Friday, April 27, 2007

Zero Mass

Zero Mass was founded in 2002 by Matt Poland & others. After a year long struggle, according to their Myspace Page , they regained control of their band in 2004 and Zero Mass was formed. An additional band member was added in 2005, but again, the band was found to be a solo act after some trouble. In late 2006 Harrison Leong and Matthew Lucas joined the band by playing drums and bass. And to my delight, their sound is one that puts you in the mood to get on your feet and toss yourself around like a rag doll.

As I listened to their selection of music that they have for us all to enjoy on their Myspace page, I felt a surge of energy and a jolt of excitement. The guitar in Zero Mass' music rides through you like lightening and you toss your head as you listen to the beat of the drums, and as you feel like you're about to explode, you get the bass.

I'm not usually a huge fan of music that has many instrumental riffs in it, but I seemed to enjoy the instrumental bits a lot, but they were a bit short for my liking. I couldn't really nail down who the lead singer sounded like, so I came to the conclusion that he was a mixture between Billy Corgan & Fred Durst... if you can imagine that. I am no music professional by any means, but I know what I like, and I think I could flip on their CD and listen to it in its entirety over and over again.

Although they are currently playing in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm sure it will not be long before we see these boys on a tour of their own, and hopefully they will roll into Vancouver and let me in on some backstage action! (not in the biblical sense of course. maybe for an interview). I give them a solid AC Slater, and I hope you all check them out, I'm off to buy their CD!

"saved by the bell - rock rating"
A.C. Slater

huh? what the hell does that mean?


Your Fav writer

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Social Distortion in Vancouver B.C.

Let me start off by bringing you up to speed. I found out several weeks ago that Social Distortion was coming to Vancouver to play the Commodore Ballroom on April 16th. I later found out that they added a second show. However, as soon as I heard about the first show, I ran inside and got on to purchase tickets. I soon realized that after all the bullshit charges and reach around taxes, that it came to just over $97 for a pair of tickets! "Wow, thats a lot for a punk rock show." I thought.

(this is my drunken rant after the show...)

Now, I have spent more than that on an arena show many times before, despite saying every time that I won't attend another one again. I mean what's the point of spending upwards of $75 per ticket to sit a mile away from the band, confined to your tiny, horribly uncomfortable seat, and experiencing probably the worst possible acoustics imaginable. Time and time again I would do this only to regret the money spent every time. So what do you do if your favorite band is past the playing clubs stage, and attracts more than the 1500 fans, and needs to play a larger venue? Well, for that I don't have an answer that works for everyone. I suppose they could do what Social Distortion did, and play 2 nights at a cool club like the Commodore? But what if they attract a good size under 19 audience? I'm sure lots of kids would have loved to see the legendary Social D, but couldn't. Or, they could play one bullshit show at the PNE Forum, (5000 plus sports arena)? Yeah you can make it all ages, and have a beer garden (with an hour long line-up), but at what cost? The show itself is the shits because you're in a barn and it sounds like it. Now, you can even make it general seating so your not confined to your little cell, but the place is still so big that unless you want to get into the PIT and mosh with the stinky jocko's and over sweaty pre teen emo kids, your stuck a mile away again. The other option that bands seem to exercise is the amphitheater show. I've seen some good shows in these type of venues, but it really depends on the type of band. I still don't like being confined to my seat, but if it's a chilled out show, and I'm able to get a few beers in before taking my seat, I can sometimes deal with it. I saw Wilco a few times in these type of venues and enjoyed the shows immensely. But I've seen others in these same venues, and the show and the band really suffered. My favorite place to see a band is by far a small club. The smaller the better as far as I'm concerned. I've been to shows, seeing pretty large bands, and practically been on stage watching them. Or maybe I just want to be able to have a beer and walk around freely and check the band out from various vantage points in the building? To me this is the ultimate, and the only downside I see, is the non-all ages aspect. Sorry kids, you'll understand when you're a bit older.
(end of drunken rant after the show...)

This brings me to the show. As I mentioned earlier, I was a little miffed about having to spend $50 each on a pair of tickets to a punk rock show at a bar, but having said that, I would rather spend that kind of money and be happy with the show and the venue. The Vancouver crowd was warmed up by the bands I Hate Kate, and local heroes, The Black Halo's. I Hate Kate was alright, nothing special though. The Black Halo's were really cool. Great back-up vocals, and Billy Hopeless is quite the performer. And then, the moment I've been waiting for since 1997's Van's Warped Tour!

