Originally Posted by ShatteredFlame
...waiting for rest of review
Wait no longer, my friend.
So here's how it all went down...
The show was a cluster-fuck from the get-go, due to several gaffs by the folks at the 31st Street Pub. (Thanks a lot, fuckers.)
Case in point: My friend and I called the venue at around 6:00 PM the day of the show (while we were making the 2 1/2-hour drive to Pittsburgh) to ask them to confirm that the venue's web site was correct in that weekday shows (Mon-Thu) started at 10:00 PM and weekend shows (Fri-Sat) started at 10:30 SHARP (to quote the site). They told us the show started at 10:30. We asked for clarification whether this was the headliner or the first band, and they confirmed it was the latter.
So we arrived in the Burgh in time to put in a few hours at the poker tables, and then went to the venue at about 9:30 to get the lay of the land. It was a typical little metal dump, and we thought we were in for one hell of an intimate little show. Kickass, we thought. Figuring we had about forty-five minutes until Fight Amp played (presumably followed by Rosetta and then Kylesa), we asked the door guy about where was a good place to go eat. He suggested a nearby Primanti Brothers. We were stoked. Primanti's is the best thing Cleveland ever stole from Pittsburgh (they call it Panini's here
). The original joint has been featured on one or more of those "best sandwiches in the fucking free world" shows on Food Network.
Anyway, we got back from stuffing our faces at around 10:25. Perfect. It looked like we wouldn't have to miss Fight Amp after all (even though we had decided that if we did it was no big deal).
Fight Amp took the stage at around 10:45, and my buddy and I joked to each other "what happened to 'all weekend shows start at 10:30 SHARP?'" If you haven't heard Fight Amp (which I hadn't until this show), they are a trio from New Jersey with a thick, sludgy bottom end and a penchant for odd time signatures. In other words, they are a three-man version of Keelhaul, which means they are heavy as fuck and fairly entertaining. They played one song from their new album - which they announced, but I didn't catch the title - and a few others that were pretty good as well. Then they gave a shout to Rosetta, who was playing their first show on this tour, and then thanked Kylesa for bringing them along. Typical stuff. Then they announced their last song and said Kylesa would be up next.
WHAT THE FUCK?!?
Turns out that Rosetta had played a short twenty-something minute set while we were gone, which had started about five or ten minutes after we had left. So, the rocket scientists at 31st Street Pub had changed the running order and
started the show early, and as a result, we had missed Rosetta, which was one of my biggest reasons for spending sixty bucks or so on gas and tolls to come to this fucking place. Needless to say, I was pissed.
At any rate, my next move was back to the merch table to pick up some gear. When I got there, Laura was there and I introduced myself and talked to her for about five minutes. She seemed pretty cool, although not really that chatty (that's my job anyway
). I did ask her if it was OK to record the show on video, and although she seemed a little iffy about it at first, when I told her that I generally don't post videos on YouTube (especially if I'm a fan of the band and they have an off night or something), she seemed reassured and said it would be cool. SWEET!
So I thanked her for taking time to talk to me and told her to kill it. She said "fuck yeah" and smiled (fun fact: Laura is a bit of a potty mouth
). I went and staked out a spot on top of a counter or riser or something where I could get a good shot of the stage, and settled in. Kylesa took a while to get their gear into place, as the stage was small as fuck and they barely fit on it, what with two drum kits, some extra floor toms (more on that later), a keyboard (which their bass player now plays to add extra "body" to some of their new songs), and space for Laura and Phil to rock out. They didn't sound check much, though - presumably because that had been done earlier? Turns out, that was a big mistake, but I think they were feeling rushed because it was already around 11:30 or midnight, so they just got started once their gear was in place.
Anyway, from the first couple of notes, I could tell something was wrong. After playing an extended intro to "Hollow Severer", Laura spoke into the mic and told the sound guy to turn down the keyboards in the monitors, or turn the guitars up or something, because she couldn't hear. It fucked up the intro into the song, but I figured if it was necessary, so be it. They played the song, and although it was cool for what it was, I could tell that shit was still fucked up. When the song finished, Laura spoke again into the mic and told the guy that everything was a clusterfuck up there (her words), and suggested some more changes - this time a little more heatedly (and understandably so).
To make a long story short, they played the rest of the set I posted on the first page. By the time they got to "Crowded Road", they semed to be settled in and firing on all eight cylinders, and the crowd had gotten into the groove as well. The next few numbers kicked ass. They ran "Tired Climb" right into "Forsaken", and the crowd went nuts. Then they played a creepy version of "Distance Closing In" which sent chills up my spine, followed by a head-long launch into an old-school mash-up of "Bottom Line" and "Descend Within", which they blended seamlessly into their new punk number "Don't Look Back" (which rocks - especially live - fuck the haters). The crowd really responded to that whole mess bigtime.
The next song was the high point of the night. They started in with a massive drum cadence, which I started to recognize as the intro to "Only One" (my favorite song of theirs), and then added some guitar noodling courtesy of Laura, followed by some more solo drum work - although to call it soloing would be a little inaccurate because both drummers were were joined by Phil on the floor tom...just in case anybody in the joint still had their eardrums fully attached.
When Laura finally started hammering on those strings, the place erupted and a mini-mosh pit broke out. It was fucking sweet. You don't see mosh pits at Kylesa shows, generally.
Next up was "Said and Done", which never sounded so heavy, and a version of "Scapegoat" that should have been renamed "Scapegoat on Crack and Roids".
By the time they finished this, the crowd was ecstatic. During this whole mayhem, Phil had revisited the floor toms on several occasions, and even though it seemed as if the technical problems kept revisiting the band from time to time, the crowd still semed very into the show...it was primarily the band that seemed frustrated. After "Scapegoat on Crack and Roids", Phil thanked the crowd and said that it was getting late (it was around 1:00 in the morning), but if we would like, they could play a couple more songs. The crowd went nuts. However, Laura made a slashing motion across her throat with her hand and explained something to Phil that most of us couldn't hear. Then Phil said, "sorry, it seems as if we've got technical difficulties beyond repair here. We're really sorry about that." Somebody yelled out "drum solo!", and Phil said, "tell you what - we'll do a drum solo - how about that?" The crowd roaringly approved. So Phil picked up some sticks as well as Corey their bass player, and the four of them proceeded to whale out a sick fucking solo that lasted about three or four minutes. It was fucking sweet.
So all in all, it was a totally killer show that should have been a whole lot better. Had the venue not done the stupid shit that they did, and had my buddy and I heard Rosetta as well as a properly-executed set from Kylesa without gear and venue problems, this might well have been the show to beat for Best of 2011 - and it was only January 21.
The bottom line is, you need to get your ass out there and see this tour. I have full confidence that Kylesa will sort out their issues post-haste, because the other two times I have seem them, they have completely knocked my fucking socks off (and this time wasn't too shabby, either). With a setlist like this - which clocks in at just over an hour, by the way - there's no way they aren't going to take every last venue by storm as they cruise through your miserable little fucking city.