April 27, 2008

4/20 Rogue Wave St. Louis Show Review:

This is a week's delay (as in I started writing this the day after the show, last Monday) and I broke my hand on Friday and can't finish typing, so...here goes nothing. My apologies in advance.

I left my home, nearly 25 miles away from WashU’s Gargoyle Club around 8p, when the show was slated to start. After circling the parking areas twice, I decided to park in the faculty/staff parking right up front. I rushed in to find an insignificant amount of listeners and I couldn’t figure out if it was because of the bands being late, an printing error of the time on the bill or the crappiness of the venue. The Gargoyle Club is tantamount to a typical St. Louis summer; hot, humid, and despite its overall depressing quality is intriguing and one can’t help but to give in and see what it has to offer. My attitude going in was great, though rushed, but I wore extra deodorant and was ready to sweat.

I scanned the nearly skeletal crowd for some familiar faces and found none. Of course I found nearly everyone there complaining of the heat and the considerable delay. I completely forgot who was opening and I asked fellow show-goers who it was and nobody else knew either. Great. Around 9:10p the opening band came on. It was an intimate affair but that made the treat that much sweeter; we were paid back for the delay with San Diego’s Grand Ole Party. The audience was abuzz with, perhaps most trivial albeit valuable information, how hot lead singer, Kristin Gundred was and her resemblance to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In my experience, both as a musician and a listener, bands that have their drummer playing double duty as the backbone, heartbeat, pulse and so on as well as providing the vocals as the lead singer suffer in skill and overall decency. Grand Ole Party may not be overtly complex in the percussion department, but that doesn’t mean that the drumming is simplistic or boring, and it certainly doesn’t suffer. Kristin’s vocals don’t suffer either; her voice is a thrilling mix, the likes of Ann Wilson of Heart and (observably, rightfully so) Karen O.

Complaints were devoured by the surf rock-ish sounds provided by Grand Ole Party and the group began to dance, clap, shout and cheer both with and for them. GOP kept the crowd focused and exceedingly content. The set felt as though it abruptly ended just about as abruptly as it started. While the sound of Grand Ole Party may be a bit too undemanding or straightforward for some, they know how to get groups, whether it be an irritable group or a desiring crowd, up and dancing.

Grand Ole Party’s equipment was being taken off stage and I was prepared to hear rapid grumbles regarding the heat and humidity. To my surprise nearly the whole crowd was alight with Grand Ole Party. I turned around a few times during GOP’s set to find the audience getting a bit larger each time and unexpectedly the audience was considerably larger (by around 60 or so people). Sadly, though, the buzz about GOP was put to the wayside and the crowd was growing impatient waiting for Rogue Wave.
Around the peak of irritation, audience members thought they were hearing things; acoustic guitars playing a melodious and familiar tune. Heads were turning all around in attempts to find out where the sound was coming from. No one was on stage! The crowd was outraged by their confusion until they realized that three members of Rogue Wave came in from the common entrance armed with their acoustic guitars. The three (Gram LeBron, Zach Rogue and Pat Abernathy) got comfortable in the middle of the crowd and for nearly two minutes gave a beautiful rendition of a song from Descended Like Vultures until the bass drum kicked the start of the next song from the stage.

This is where I left off and I broke my hand…so, as you can imagine the show was pristine, like a jewel glinting in the sun. I loved it, had a great time and couldn’t be more thankful to Gram LeBron for the great night. Sorry it’s not better than it is…but there’s not much you can do with a broken hand.

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