If you are feeling hesitant about Stony Brook’s newest music extravaganza, RockYoFace Case, you better leave it at the door. The showcase, created by Patrice Zapiti and Carlos Parreno, is definitely showing face and lighting a fire in a currently dreary music scene.
In the Black Box Theatre in the Tabler Arts Center on Thursday, November 13, the second of these shows, which seemed to skimp on the number of attendees, bulked up quickly and featured not only talented local bands, but an onslaught of seemingly unnecessary moshing, two-stepping, interpretative and ballroom dancing. I forgive the two assholes that refused to refrain from making fools of themselves because the highlighted bands were surprisingly good and the dedication and passion Patrice showed in her introduction actually made you want to stay throughout the whole show. Most people did, including the musicians themselves who showed venerable support for the rest of the bands on the line-up.
And now a question: What’s better than one frontman? Answer: Two frontmen! Slothbear delivers this and more with their bonafide, rough-around-the-edges garage band sound. The guys, who claim they created punk rock in the 1960’s, were down a bassist that night due to 12 hours of classes and still managed to maul the opening of the showcase. My favorite performance of the night consisted of five Slothbear classic hits. The first song, “Don’t Taunt a Tiger” urged the people in from far and wide, captivating its listeners. The vocals switched off between frontmen and there was a lovely eclectic use of drumsticks as guitar picks. The guitars blended together incredibly with each other and with the note-worthy drumming backing the boys up. The whole band was totally in sync without much of an effort. Their last song, “Olio/D Jam” could have lasted forever and I’m sure nearly everyone (coughSBUfacultycough) would have been okay with it, except that one of their frontmen looked as though he might have been having a seizure. It’s alright. It was a good seizure. One induced by clever lyrics, cymbal crashes and rocking guitar melodies.
Next in line was an almost-too-long set performed by The Gekko State. A seven-piece band that epitomizes the indie hipster scene brought laidback harmonies to the Black Box stage. Unfortunately for them, The Gekko State showed their inexperience confusing the audience with misplaced song breaks and even having to restart a song, appropriately titled “The Hipster Song.” For those of us whose glass is half full, The Gekko State definitely showed promise through the mishaps. Their best song of the night was “Sea Shanty” and the props needed to go to their frontwoman’s melodic vocals for that one. Their keyboard solo in their set was awesome, and I think more should go to their violinist, who sounded incredible when you could actually hear her. Turn that chick’s mic up! I’d give The Gekko State a few more rehearsals together to really perfect that hipster sound. They’ve got the potential, that’s for sure.
Third on was the hardcore band, Myriad. The best part of metal and hardcore bands live is the energy, and Myriad’s set was like a 5-Hour Energy Shot mixed with Pixie Sticks on steroids. Their singer was all over the place and almost tripped once or twice, as well as almost bringing down the bass guitar when his mic cord got stuck on it. Potential natural disasters aside, the musicality of Myriad was mind-blowing. The lead guitar parts tore it up, the percussion was perfectly fast-paced, and I loved being able to hear every note the bassist hit. You can never have too much bass. My only wish is that I could have heard the vocals better, but the music was too good for me to really care. Their last song was dead-on. Myriad said they have quite a few ending songs, and they picked the right one for RockYoFace. It was loud, intricate and better than most metal/hardcore bands I’ve heard. Hands down, best performance of the night.
I was outside the Black Box when the last band had started. Their first song sounded so familiar to me and practically forced me back into the room. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it was a rather skillful cover of Sublime’s “Date Rape.” And it wasn’t their only cover that night, as Eugene’s Shoes also played a song by Fall of Troy. The guys probably brought in the largest crowd of the night and it wasn’t any wonder. The three-man show that is Eugene’s Shoes is a well-laid combination of punk rock and … reggaeton? Yeah, sure. Why not? Point is it worked. Their original songs, including a sweet one called “It’s a Wonderful Day,” were delicately masterful. The singer’s voice and guitar-playing were a perfect match and gave a nice polish to their modernized, yet familiar, rock sound.
All in all, RockYoFace’s second month running was a satisfying mix of different musical genres that needs to be attended to be appreciated. So, start up your own band and sign up for the showcase. Let’s be honest, you have nothing better to do. Rock the scene and rock yo face!
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