Show In Review: LIVE at Nicole’s House!!!(Monsterwatch, Tony Taylor and the NovaBabies and Anti-Vision!!!)
Hey Everybody! Raistlin James here again with another article. This time I won’t be boring you to death with anecdotes and pictures of me as a fetus. No, this time, we dive deep into the world of Las Vegas’ local music scene starting with this bad-ass house show I went to on 3/16/2019. A little backstory leading up to this event; this show was supposed to be held at Las Vegas’ esteemed Fremont venue, an all-time favorite of mine, The Beauty Bar.
Now, in recent news, I’m sure all of you have heard by now about the struggles The Beauty Bar and its faculty is facing. With that in mind I can sort of grasp why they were having to cancel a show so suddenly. Hanging out after the house show, it has come to my attention that The Beauty Bar cancelled the show day-of leaving the bands no choice but to look for another venue or just outright cancel the show. Luckily for the bands and the attendees excited for this event, Nicole came to the rescue by opening up her home to allow the show to go on! Now, unfortunately I didn’t get the pleasure of speaking with said Nicole, so I have no information about her or where she came from or her place in the music scene, but kudos to her right out of the gate for saving the show! Alright let’s get on with the show review shall we?
This bad-ass four-piece punk band took my breath away from how incredibly exhausting the entire band was, and I mean that in a good way. I could not land a clear photo because of how much energy and movement these guys were exerting! Anti-vision started the night off with a fast, hard hitting set list that of which I could only compare to Knuckle Puck chugging energy drinks all night. One song after another of just double-time thrash punk for a good 45 minutes or so. I unfortunately wasn’t able to hear any of the lyrics to gain some insight as to what the band is all about, but it sounded great, I can tell you that. I’m sure I’ll catch Brendan in an interview next time and ask him what he was yelling about all night, I’m curious to know!
Meeting the Band:
The sharp-dressed front-man is Brendan. Speaking with Brendan before the show, I learned that he had to run to work as soon as his set was over. My response, “Wow, you are literally a meme!” You guys know the meme I’m talking about right? It has a picture of a person or thing in an environment that typically doesn’t suit said person or thing with a caption of “When you are _____ but have to _______ later” or whatever. You know what I’m saying. So his caption for the night was, “When you are a punk front-man but have to be at work by 10:30.” I thought it was funny, screw you.
Moving on! The guy laying down those shit-hot guitar licks is Saxon. This dude’s accuracy for this type of music was impressive. I’ve seen some punk bands in the past with guitar players being in the ballpark of the right chords, but you could tell they were slightly sharp or flat on the fretboard, but not this guy! Saxon was laying down the law with those chuggy four-chord verses and choruses and opening up the fretboard to it’s full potential on some really melodic solos. It was definitely a treat watching and hearing him play. Coming in with the four-stringed rhythm machine is Alan. Alan held down some solid bass grooves overtop the fast-paced boom ka boom boom ka the drummer was tapping out. Overall, I was pleased with the low end melody holding the band together, great work up there, Alan!
The drumming wizard flailing those wooden weapons of mass percussion around is Robbie. I actually met Robbie long ago at the Guitar Center he currently works at. Working right next to the Guitar Center certainly has it’s perks as Robbie is always there to satisfy my drumming needs. Being a new acquaintance of his, I found excitement in knowing his band was playing in town which is what lead me to this show and ultimately here to write this review for you guys to enjoy! Being a fan of punk drumming my whole life, I certainly am confident in my ability to spot top-performers in this specific category. Robbie is now on my list of all-time favorite drummers just by his sheer speed and technicality behind the kit. I’m surprised a small fire didn’t start.
My overall opinion of the band is that they had great energy and performed very well. Personally, I like my music a tad slower, but for you speed-seekers out there, this band is for you. They had the crowd going absolutely wild the entire time! I’ll have links and other band info below the article because I’m too lazy to throw it in here individually, deal with it. Be sure to catch Anti-Vision March 28th at Evel Pie alongside Acid Teeth, Gob Patrol, Ike Fonseca, and William Surly. You won’t be disappointed, but will be tired from all the headbanging/moshing!
After some time taken for tear-down, three cool cats from Seattle stormed the stage to throw-down some of their tunes for the crowd. Monsterwatch began their set and blew the audience away with a unique and catchy opening song. They kinda reminded me of a male-fronted Distillers with a touch of Jack White. John sang in a raspy looming kind of tone while he strummed pop-punk rooted guitar work. The audience began shouting that they were dressed like The Wiggles and started singing the famous fruit salad song from the TV show. But aside from that, these guys laid down a mean and groovy set.
I personally really liked their vibe and will be adding them to my music playlist. The bass and drums were a perfect match for their whole set, you couldn’t tell that they had driven for hours before they arrived to the show. Jack, the drummer, reminded me of like Dave Grohl with a hint of Marky Ramone. Ben, bass, was impeccable with his timing and the bass tone cut right through to provide that low melody to follow along. They absolutely nailed the performance and left the audience amazed.
