Saturday, February 7, 2009

Show Review - Houston, TX -

Fitzgerald's 01-24-2009 Show Review

On Saturday, January 24th, 2008, Ghost Labor Radio attended the LSPS/ "Leave Your Genre At the Door" concert series at Fitzgerald's in Houston, Texas.  The bill included many awesome Houston, Austin and Galveston area bands, including LSPS and Melovine, and hip hop acts such as Perseph 1.  First, I would like to commend Fitz for putting together such a diverse show with wide ranging acts.  As a former music executive, one of my passions is to not box in performers solely based upon their genre.  Why shouldn't a hot local area Rock Band be allowed to co-exist during a concert performance with a scorching hip hop talent? As long as the acts have a balance and provide music that the crowd enjoys, let's just enjoy the music.

We were able to witness several acts:
Sad Gorilla
Wings Burn Away
Perseph 1

Sad Gorilla was the first act of the night and I must say that their style is not one that we would generally cover.  If I had to label their style I would say that it was an eclectic mix of Pop, Rock, Blues, and Soul.  I am not sure that mixing all four is a good thing, but they definitely had their own vibe and crowd following.  Interestingly enough, one of the band members also performed during Perseph 1's act later in the evening.  If I were to offer anything of use to the band it would be that they should find a definitive style and try to stick with that one style.  Sometimes when you mix too many styles you get an output that is often out of sync with a strong performance and that is the feeling I left with.

Wings Burn Away was the next act we observed and I was a bit more impressed with this Metal band.  The song that we were able to check out was "Shipwrecked". The lead singer immediately got the crowd involved with the familiar "I can't hear you" refrain and showed great showmanship, playing with one finger on his keytar.  The electric guitarist was definitely into his set, taking off his shirt midway through, although that probably played better with the ladies than it did with me.  Although their set was short, they definitely were a great opening act for LSPS who would play later in the evening.

Perseph 1 was the next act that we were able to check out and she came right out ripping non-strained hip hop jewels to the audience.  The thing that impresses me most about Perseph 1 is how quiet she is off the set and how she goes straight at the crowd the next minute.  The biggest drawback I can see for Perseph is that her version of experimental hip hop may be over the crowd's head that she is playing to.  Houston is known for our slow southern music, Screwed and Chopped of course.  Perseph has an incredible range with her style and would probably be a platinum selling artist if she could get to the West or East coast.  The live drums that she enlivened her set with along with the band member from Sad Gorilla playing on the vocoder/voice box, made for a show reminiscent of something you would see on VH1 or MTV.  The song "Heavenly Life" was a memorable opening performance and the rest of her show did not disappoint.

The final act we saw that night was the Austin based Metal act, Powderburn.  Immediately from watching these guys and judging by their Jagermeister sponsorship, you could sense that they are an act on the verge of being a mainstream rock act.  First I want to say that I love the local Houston rock scene, and I definitely think we have a scene.  I say that as if I am holding a loaded grenade, because as much as I think we are ready to blow up nationally, I think Austin is just that one step ahead of where we are.  That is not to say that we lack talent, but I think the live music scene in Austin allows bands such as Powderburn a place to hone their craft.  The song that was probably my favorite was "Echoed In Red'.  The guitar riffs and incessant pounding of the drums was definitely a great jump off for that set.  I loved how the lead singer threw koozies into the crowd.  Giving away free gifts to your crowd can never hurt guys!  

All things being equal, I would love to see more mixing of crowds like this.  There is no reason in heck that Hip Hop and Rock can't coexist, ya hear!

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