The band takes the stage and starts jamming, only to allow a dramatic entrance for punk legend Mike Ness. Ness straps on his ax sporting a paper boy hat and a bandanna covering his face, making him look like a punk rock hobo. He rips into a lead riff and and the pumped up crowd ignites. The jam halts, and they bust into "Reach For The Sky" off their latest record, "Sex, Love, and Rock N' Roll". They blast out about 5 or 6 songs before the inevitable rants from Mike Ness begin. However to be fair, he was pretty good about them on this night, keeping them pretty short. They continued on with favorites like, "Ball and Chain", "Sick Boy", "Mommy's Little Monster", "Prison Bound", and "Bye Bye Baby". They even played the covers, "Under My Thumb", "Ring Of Fire", and the Chuck Berry tune "Maybelline". Surprisingly absent from their set were three of my favorite Social D songs, "I Was Wrong", "Cold Feelings", and "Making Believe".

Although their performance didn't blow me away with their stage show, or give me anything above or beyond my expectations, what they did was completely satisfy my Social Distortion craving. I've wanted to see them for a second time for years, and finally got to. I was looking forward to this show perhaps more so than any other for quite some time, and it didn't disappoint. The sound was pretty good for a punk show, and the Commodore is always a treat. I love seeing 4 musicians on stage that genuinely appear to love what they do. They played their guts out, and left me wanting more. I could have easily listened for another hour, but they new better than to outstay their welcome. I enjoyed it so much so, that I considered purchasing a ticket to the second show, but didn't. $50 for Social D at the Commodore is a bargain as far as I'm concerned, and I envy the lucky folks that got to see night number 2, and the rest of the Canadian dates on this tour. Social D Kicks Ass!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ours To Destroy - Review

Ours To Destroy describe themselves as an "anarchist folk abstract". In fact on their website, they reach out for fan participation in classifying their genre, as well as contributing to their next album. I was actually quite impressed with their website, even though I'm supposed to be reviewing their music.

Keeping in mind that this band is not your average pop/rock band, I was instantly intrigued by them. Having been my given my choice of band to write about, after hearing 10 seconds of "Checkmate", I new this was the band for me. As I listened more and read more about them I realized why I like them so much. They list their influences as Modest Mouse, Wilco, Ween, The Eels, the Flaming Lips, and Mark Lanegan. I can hear all of these bands within their sound and would even add Frank Zappa and The Drive By Truckers. I really enjoyed the folk country feel of "Two Thousand Sunsets", and "Skipping Rope OF Daisies". Our To Destroy seem to pride themselves on creating a mood with each song.

Out of the 5 songs on their website I would have to say "Exorcising Demons" was my favorite, but each is so different form the last it's truly difficult to pick a favorite. They are all so much their own sound, and they are all "bridged by sound montages captured during several guerilla recording sessions on the streets and in the malls of Calgary during 2005", according to their bio.

From a production standpoint, everything sounds polished and professional. The performances are all excellent, with at some times so much going on it leaves you having to listen again just to catch what you missed the first time around. There is some really nice guitar work, and vocally everything seems to fit. The samples are very tasteful, and a great use of percussion.

Ours To Destroy won't be for everyone, but anyone with an appreciation for good writing, and originality should give them a listen.

Ours To Destroy

"saved by the bell - rock rating"

huh? what the hell does that mean?


Friday, April 13, 2007


Going over Wireless' myspace page, the first sense was of a band that wants to rock out, wants to MAKE IT. After a cursory listen I felt like the best option in reviewing Wireless would be to enlist the aid of my 14 year old daughter. She patiently listened, and told me she'd like them if she heard them on the radio. Not a ringing endorsement, but fourteen year olds tend to regard anything a parent asks them about as automatically and fatally infected with uncoolness, so take it with a grain of salt. For all I know she's singing their songs 'n' praises to her squealing friends as we speak.
My own impression is one of a catchy band with a dense sound, at least on the three tracks I found on their Myspace page ( Nothing revolutionary, but nothing that made me mash the keyboard desperately to escape. "Sold Us Out" is anthemic and driving, with a nice singalong chorus. I'll actually download this one and add it to the playlist. "Bad Dream" has a little more honkytonk to it, with a nice effect on the voice. "I Won't Be Free" is the least interesting to me of the three, a bit standard and expected.
I'd say Wireless is a good add to the playlist, especially if you drive a lot and want to sing along. I bet they rock out live...they have a kind of "over-studioed" sound that always makes me think of a group that loves killing on stage, riffing and going off on solos and whatnot.

From their page:
"Hailing from Harwich, a miserable Essex coastal town, formerly a significant port but now in decline and left for dead, Wireless were launched to alleviate the boredom of their depressing home town.
Taking their time to develop their song-writing and stage-craft, Wireless drew on the experience of local bands and influences such as Doves, The Jam, Stereophonics and The Beatles to make sure, when they hit the stage people took notice. And they did.
Quickly building a fanatical loyal following, the bands blistering set of original songs has earnt them a reputation for exhilarating live performances and an excellent night out. Regular visits to London with coach-loads of fans and a summer festival gig playing to 4000 people in support of The Levellers have cemented their reputation as one of the best bands on the Essex scene.
2007 will see Wireless pushing hard for the recognition that is surely due."

