I made another grand adventure over to The Dive Bar to support my pals in the local band Astoria on February 17th, 2018. With every show you attend there are always the bands you come to see, the bands you’ve never heard of but totally end up digging, bands not quite your style and the bands put in the line up that completely throw you off due to a massive (at least to you) genre clash.
Astoria: Right out of the gate they brought the energy to the stage. Steven Jackson (vocals) running around the stage like a mad man swinging the mic like a musical whip to shape up the crowd. I seriously don’t know how he doesn’t sprain his ankles or break something every time he takes the stage. If you have seen them play live, you already know what I’m talking about.
Glenn Cwikla (drums) tearing up the drums like there’s no tomorrow. And then there is Corey Owens (Bass) & James Hartman (Lead Guitar)….these two…getting good photos of them is sometimes difficult. Corey moves around the stage almost as much as Steven. James and Corey will synchronize a guitar-facing-guitar riff sesh right there on stage which is amazing to watch. They get so into it sometimes…the face I capture are priceless.
Project Redline: Rocked the show in their usual style. Nothing too extravagant but not without notice of talent. I definitely would like to see more energy from these guys on stage. It could also be that I have a preference for the harder stuff. I personally have a hard time staying engaged with them during their sets. Fun guys though and not lacking talent. They hung out in the crowd before and after their set and had a laugh with me over some condom balloon popping.
Blacklite District: This is where I got thrown off . The show started with some pretty heavy rock and then in the middle of the set order a cage/ laptop stand comes into play with loud colored banners. The first song started playing. I wasn’t even facing the stage and I immediately stared at my girlfriend with the look of “what the fuck is this?” In my mind I was trying to be open about it but found it a struggle when I turned around and there was a neon lit purge masked man behind a lap top on stage. It took probably a good 4 or 5 minutes before the vocalist took the stage in front of the DJ cage/ barrier contraption.
I’m not going to lie, this monkey wrench of a genre clash had me eventually screaming “what the fuck” at the bar and proceeding to exit the venue for the remainder of their set. It’s not my style. I’ve never been a fan of lap top stage bandits fronting as a band when all the rest of the line up is 4 to 5 people playing real instruments and for the most part playing original music and not beefing up their set with covers. It threw off the vibe of the night at least for the more hardcore members of the crowd. A good portion of which also exited the venue.
The Crowned: There aren’t many bands with a drummer that doubles as the vocalist. It made for a great change up on your standard band set up. Their sound was great. Not too fast, not too slow, right on the money. From the get go these guys were pretty hilarious on stage. From the sarcastic / jokingly flirtatious exchanges with Marc Coronado to get the crowd pumped; To the Condom Balloons these guys showered the front of the stage with during their set. Tastefully they made sure we knew which brand they used by including the wrappers as they dispersed them from the black trash bag.
There were also blow up dolls. I named the one I picked up and placed on stage (after having my way with her of course ;P ) Molly. Molly proceeded to be laid lovingly on the stage in front of one of the Guitarists. Once Molly was on her back, said guitarist straddled her. Then thrusting himself upon her with such passion and Indelicacy it made all the boys in the crowd blush. All this dry-hump fest with a sex doll occurred while he was STILL simultaneously playing guitar. Unfortunately I did not get my camera out in time to snap a photo of this part but it was a VERY memorable moment.
FLAW: The closing act, coup de grâce, final chapter of the night before I made my way home. Coming to you from Louisville, KY; Flaw gives you the kind of hard rock / nu metal vibe like a mix between Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch and Stain’d. Attacking each note and riff with such veracity and amazing stage presence.
Chris Volz’ somber yet powerful vocals really hit the emotional keys in their music to make a crowd move. Coming from a military family and growing up on Marine Corps bases most my life, their lyrics really resonated with me.
Chris hopped on the drums half way through the set to let Georges Octobous (Drums) take a break and introduce everyone in the band. Towards the end of their set Chris let each of the individual band members play their own solo bit to show off their individual musical talents. It’s really refreshing to see when bands do this so that you can appreciate the talent of each person that makes the whole unit you see on stage.
There is some mad talent in this band. Rich Brown on Guitar, the ginger delicious Dan Crisafulli on Bass (tall bearded redheads are kinda my thing…he takes the cake…and then some…DAMN…you sir have a fan). I feel like i’m missing one person’s name but cant for the life of me remember it … Tom? someone please god correct me so i can edit this …. His head banging was great …loved it .
Flaw’s last album release was “Divided We Fall” on August 19, 2016. They have been around since 1996 and clearly know what the fuck they are doing . I would definitely recommend seeing them play when they come back to Las Vegas.