Braving the weather that L.A. has been getting blasted with, we headed out to the Sunset Strip to check out four of the most cutting edge bands this side of the River. Metalboy was armed with the camera this time, and I took a mellower approach by lurking in the shadows near the back of the club, but not without a perfect view of the stage, and an even better listening position. This show was a near out-of-body experience.
We completely missed Excon but hey, it was raining and we were starving. UnEarthed favorite and Northern California natives, Systematic were the first band we caught. (Right after grabbing some of that excellent Rainbow Bar & Grill pizza!) The band worked the stage relentlessly, and the jaded L.A. crowd perked up towards the end of their set, which featured Systematic’s brand new drummer, and a few of the excellent songs from their upcoming CD Somewhere In Between. We were able to catch up with Tim (vocals) after the set, who expressed nothing but positivity about the show and the new CD being released on Lars Ulrich’s TMC/Elektra label in the Spring. We wish the Systematic guys the very best of success with their debut record. For more info., check out: www.systematic1.com
Next up was OTEP, a dark, brooding and heavy band with a vicious female vocalist, that came highly recommended by a good friend from Agrokulcher who was also in attendance. I was told that they were a little bit like Korn, but with a female vocalist. This band blew my mind!
Not only were they all excellent musicians, but their songs were the deep, provocative sort that came as a bit of a shock to the systems of the listeners that had filled the club to maximum capacity. The singer’s voice was exceptional, her stage persona was loose and sultry, and she stalked the stage with a bruised growl that gave me chills from the ground up. I wanted to talk to them afterwards to grab a demo or find out more, but the club was packed and I missed my chance. The mystery surrounding OTEP is intriguing, and I plan to do some digging at their website www.otepsaves.com. This band shook me to the foundation, and I need more! Won’t you join me?
TheStart was a crowd favorite, as Aimee Echo always is. Their Missing Persons/Siouxsie and the Banshees/Kim Wilde brand of 80’s synth pop with a nu-metal edge was a definite hit with everyone in the Roxy audience. TheStart picked up where the now disbanded Human Waste Project left off, and seem to have gone the way of happier, lighter, more radio-friendly material. This is good. People like to move to it, and the talented band members seem more comfortable than ever. TheStart is a band that possess undeniable charisma and energy. You can’t ignore this band. They were great. I really need to get my hands on the CD.
And then there was Cold.
I can’t express myself fully in words about the romance I have with the music this band makes, but I try. They performed in that chilling, fluid, and pleading way that rocked me just the way I remembered. You see, I first saw Cold at the Palace. This was when their first CD came out, and Scooter Ward still had hair and wore vintage short-sleeved shirts and no eyeliner. I stood frozen in my place then. I couldn’t move. All I was able to do was absorb what this band was giving. They’ve only gotten better and more intense since then.
Cold may have been launched during an era of rap rock, and too much of a good thing when it comes to the aforementioned nu-metal, but this band have carved their own space and make no apologies for not following the formulaic (tired?) ways of many bands out there right now. Some have compared them to Bush, which I don’t agree with. Some said they were Alice In Chains rip offs when they first came onto the scene. These are the opinions of those who label and do not listen. Cold continue to remain focused on expressing what is really inside of them without the effects of what’s “in” right now. They have a stage presence that is real and unpretentious. Those qualities earn my loyalty and respect, and then some.
The Roxy show was another fine example of what Cold is made of. Scooter noted that this was their very first sold-out show, which made me proud to be one of the many in attendance. Still, I cannot figure out why they don’t sell out every place they play. No matter. Let’s just hope people catch on. I’ll do all I can to help.
The set list showcased material from the latest offering, 13 Ways to Bleed On Stage, (guess what I’m listening to right now?) including a few of my favorites “Confession” and “She Said”. The latter was unfortunately ruined by a “special” guest that will remain nameless, who joined Scooter on vocals, (need I say who?) yet added absolutely nothing to the performance. I would have much rather heard Scooter sing this one on his own. Oh well, maybe next time.
Cold also cranked out one track from their self-titled, debut CD; the song “Go Away”, which always hurts and feels good to listen to at the same time. In fact, for me, this is always how I feel when I listen to any song by Cold.
I was hypnotized once again by the sheer magnitude of Cold’s music. I can’t get enough of this band. Don’t make the mistake of missing them. See them if you have the chance. For tour dates, go to their gorgeous website: www.coldonline.com
Special thanks and utmost respect to Nick John and Amy Meyer for getting us there.