Mad props to local musicians who make MTV-ready videos (yeah, yeah, MTV doesn’t show videos anymore but you know what I’m talking about). Colin Gawel was (is?) in Watershed who had a brief dance with the majors back in the mid-90s (1995’s Twister was put out by Epic Records AND was the first major label album to have my name in the “Thank You” credits!). In the last 12 months or so, Gawel has taken to releasing solo EPs and has just put out his second one, Superior. You can download it on eMusic, iTunes, etc., etc., just check out Colin’s site for all the details.
I’m suffering from both a Kissaway Trail hangover and withdrawal after seeing the Danish band perform as the opening act for The Temper Trap this past Friday night in Columbus, Ohio. The five-piece (six if you count the bearded and dancing tambourine player) blew me away with a sound that was equal parts Arcade Fire, Mew, Snow Patrol, Sigur Ros, Long-view, Modest Mouse and Polyphonic Spree. Everything built up into huge anthemic crescendos that rained on the close-to-sold-out audience and kept me (and hundreds others) in a 45-minute state of bliss. After their set was done, I went backstage and threw a few questions at Rune Pedersen (bass), Hasse Mydtskov (drums), and Daniel Skjoldmose (guitars, keyboards). Apologies for the background noise (ie – Temper Trap performing), the dressing room walls were pretty thin.
Rune told me that after this run of dates with The Temper Trap, The Kissaway Trail is heading overseas but will be back in the States this summer/fall and will be performing at some festivals (hmm … maybe Lollapalooza?). You can pick up the band’s U.S. debut release, Sleep Mountain (Bella Union / Yep Roc), on April 20.
Boston band Static of the Gods is making their new CD, Knowledge Machine, available as a free download but just for this week only. You’ll have to wait to read my full review in the spring issue of The Big Takeover but I will say that of the 18 reviews I did, this was one of my 3 favorite CDs. In short, think “Gwen Stefani fronting Arcade Fire”.
Bang Tango’s been touring off and on since 1987, the only mainstay in the band being singer Joe LeSte. I’m not sure the last time they played Columbus although I do remember the last time I saw them – 1996 at the Alrosa Villa with Warrant and L.A. Guns.
So – if for no other reason than to hear “Heart of Stone” and “Someone Like You” – there was no way I was going to miss Bang Tango’s show at Slapsy Maxie’s even though reviews from the band’s recent tour have been mixed at best (supposedly one night the set was mostly covers with just one or two originals; there have also been reports of sloppy and drunken performances).
Slapsy Maxie’s has only recently started booking national touring acts (Dirty Penny has played there twice; Tesla’s guitarist Dave Rude has an upcoming show) and it’s a bit hidden in a strip mall off the beaten path, but it’s an ideal venue for bands like Bang Tango that don’t have the draw they may have once had. And for those like myself who live for nostalgic moments, Slapsy Maxie’s delivered last night, not only with the selection of bands performing but also with the conversations I overheard (people were talking about the Bulletboys and Great White) and the music being played on the jukebox (Jackyl, Zeppelin, etc.).
Bang Tango hit the stage close to midnight with a lineup that include Alex Grossi (ex-Quiet Riot) on guitar, Lance Eric on bass, and Trent Anderson (ex-Muchacha, Rockit Girl) on drums (damn, I wish I had known about Anderson’s Chicago rock background before going to the show!).
LeSte traveled through Bang Tango’s back catalog playing a set of mostly familiar songs. I’m partial to the band’s first album, Psycho Cafe, and was happy to hear tracks like “Attack of Life”, “Don’t Stop Now”, and the previously mentioned “Heart of Stone” and “Someone Like You”.
Bang Tango did play a new song (“Suck it Up” from an album that has been in the works for a few years and still isn’t done) and tossed in a couple of standard covers (T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”) for an efficient 13-song set.
Overall, totally worth the $6 cover charge. There are a lot of rock clubs out there like Slapsy Maxie’s that book bands like Bang Tango, The Bulletboys, Enuff Z’Nuff, D’Molls, Rhino Bucket, Broken Teeth, etc. Please make sure that if you dig these types of band, you go out and check ’em out so that these clubs continue to bring these bands around.