The drumming was sloppy, and the guitars sounded like regurgitated crap. I seemed to like this band a lot better when they were called At The Drive-In… except ATDI were good. The one thing I can give this band credit for is their stage presence. Though they were playing in front of maybe 20 people, they still managed to keep the energy level up and play aggressively. I stayed for about three songs. Just enough to snap some pictures and get the hell out of dodge.
Next up were Bear Vs. Shark. I was personally excited to see these guys after doing a review of their new album “Terrorhawk”. The album was so genuine, pure and raw, I was positive their live show would live up to the music. Now we have a crowd of maybe 40 or so, and it was time to rock. BVS opened with such charisma that it was bursting out the seams. Marc Paffi’s spazmatic stage presence left him all over the place, leaving nothing to spare. He was in the crowd, on his back, on the floor, and at many times flying through the air. The assault on the crowd was only the beginning. With each member adding their own style and sense of belonging to each song, they played with such heart and passion. It’s a wonder more people haven’t heard of these guys yet. Constantly trading off instruments, they managed to keep everyone’s attention from straying, as if they needed it. Even when Paffi had a guitar in hand, he was not able to be restricted as he ran amuck on the small rickety stage. Up close and personal was the name of the game, and they all did it quite well. Probably my favorite part of the set was while Paffi was playing the keyboard; he was walking all over it, and at one time even had the microphone in his mouth so he could have both hands free to play. These guys were incredibly intense live and left all sorts of carnage in their wake. I will definitely be checking them out again soon enough… and based on their response from the crowd, I don’t think I’ll be the only one.
Finally, the almighty Planes Mistaken For Stars. These guys have a reputation as show stoppers, and enjoy the smaller venue scene. They shredded through their set of high impact punk rock, with a metal feel. Long hair and sweat flies all over the stage as these four guys, spill their guts for everyone to see. Gared O’Donnell’s raspy, hollow vocals echo through the venue, placing everyone who is there into a trance. By now we have maybe forty five to fifty people in the place, and they were rocking every last one of them. The power of their set, left the crowd in awe, and even the other bands were staring in amazement. Actions definitely speak louder than words for this band. Rarely saying a word in between songs, they cut the bullshit and do what they came to do… rock. Playing songs off their newer album “Up In Them Guts” and some from previous albums, they managed to keep the crowd’s attention, and had them all eating out of the palm of their hands. They ended the night with “Up In Them Guts”. O’Donnell talks into the microphone, “This is a song about fucking”, and leads right into a seemingly perfect way to end the set.
Overall the show was very enjoyable. I could have done without Bullet Train To Vegas, but it was a small price to pay in order to see Planes Mistaken For Stars and Bear Vs. Shark. Navajo Code was a pleasant surprise, and I expect them to have a U.S. following soon enough. The fact that there were hardly any people, made the show seem way more intimate, and personal. This gave the bands a chance to shine, and prove it’s not about the amount of people, just as long as there are people. Be on the lookout for Planes Mistaken For Stars, Bear Vs. Shark, and Navajo Code. If you see any of those acts on a flyer, then I recommend you stop by and give them a listen… you may just have a good time.