On September 12th, one of the first days of fall this year, three bands united in support of the ALS Foundation with a concert at Coop Katacombes. The venure was impressive. Very few people had arrived at first, but the atmosphere was cozy and inviting with a punky edge. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the circular floor plan of the room made for ample sound quality, and it was very easy to see the bands.
The night started off slow, starting around 9:45 with The Rumps. They were having technical difficulties, and while they attempted to seem nonchalant about it and perform while the issues were being fixed, they wound up looking as though they were just rehearsing, and having a bad rehearsal at that. When they first got up there, the crowd was completely unreponsive to anything they were saying. The lead singer of the band, Eddie Lamhaf, seemed to have issues speaking to and engaging the crowd, appearing slightly awkward. The way in which he walked around the stage was actually almost painful to watch. During the first full song they played, Lamhaf’s strong vocals were enjoyable. They distracted from the lack of lyrics, as the vocals consisted of a lot of ohs and ahs. The drum beat was steady and well-executed, and the guitar riffs were just complicated enough.
As their set went on, their songs became very repetitive and began resembling each other. The song “Green Man” was so monotonous it was frustrating. It is a new song, as the singer pointed out, “That was a new one. And it was called “Green Man”. And, it’s about marijuana. Yeah.”
The next song was the best in the set, employing a sexy guitar riff, expert use of a synthesizer, decent vocal range, and even a nice mic spin. Unfortunately, the last few songs went back to pointless screaming and a lot of whining.
The next band to take the stage was The Grove. They started things off with an entertaining sound check. First, the guitarist and drummer teased us with a little bit of Zeppelin. Then, they launched into the opening chords of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, to which the audience chimed in.
Just like the previous band, they experienced technical issues beyond their control which began as soon as they took the stage. That being said, they handled it very well; they cracked a few jokes to make the audience laugh, and sounded amazing despite the issues. The second they started playing their first song, “Chosen Son”, everyone watching began dancing and banging their heads in unison. The entire band played their instruments flawlessly. The songwriting and unique riffs were nostalgic of the greatest classic rock bands, but with an added jazz and blues twist. Singer Lawrence Di Iorio has a powerful voice, one that belongs right alongside the pioneers of rock. He sounds like no other, and has incredible stage presence.
They were especially great when they did an amazing cover of The Beatles hit “Oh Darling”, engaging the audience members by encouraging them to sing along. After they played “Devil’s Lingerie”, front man Di Iorio said, “Just two more songs and we’ll be out of your hair”, a statement that was followed by a lot of protesting from their fans.
When they finished their set, they were asked for an encore. They decided to perform “We’re Gonna Groove” by Led Zeppelin. Though, of course, this was a very daring decision, it was one that really paid off. If you ever get the oppurtunity to see them in concert, take it.
Closing off the night was another great band, Alley-Cat Traffic. They set up more quickly than the other bands, and their appearance alone was one to be remembered. They looked as though they stepped out of a 1970s magazine spread. This look somehow suited them very well, though.
Their sound matched their appearance, in that they were reminiscient of The Guess Who. You may have heard Alley-Cat Traffic on the radio in fact, though they were not known by the same name back then. In 2008, they released their first EP, The Art of Marvelous, under the band name of Monroe.
The drumming was steady yet skilled, and both the guitar and bass were fittingly loud. The vocals, from Alex Fominsky, were smooth and relaxing, nearly giving me goosebumps. By this time, despite how wondefully they were playing, the room had emptied dramatically due to the late hour (nearly midnight). The band seemed to take advanatge of this though, dimming the lights and making for a much more intimate setting. As they played the song, “Love’s a Ferris Wheel”, sounds from both the grunge and punk movements presented themselves. They proved to be a very versatile band, one that is most definitely worth listening to and seeing in concert. They are currently in the process of finishing their first full length LP. The exact date of the release has yet to be announced, but is something we should all look forward to.