Thursday night we here in Dallas were treated to one hell of a show at House of Blues. I had this one circled on the calendar for a long time. Plus I discovered quite possibly one of my new favorite bands, right here in the area, but more on that in a bit. Now you would think that with STONE SOUR, POP EVIL, STOLEN BABIES, and local band DRAYTER that the bands’ measure of live goodness would be the order I just listed them in. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. Allow me to explain.
First band to take the stage was DRAYTER, a four-piece from Dallas that quite frankly knocked my socks off and put ‘em back on inside out! A delightful blend of rock, pop, and metal, this band is so good it hurts.
Lead singer Nyssa Garcia may be diminutive in stature but she packs a wallop vocally. When she let fly on the chorus to opener “Sweet Lies” all I could do was shake my head in disbelief.
The same thing happened during “Inside Out”. That voice is amazing. The whole band is young, but man, they can play, and on Thursday they showed they can hang with the big boys, judging by the cheers and applause they were on the receiving end of after every song. They also have the stage presence of seasoned pros, so they earned a new fan in this guy.
OK. This is normally NOT my thing, not even a little bit. But since I started doing this I have resolved to be more open-minded and give musical styles I normally wouldn’t go near a chance.
With a stage that looked as if it were designed by Tim Burton himself, Dominique Lenore Persi (vocals, accordion)and twin brothers Gil and Rani Sharone (drums and bass, respectively) treated the faithful to live renditions of “Tall Tales”, “Never Come Back”, and “Splatter” among others. It’s funny because all I could do was wonder what Danny Elfman would think of this band. Turns out they played his birthday party some years ago!
And I know that based on my description you might wonder where the metal is. It’s there, believe me. They go from heavy, chugging riffs to an almost musical theater type of sound at the drop of a hat, then back to the heavy. It really has to be seen to be believed, and is highly entertaining.
I had the chance to interview drummer Chachi Riot on the bus earlier and he is one high-energy, infectious personality, let me tell you. I say infectious because live it sure seemed like the rest of the band were were on his wavelength.
These guys are on “10″ from start to finish and had THE best set of the night. Opening with number one single “Deal With the Devil” from latest release Onyx the guys were in top form and ready to give this crowd what it came for. “Hero” from 2008’s Lipstick On the Mirror was next, followed by my other favorite from Onyx, “Flawed”. Even when these guys slowed it down for “Torn to Pieces” the air was electric.
This band really feeds off of crowd energy, and the sold out House of Blues had plenty for them.
Lead vocalist Leigh Kakaty, bassist Matt DiRito, and guitarists Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling all prowled the stage heads banging, arms raised, engaging everyone in their eyeline, but no one was as intense as Chachi back there. The Energizer Bunny ain’t got shit on him, pure and simple. “Goodbye My Friend” , “Sick Sense” and “Boss’s Daughter” all burned white hot, and for “Last Man Standing” Leigh brought out his good buddy and DROWNING POOL guitarist CJ Pierce to sing it with him.
I love it when I get to see impromptu jams like this, I really do. Finally it was time for their last song and the OTHER number one hit from Onyx “Trenches”. You know, that song that dominated rock radio and was voted #1 Song of 2013 in several outlets? Yeah, that one. Shit, the crowd was up for their entire set and this just took it to a whole new level.
Leigh didn’t even need to sing the song as the audience was roaring every word at him whenever he held the mic out. But hey, it’s a kickass tune, so you can’t blame them. I wasn’t a fan of it when it was first released, but I quickly came to my senses, and became a POP EVIL believer.
Rumor has it they will be back here sometime later this year. Count me in!
I really didn’t have much left in me after that blistering set. There was no way STONE SOUR was going to be able to match POP EVIL’S intensity live. They sounded good though. No surprise as Corey Taylor is a vastly underrated vocalist in my opinion, one who goes from screams to singing and makes it look like child’s play. The other thing I liked was their song selection. As it is widely known I was NOT a fan of House of Gold and Bones, Part 2, and anyone who is needs their head examined. So I was glad to see them only do four songs off of it, and none of that slow, boring nonsense.
“The House of Gold and Bones” was a smart choice for the opener followed by “RU486” from Part 1, and the place was going nuts. Radio megasmash “Say You’ll Haunt Me” had everybody singing along especially on the “Together! Together! We’ll be together!” parts and another one I liked from Part 2 showed up in “Black John”. They also did “Gravesend” later in the evening as well.
Corey definitely loves playing Dallas, and the city clearly loves him. It was one big love fest through songs like “Inhale”, “Bother”, “Through Glass”, and “Made of Scars”. This group of people was relentless wanting more and more, which STONE SOUR happily delivered, even throwing in cover versions of PETER GABRIEL’S “In Your Eyes” and “Creeping Death” by METALLICA.
It was also nice to hear “Mission Statement” my favorite track from Audio Secrecy. All in all they were good live, but I still say the night peaked with POP EVIL, and I have to say DRAYTER came a close second both in stage presence, and sound.
Check both of these bands out live if you haven’t already.You’ll be glad you did.
Photos Courtesy of:
Darkhouse Image &
Paul Wilkins Photography