Meeting The Band
I had the opportunity to speak with the band about how they got their band name and what they were up to following this show. The story of the name Monsterwatch begins with two musicians John(vocals/guitar), and Jack(drums), coming from New Hampshire. Now, there’s a site near Franconia, New Hampshire of a phenomenon of a well-known cliffside that resembles an old man. Locals call it “Old Man of the Mountain.” Bassist Ben said, “there is a sign leading up to the site that read something like, ‘something Monsterwatch something else..I don’t know’, and John thought it was a cool name.” I agree!
Monsterwatch is currently working on recording some singles at Substation in Seattle. I can’t wait because they were awesome to listen to live, I can only imagine what they will sound like mixed and mastered. Aside from an album coming out soon, Monsterwatch also has shirts, records and patches available for purchase! After this show they were headed onward to continue their expansive tour and eventually back home to work on some more tunes!
My personal opinion of Monsterwatch as a whole would be absolutely amazed and entertained. The amount of hook and power in their songs really took me over. It was a quite relaxing and fun set they played. 10/10! Would definitely recommend. The crowd definitely felt the same way, judging by the way almost everyone was bopping around and dancing. It was a good time had by all!
TONY TAYLOR AND THE NOVA BABIES
Aside from being absolutely enthralled by the name, these guys really appealed to me musically. Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies is a trio from right here in Las Vegas! I knew who these guys were from a show a while back. The New Years show from January 2018 at Beauty Bar, my band Dirt Halo actually shared the stage with Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies. Before I could realize what it was, I had figured out I had been humming one of their songs as they started playing; damn is their music catchy. From happy heartbreak to facing the inevitable, the lyricism from what I could catch was riveting. I love the line “there’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with me” from one of my favorite songs of theirs seemingly about heartbreak and growing apart. Throw that line on top of a pop-punk surfer backbeat and that’s what you get from this trio.
One of my all-time favorite bands is Alkaline Trio which is why I really connected with this particular group that night. I’m all about melancholy lyrics and 3-4 chord punk ballads. Keeping that in mind, the stage presence from these guys was subtle but powerful. Tony Taylor(singer) had a lot of Jack White inspired movements while pouring his feelings into the microphone which I thought was a really cool aspect of their performance.
Meeting The Band:
After wrapping up the concert, I ran out of the little house turned venue to catch Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies outside to do a little Question and Answer. The quirky band name comes from Tony Taylor’s “intuitive phrase for Millennials or youngsters.” My interpretation of that would be like Millennials are misunderstood or other-worldy, maybe coming from some planet “Nova” or something. Tony Taylor then added, “the name also correlates to an old orange Chevy Nova that we couldn’t get to run.” So, was this statement alluding to the band not being able to start well? I’d like to know the full history behind that. To me it looks as though things are running well; like they got that Nova running after all!
Further discussing with the band, Tony Taylor said one of his most prominent influences for his music is Jack White. This made me happy because I called it out right when I saw them start jamming. The band seemed pleased that I compared them to a modern day The Killers, which of course in a huge compliment. They were and are still a very successful group of dudes.
The bassist, Eric, had the coolest demeanor I had ever seen from a performer; just a real down-to-earth kind of dude. Eric really set the tone for their performance with his quirky witted one liners or silly sounds and phrases. I really enjoyed this in the mix of everything, made the whole experience really comfortable and entertaining.
Being a drummer, I had to hunt down Charlie, drummer for Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies, to ask him about his experience in the music industry and talk about other drum stuff no one who reads this article will understand. Drummer language is a whole other beast, don’t try to understand. Charlie told me had had been playing for over 30 years starting in Illinois. I was fascinated by his rhythm and overall understanding and mastery of the ever important back beat. Side note; the back beat is a term used for the meat-and-potatoes of the song, nothing flashy or fancy, just solid rhythmic time-keeping. This was the perfect ingredient for this band. If you had Derek Grant or Jimmy Sullivan(R.I.P) behind the kit of this band, it just simply wouldn’t work. The simplicity and structural integrity Charlie was providing was yet another favorite aspect of Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies.
My overall opinion of Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies is if you haven’t heard them, you need to. Like mentioned above, I really enjoyed their set, their performance was stellar, and the music is on par with that of some of my favorite bands. Definitely recommend seeing these guys at Evel Pie on April 5th!
OVERALL SUMMARY (finally….)
I had a lot to say about all of these killer bands. I was impressed to say the least; the amount of raw talent in this city can’t be matched. And all of the people who support these awesome acts are the real MVP’s of this lively music scene. So real quick, thank all of you for being supportive and engaging with the local shows.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun, the night was awesome. I am really glad the show didn’t get outright cancelled after having to move locations. I will definitely be catching more shows from all of these groups even if I have to fly to Seattle to see Monsterwatch again. Until next time, this has been another show review by yours truly. Now, get down there and click all the links, like all the pages, and support these amazing motherfuckers!
Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you guys next time! And I better see some of you out there supporting these awesome groups, I’ll be in the pit with ya!
Tony Taylor and the Nova Babies