Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cassandra Syndrome / Iris Divine/ Dogs and Day Drinkers/ Fair Skies @ Sidebar 2/28/2014

Went to Sidebar to see local band showcase Face Melting Friday ($8) featuring the Cassandra Syndrome and more! Saw Milla, Bobbie, Sarah, Dan B, Eric F, Robin, Erich, and maybe someone else. There were 3 bands I had not seen before on this bill, so I was pretty excited to see them all.

Getting to and parking at the Sidebar was actually surprisingly easy, and the ambiance of it was pretty comfortable and cozy. This was odd cause it seemed really worn and maybe a little messy, with stickers everywhere. But it seemed more well loved instead of dirty.  The bartender was good, nothing to complain about the staff either.  The bouncer/ticket person at the door had a sheet with each band listed and tick marks to count the response to their question of "Who did you come here to see?"  Dogs and Day Drinkers was the leader by far with at least 10+ tick marks, and no one else had any. I said Iris Divine cause they were on the bill first (D&DD were added later) to give them 1. There were about 50 people there at the high point- but I think almost 20 of them were band members- not a great showing for these fun bands, unfortunately. I think there was some problems promoting and some bands dropped off (for whatever reason).

The sound system, however, was a bit spotty. I am not exactly sure what the deal with it was, because half the bands sounded great, and the other half had sound problems.  I stood mostly in the front, but I watched Cassandra Syndrome from a bit further back.  I'd need to see another show or 2 here to get a better feel for how the sound handling is over all.

First up was the Frederick based  Fair Skies, I had not heard of them until recently, but they apparently have been around since 2008.  Their style is some sort of progressive true metal, not unlike Cellador or Burning Shadows. I had heard one song online and it was alright, a bit lacking. But live, they sounded 100 times better- the soaring vocals and guitar tone was very true metal- one of my favoruite styles.  They had a pretty solid set, and everything sounded pretty damn gdreat (see above sound comments). I think they could have had a fuller sound with an additional guitar player. During "More than a Memory" there was a Other than that, they started off the night right! They had a pretty nice crowd reaction- I def was impressed with their set and am looking forward to whatever their next show is.

Next, the band apparently a lot of people came to see was on next- Dogs and Day Drinkers (D&DD)- and you could tell it with the enthusiastic cries of "Day DrinkAAAHHHHHHHS" punctuating the set up. I was excited to hear them after hearing their "Preserved in Whiskey" song not too long ago. They did NOT have any orchestral/keys/whatever, so that was a bit disappointing. That lack, however, did not affect the energy or detract from the performance.  Besides, with the tiny stage at the Sidebar it would probably have been insane to fit one MORE instrument (and person) on it.  But enough of that- The D&DD have 2 guitarists, a bassist, an old  drummer who must have been someone's amazingly metal dad, and a vocalist- it was pretty crammed on stage. Their sound is some blend of folk metal, classic, and maybe a little punk. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, other than bursting with energy. Now back to the sound issues (see above)- on a couple songs there were mic problems and it was extremely hard to hear the vocalist. She was trying her hardest, but the sound system was fighting against her and either her vocals were mixed too low or the guitars were too high. I think things sounded fine except for that complaint or 2 about the sound difficulty.  

Regardless, D&DD's set whizzed by and was over too soon. They I think had the biggest reaction from the crowd applause wise. There were a few mini pits at various points as well at the front.  They ended their set with a classic Priest song, to which the majority of the crowd sounded like they were singing/shouting along \m/  A really fun set, and I hope they make it up here again!   

Three piece progressive metal band Iris Divine was up next- the band I was most excited about, based on the other times that I've seen them). They did not disappoint at all, but they certainly brought a different type of energy (the more relaxed, proggy kind), and the crowd was a little more subdued for them. Compared to D&DD, the crowd was appreciative, but a little dead. I really enjoyed their set- they sounded pretty good, but not as good as at Tally Ho. I think the vocals were a little buried during their set, too.  Their setlist was similar to the past couple times, but that was fine- their more complex songs seem to have more facets to appreciate with additional listening (like many prog songs).  

I finally got to see the female fronted gothic metal ish Cassandra Syndrome headline this show. I had missed them a couple times, one being opening for Kamelot. I was interested in seeing how they sounded live, especially with this sound system. It was getting pretty late (but I didn't notice how late until looking at notes just now), and a little before midnight the pink haired Irene Jericho and the Cassandra Syndrome came on. I thought that her voice was pretty great- very Epica/ Nightwishesque. Very powerful, but it seemed that the microphone couldn't really contain it.

Setlist wise, I was not familiar with any of the songs,  but 4 songs are of an upcoming album (this summer I think), 2 were new, and the rest already released (according to the band). I think that it would have been cool to hear new material from a band- but in this case all of it is new to me!  I think combined with the tiredness/lateness, the unfamiliarity of the songs, some drama, (the rum), and maybe issues with the sound made it difficult for me to distinguish the songs from each other :/

Overall it was a fun show, I got to see some new bands/ band I hadn't seen before, for a low price, and with some good people.  I somehow enjoyed the Sidebar a lot, it just felt really comfortable there.  Let's hope there is continued interest in these showcases- we've got a lot of good local bands here that are continually getting better!

Next Show: Genitortures or Carnifex


Fair Skies
Dogs and Daydrinkers
Iris Divine
back of the bar
Cassandra Syndrome


Fair Skies (8:40- 9:12)
  • Beginning of the End
  • Taken for Granted
  • Never before, Never Again
  • The Trooper (Iron Maiden cover)
  • More than a Memory
  • Just You and me

Dogs and Day Drinkers (9:44 -10:09)
  • Preserved in Whiskey
  • Battle Hymn
  • Nightrider
  • Hand of Doom
  • Breaking the Law (Judas Priest cover)

Iris Divine (10:32-11:22)
  • In Spirals
  • Fire of the Unknown
  • A Suicide Aware
  • Prisms
  • In the wake of martyrs
  • Everlasting Sea

Cassandra Syndrome (11:50- 12:43)
  • Carnival
  • Poison in the Well
  • The Magus
  •  Bon Fire (new)
  • Tempest
  • Monster (new)
  • Iron Cross
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Red
  • Blood gold