Yesterday was all over the place for me but in the best way possible. It started off with an amazing block party where my favorite kid’s band, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, performed and had my friends and I sloshing out drinks around while we attempted to do the dance moves along with the band (my friend’s daughter was not amused by our dancing). Honestly my day could have ended after the block party and I would have been more than content with how my Saturday had gone but if you know me, you know that’s not where my day stopped and instead of going home, I conned a friend to come with me to a local metal show happening at The 7th Street Entry.
Our timing was perfect and after grabbing a quick bite to eat we claimed our spots against the back wall in the intimate venue just in time to catch By The Thousands take the stage. I’ve watched these boys grow throughout the past couple of years and although they have gone through their share of trials and tribulations, they have yet to let me down when it comes to their shows. Last night was no exception. I don’t think I realized how long it had been since I was able to catch them perform but as soon as they blasted into their set I was left in a state of shock. They’ve always been a solid band but something about their show last night was truly impressive.
Heavy and brutal was the name of the game. The relenting guitar sweeps combined with the intense drum hits and vocalist Hondo Torres-Pena’s jaw dropping vocals left my ears ringing and a giant smile on my face. Some songs were familiar from back in the day when they played more frequently and I was able to catch them more and some songs were completely new to me. Regardless of what song they played, there was something to distinctively By The Thousands about the song. In such an over saturated scene both locally and nationally, it’s truly a treat to have a band like By The Thousands where, although they fit in the scene perfect, they bring their own style and sound to said scene.
The entire show could have just been By The Thousands and I don’t think you would have heard a single complaint from the audience. The chatter was running rampant after they wrapped up their forty minute set. I heard everything from “Holy fuck, what was that?” to “Jesus, that was heavy!” I didn’t hear a single bad word said after their set which says a lot about their performance. This metal scene is the first to judge (maybe that’s why I fit in so well?) so to have a local band put on a performance and not hear any judgement or complaints after their set just goes to prove what I’ve been saying since the first time I saw this band is correct. These boys are making waves and they are definitely making our local metal scene proud.
The set changeover between By The Thousands and headliners Blue Felix was long- super long. My friend and I were fading fast. The combination of too much to drink and being out in the sun all day– we were struggling to stay optimistic as the change-over reached over a half an hour but that wait definitely paid off as Blue Felix erupted onto the stage and kicked into their set.
I reviewed a Blue Felix show back in January of 2016 and got some flack for what I had said. I knew that Blue Felix was a force to be reckoned with but I don’t think I understood the fiery passion that some of their fans would have if a blogger compared them to Limp Bizkit. A bit turned off by the reaction I got, I kind of took a back seat when it came to covering their shows but after a little bit of soul searching, I decided to give it another go. Although their music may not have been for me that last show, their live show definitely was.
As soon as the band took the stage I was reminded of just why I fell so in love with this band’s live show. Within the first song the nearly sold out audience was given everything from heavy beats to sparks flying from vocalist Jake ”Toxsick” Crooks (I couldn’t see what exactly what causing the sparks from where I was standing). The sense of energy was sky high in the intimate venue and although a rowdy crowd, there was this undeniable sense of community. Everyone was so kind as they mouthed “Excuse me” to my friend and I as they made their way down to the push pit that formed near the stage. With lights whirling around every which way, the random sparks flying from the stage– it wasn’t just the music that created the intense live show- it was also the visuals.
Okay, yes, I called them a Limp Bizkit cover band last time I saw them but that was purely because of their rap-rock style that pops in and out throughout their music. Something has changed though. They seem to be honing in on their musical style and it’s far from that rap-rock vibe that I got last time. More complicated and heavy, it’s obvious that this band has more influences than I could even attempt to list which creates a very unique sound. Everything about their set felt flawless. Every note had a place and every drum hit had a beat but there was still this sense of chaos throughout every song. If you like heavy and chaotic yet somehow with a sense of perfection and cleanliness- Blue Felix is seriously the band for you.
There’s some big drama plaguing the local metal scene right now and it has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths including my own but it was so nice to see that, even with all the drama, the scene can still come together for a killer show and leave all the drama at the door.