Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lillian Axe/ Streetlight Circus/ Wrecking Crew @ Empire 6/28/2013

I went to see Lillian Axe at Empire last night. I only was familiar with a couple songs, but it was mostly a 'blind' show for me. It was a long week at work and about a week since my last show (longer if you only include heavy shows), so I figured for $15, they'd probably be alright. I saw Neil and Michelle there... and met a few people as well~

I got there around 8:45 or so, and saw some people milling about outside. I stepped in and heard... no bands playing. I know the doors were pushed back to 8, so I figured the openers would start around 8:30.  There were more people there than I thought would be there- about 40-50 at the high point. Around "Crucified" I noticed that some people started going home and there were about 20 people left at that point. Not great, but they are playing in MD the next day ( On 6/29 they played Nabb's Creek to what looked like a much fuller venue. Good for them! Same setlist, it looked like as well.).

 Lillian Axe had a pretty well stocked merch table with shirts, about 4 or 5 different CDs ($15 each), and a DVD I think. Perhaps I should have gone back for one? Streetlight Circus set up their merch table after the fact, and I def noticed some Shirts, but I did not investigate.

Well, a little bit after 9, some guys took the stage and the Wrecking Crew came on to a very odd choice of 'Spider in My Mouth' by Fozzy. I don't know if anyone else there knew it, but I recognized it. They sounded OK, not bad, but not great. They had a hard rock/hair band style, with perhaps a bit of a harder edge. I think they must have been some guys just enjoying jamming after their day jobs- if so they didn't sound bad at all. The guitarist's solos were definitely the highlight- rather skillful. It seemed like they played a lot of songs, but they must have been really short, because they had a 35 minute set. They ended their set with a cover of Drowning Pool's 'Bodies,' with a 'guest' vocalist who was sitting next to me at the bar. His vocals were harsh, grindcore-esque- and were pretty entertaining- but still there was ...maybe 1 person on the floor (Perhaps the obvious cover would be the Overkill song of the same name).

Streetlight Circus were on next- I think they mentioned that they had gotten there late after X amount of traffic and whatever. They played a scant 26 minute set that was also highlighted by a cover ("Do You Love Me?"). I had overheard a couple songs while we were...preparing...for M3 in the mall parking lot, but it was nothing memorable. It was nothing horrible either, but not great. They were certainly a lot tighter and more professional sounding that the Wrecking Crew. I was not feelin' them, tho. Neil and Michelle rolled in around that time, and I kind of lost attention during the middle of their set. Eventually they got to the end and played a KISS cover (we shouted/demanded 'Creatures of the Night') and some last original. I didn't hate them, but didn't think they were memorable. They were, however, decidedly more hair bandy sounding than the Wrecking Crew.

After they cleared away the opener's gear I immediately noticed that Lillian Axe's stage setup was rather elaborate- a big drum kit, amps neatly stacked, with 3 TV screens easily viewable on top of them, and some sort of metal stacks between them. It looked a lot more impressive than the usual bare bones hair band set up. The lights went down around 11 and we heard some intro tape while the screens were lit up with some video. The crowd was continually thinning, and the eventually whittled down to about 20 souls. So a pretty thin crowd, but it was getting late.

The first few songs sounded really good, the guitars in particular. When guitarist/probably the only original member/songwriter Steve Blaze took a lead break, the crowd leaned in and peered at his playing. However, after this is where some problems occurred. The vocalist adjusted something in his mix, and added about 300% echo, rending his previously acceptable vocals into almost a mess. What was somewhat clear was suddenly muffled/distorted. This rather hindered my enjoyment of what was a previously acceptable mix! And it was just the vocalist- the rest of the band sounded perfectly fine when he left the stage for a break. I don't understand why he felt the need to add more effects where there was 0 need for it.

Apart from my issue with the vocals, the songs were a bit better than expected. Their newer songs (ex: "Babylon") were rather heavier and definitely evoked a headbanging response from me.  The show aspect was also pretty cool, because mainly for hair bands (Def Leppard was a bit more elaborate tho) we get... the band and just rockin.'  The show mainly consisted of the monitors being used to play video clips- either from a couple of the band's old videos, or some related to the song videos (ex: polar bears for Antarctica , vampires from a movie for Nocturnal, some busty pornstar for '..On Top', and the random Lord of the Rings/ 300 clips for "Death Comes..." ). This enhanced the show (similar to Lamb of God and Arch Enemy (among others) usage of the monitors/screens- not necessary, but appreciated.  Interesting tidbit- Steve Blaze had a Captain America shield tattoo on one arm and a guitar strap with Steve Rogers himself on it.

Overall, it was a decent show, pretty enjoyable. It wasn't great, but it was worth my time (tho I think I could have waited a bit more to arrive).  You could see that they have 'progressed' from a hair band to something a bit heavier (more mature?), but you got a taste from both eras :3

Next show: Holy Grail \m/ !!!

Wrecking Crew
Streetlight Circus
Lillian Axe rocking out to about 40 or so peeps
Lillian Axe- closeups
Lillian Axe's Steve Blaze and Captain America love
Lillian Axe Rockin'
Lillian Axe's screens
Lillian Axe finishing up for about 20 people
 setlist from the next night's show (same as the one Neil and Michelle got)- Photo by Twisted Nail Productions

Wrecking Crew (9:04-9:39)
  • Fozzy spider intro
  • ? (fuck about you ?)
  • ? (how does it feel to be lonely)
  • Point your Finger
  • ? (red something)
  • Over again
  • Get the devil outta me
  • Right where you want me
  • Blame it on the gun
  • Sucker punch
  • Bodies (Drowning Pool cover w/ guest dying fetus vox)

Streetlight Circus (10:04-10:30)
  • ?(living on a campfire)
  • ?(all my money)
  • ?
  • Do you Live me (Kiss cover)
  • ?

Lillian Axe ( 11:03- 12:34)
  • Deepfreeze
  • Death Comes Tomorrow
  • All's Fair in Love and War
  • Nocturnal
  • Babylon
  • Antarctica
  • She Likes It on Top
  • Ghost Winter
  • Crucified
  • Show a Little Love
  • Jesus Wept
  • Sad Day on Planet Earth
  • The Great Divide
  • Waters Rising
  • Moonlight in Your Blood
  • Take the Bullet
  • True Believer
  • Misery Loves Company