Friday, December 27, 2013

Local Music Scene: Cleveland Edition

Last night, an old friend of mine invited me out to see some bands at a place called The Grog Shop over on the east side of Cleveland. It's the first time I've been to a concert in (I think) 4+ years, and I wasn't familiar with any of the bands playing. Fortunately, my friend Elliot has good taste in music.  If I'm not mistaken, all three bands are from the Cleveland area.

It was a small venue, but we got there early enough that we not only weren't part of the crowd who didn't get in because the place was full but also managed to snag a space to stand right to the side of the stage. We were about as close as we could be, and being off to the side, it almost felt like members of the bands were looking at us when they were looking at bandmates--in other words, it was like being part of the band, without any of the pressure of playing the right notes or looking cool.

Tom Evanchuck (and the Old Money--I think--they weren't announced that way, but I think from his website that that's who he was playing with) was good. It was a show full of covers, but they did them well. Tom plays guitar well and sells a song; I think I picked up that his drummer is his brother, and I absolutely loved watching him on drums: good drummer, clearly having fun.

The second band was The Moxies, which my friend described as "Rockabilly Punk." And that pretty much summed it up: they'd be grooving along with this rockabilly feel and then they'd burst out into this punk explosion. Their show was a ton of fun. The crowd--which I swear seemed like it was about 83% high schoolers--seemed to know all the songs and were singing along and rocking out, which helped make it a fun show.

As good as Tom Evanchuck was, The Moxies brought something even more polished, but still with a wild energy to it.

Elliot picked up an EP and gave it to me s a souvenir, and I was just a bit disappointed: it felt like the studio recording captured the rockabilly feel but not the punk side so well.I'm still listening to it, though, still trying getting into it. The vocals live were as good or better than the studio recording.

The final band of the night was The Modern Electric. To the polish and energy of The Moxies, The Modern Electric also added a bit more... show. The stage was set with a TV that looked like something we had in our living room in the 80s, which had A Christmas Story playing throughout, and along with that there were some old lamps and furniture set up around the stage.

The music was solid--a lot of fun, a nice sound, and the singer, Garrett Komyati, has an intensity that really takes it to another level; there was a real sincerity there, like he was putting his heart out there on every song.

The bass player and drummer switched back and forth between bass and drums, and I suspect that the musical flexibility these guys have (the lead singer was also bopping around between piano and guitar) is one of the things that makes the band distinctive.

Once again, the crowd knew all the songs, so they were rocking it like this concert was their job, too. Elliot picked up a 2-song EP for me, and their sound holds up really well in the studio, it seems to me. I played it for Lauren, and "David Bowie Save Us All" is now lodged firmly in both our minds.

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