Dominican held its second annual Rock Fest featuring Tonight the Prom, Fotosputnik, Bright Light Brigade, Anemic Annie, Averno, and The State Affair this past Saturday, Nov. 8 from 6-11 p.m. Free pizza and drinks were definitely consumed.
I saw (as much as I could take of) each band's set, and the following is my opinion on the performances of the night.
Tonight the Prom is good...if you like pop punk emo powerpop music that sounds like a mix of early Fall Out Boy and Hawthorne Heights. I'm sorry, I don't listen to much of that genre anymore, so I can't give you other examples. But they were energetic and had the crowd going wild, as far as stage presence goes, and they were cute and seemed like friendly kids. But really, I would have liked that band if I found them back when I was 17 maybe, so that explains their masses of young fans who couldn't possibly have been college students. Which rocks for them, hitting the target market.
I thought the glossy black and white photos they were selling and autographing crossed the pretentious line, though.
Fotosputnik impressed me, and I'm not just saying that because drummer Tom Blackwell is my editor. I had seem them play once before in September downtown at Cal's Liquors, and the sound is never good in a cramped corner of a dive bar off Congress Parkway, so that didn't help much.
But last Saturday, the band was in their element, playing on a large stage in front of a projector screen with colorful, trippy visuals. Their abstract style of music, which was random but controlled, was truly enjoyable, despite their lack of a singer (which many people think detracts from musical quality). I had deja vu feelings of Radiohead and Ratatat, for reasons other than the sound of the music. It had more to do with the "feel" of it; the ambience of the room while they played.
Unfortunately the dark did not make for great photos on my camera without washing everything out.
The singer of Bright Light Brigade made me want to say "snoochie boochies" and "noich noich noich" every time he walked by. And I did, in my head. But seriously, he had a great voice. Again, their music was upbeat pop punk, but it was well-performed, tight, and energetic. I wish they woulda covered "Jungle Love," though.
Oh, Anemic Annie! My, was I captivated. The duo played originals, covered the Smashing Pumpkins and Ludo, and moved the house. The acoustic guitar coupled with beautiful harmonizing voices and gorgeous string accompaniments was fantastic. I was, especially at this moment, glad that the Sounds Society chose a variety of artists rather than all the second comings of New Found Glory. Kudos to Anemic Annie.
Then there's my Shane, who goes by the name Averno when performing. I'm biased, naturally, but I loved his performance the best. With strong, beautiful, hauntingly soul-wrenching vocals over electric guitar, keyboard and hand-crafted electronic compositions, Averno's fresh, different style made the crowd stop and listen. And dance.
I'm gonna go ahead and do another shameless myspace plug right about now.
Shane closed with my favorite, "Laced Blinds."
I think people truly appreciated his unique style, and a number of girls approached afterward to say how beautiful of a voice he has. Swoon.
The State Affair got a great crowd surge to close out the concert. Again with the energetic pop punk genre, the crowd was really into it, singing along and fist-pumping. They were talented, but I couldn't handle the gimmicky vest get-up. You can wear costumes on the weekend before Halloween, the week of Halloween, Halloween itself, and the rest of the weekend, but beyond a week after is just too much. I didn't dare ask if it was his normal stage getup. Other than that, though, they were catering to their crowd and people were enjoying.
Overall, the Fall Rock Fest 2008 was a huge success. Everything ran smoothly from load-in time to showtime, and Shahzeb, Maryann, and Nick did a fantastic job coordinating the event. Kudos to them as well, and I'm excited for the bash in the Spring!
Additional videos from more artists coming soon.