Paul - Guitar and Vocals, Dan - Bass and Vocals, Rob - Guitar, Dave - Drums
Harwich, Essex, UK

"saved by the bell - rock rating"

huh? what the hell does that mean?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Friend of Worn Records to perform

Arsenic and Old Lace runs Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Stanley (2750 Granville St.). Tickets are available at 604-687-1644.

Scott Johnston has some big shoes to fill Friday night as he steps outside his comfort zone and prepares to take on a role made famous by Hollywood icon Cary Grant.

Accustomed to playing the villain in previous charity fundraising productions, the Vancouver lawyer and Matthew McNair Secondary grad will this time get a shot as the lead in the black comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. The play, which features actors from the legal community, runs for two nights at the Stanley Theatre in Vancouver.

Read the entire article from BC News Group

My long time friend Scott Johnston takes the stage again at the famous Stanley Theatre in Vancouver. I've seen Scott perform in nearly everything he's done since grade 8. I know it's not rock and roll, but let's get out there and support!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


You know that cover band that plays every Thursday night at that bar down the street from you? The one that just can't let you possibly get through the night without hearing their overly enthusiastic take on "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Hotel California"? The kind of band that have obviously spent a lot of time practicing their sweet licks and can bang off "Sweet Child of Mine" without even breaking a sweat, but have still ended up playing to a bunch of bleary-eyed middle aged women in a suburban strip mall bar?

Well have you ever wondered what would happen if one of these "bands" decided to stop playing "Rock the Casbah" for five minutes and made an original album? Well, look no further because Arlington's own Vent have made the nightmare a reality.

With album artwork that looks like the cover to some kind of pornographic video game, I was already a little apprehensive, but decided to give it a listen anyway. What I found was the most horrible amalgamation of everything that is bad about 70's, 80's and 90's rock all in one convenient package. Like every worst moment of Journey, Poison and Nickelback all at once. The only thing I feel I can say is at least I made it through it.

So just remember, the next time you end up at that bar that you said you'd never go to again, and have to listen to "Light My Fire" while you watch a your friends mom stumble around the dance floor with a glass of white wine in her hand. At least that band has the common courtesy to keep their creativity to themselves.

"saved by the bell - rock rating"

huh? what the hell does that mean?

- Clino

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Earlstown Winter @ The Backstage Lounge

Friday, April 13th IMU presents RUN GMC, EARLSTOWN WINTER, DAN SWINIMER & TARL @ The BACKSTAGE LOUNGE on Granville Island (1585 Johnston St.) . 9pm / $10 - Get your advance tickets online at

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Annunaki - Review

The Anunnaki (also transcribed as: Anunnaku, Ananaki) are a group of Sumerian and Akkadian deities related to, and in some cases overlapping with, the Annuna (the 'Fifty Great Gods') and the Igigi (minor gods). The name is variously written "da-nuna", "da-nuna-ke4-ne", or "da-nun-na", meaning something to the effect of 'those of royal blood'[1] or 'princely offspring'[2]. Wikipedia

Well I don't how any of that relates to these five mates from Red Deer Alberta, but I suppose a name can just be a name. Annunaki have only been together since 2004, and based on the songs I am checking out on the bands myspace page, they have some polishing to do on their sound. I could totally see these guys playing a high school, or small town hall dance on a Friday night. You know like that scene at the end of the movie Footloose before Kevin Bacon shows up to get the party rocking? Everyone just kind of sitting there uncomfortably while the music fills the air space in the otherwise silent room.

First off "My Hands Are Tied" starts off with a gentle guitar lick that to me seems slightly out of tune with the rest of the band. It may just be a tremolo effect that's making it sound off, but either way, I wish they had cleaned it up. Otherwise it's a pretty catchy song, highlighted with a wicked guitar solo. Vocally it's fairly dry, nothing unique and honestly no passion behind the lyrics.

Next up is "Taking Over The World". This cut had to me my least favorite out of the bunch. Again there is some nice lead guitar work in there, but the vocals, both lyrically and their delivery are killing this song. I mean does the singer even have a pulse? On their website they claim to pride themselves on their live show. I can only assume they get pumped and put some energy into the vocals on stage.

Last is "These Men". This song starts off with an almost Mark Knopfler kind of feel with some nice picking. It builds up quite nicely before exploding into a skynyrd like instrumental type of chorus. Again the vocals do this song no justice, but it sounds like he's at least trying a little harder on this one. Definitely my favorite out of the three.

For the short time these guys have been together I give them props. They know how to play, and I like the folk, roots rock, country style they're going after. Take some more time in the studio, especially working on the vocals, and you may have something. Nice guitar work, but watch the tuning on the rhythm git. Drums and bass are tight, but nothing exceptional. Having said that, next time I pass through Red Deer, and if they're playing, I'll check these guys out.


"saved by the bell - rock rating"

huh? what the hell does that mean?