Tuesday, May 20, 2008
She Wants Revenge at the House of Blues San Diego
The Nylon Magazine tour kicked off in San Diego with a quadruple line up of The Switches, The Virgins, Be Your Own Pet and She Wants Revenge.
I seem to keep missing The Switches when they come through town and was determined to catch one of their shows. The Switches play a brand of tightly wound electro pop rock songs that employ equal parts of rambling guitars, slinky synthesizers and topped with a helping of vocal harmonies. "Message From Yuz" got the crowd moving early with razor sharp guitars from Matt Bishop (Vocals/Guitars) and Ollie Thomas (Guitars) who were armed with their Fender guitars. The microKorg keyboard screamed as the band worked through "Snakes & Ladders" before breaking down into a very Queen like bridge. They quickly lived up to my expectations and I had only heard two songs from their set. The crowd started to clap along in time to the wiry guitars of "No Hero" as Matt showed off his impressive falsetto. I detected some Weezer influence as they played a new song entitled "Lady" which could have easily been a track from the Weezer album Pinkerton. Matt provided some humor during the set when he explained that they were the only band from England on the tour and did an impromptu version of "So Lonely" by the Police. "Lay Down The Law" and "Drama Queen" punctuated their thirty minute set and I went to the merch booth to pick up their album Lay Down The Law.
I honestly didn't know what to think about The Virgins at first. "Private Affair" opened their set with its propulsive bass as their New York sound was extremely evident after a few singing notes from Donald Cumming (Vocals/Guitars). It would be easy to lump them in the category of the Strokes but as their set progressed, other bands like the Cars and Buddy Holly started to ruminate as reference points. Wade Oates (Guitars) looked like a character from "Happy Days" until I saw his retro Air Jordan III sneakers. Wade had the flashy guitar chops to prove he had substance to match his style as his fingers danced over the neck of his Fender Stratocaster. Erik Ratensperger (Drums) did an excellent job propelling their songs as he frequently smashed his cymbals and kept a steady backbeat. Wade also won points in the guitar department for working in his Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man pedal with Hazarai to the intro of the dance rock song "Rich Girls". Their debut self-titled album hits the streets on June 3rd.
Be Your Own Pet
Be Your Own Pet was also another band that I seem to always miss when they come through town. I was especially sad to miss their recent tour with the Raveonettes as I had a concert conflict on that particular night. If you could harness the energy that Be Your Own Pet puts out on stage during their show, I think you would solve the energy crisis. Jemina Pearl (Vocals) was all over the stage running into band members and crashing into microphone stands as they ripped through more then fifteen songs as most numbers border on the two minute mark. John Eatherly (Drums) earns his paycheck every night as he was drenched in sweat after a few songs. Jonas Stein's (Guitars) hands were a constant blur all night as he rapidly downstroked power chords like he was in the Ramones. "Heart Throb" from their new album Get Awkard would be the perfect song for the gym if you were trying to run a mile in two minutes. "The Kelley Affair" was fast and furious as I barely could keep up with the lyrics as Jemina raced through the song. Be Your Own Pet finished up their set in a flash as Jemina was writhing on the stage floor possibly for effect or due to exhaustion. I was sold either way.
She Wants Revenge
I remember seeing She Wants Revenge at the Troubadour back in 2005 and thinking that the band would ascend the ranks propelled by the catchy synthesizer programming and dark vocals of Justin Warfield (Vocals/Guitars). Once "Tear You Apart" garnered major airplay on KROQ and Indie 103.1, She Wants Revenge would later find themselves playing Coachella and opening for Depeche Mode. She Wants Revenge released their second album This is Forever that didn't seem to be too heavily promoted as some of my friends didn't even know the album was released.
She Wants Revenge recently released a new EP Save Your Soul that the band previewed during the show. The icy guitar lines of "Sister" gave way to the driving bass line as Justin swayed in front of his microphone to the delight of the screaming girls in the front row. Adam 12 (Bass/Synthesizers) was decked out in black with his hat shielding his eyes as he played his Fender Bass. The sexually charged "These Things" really had the crowd dancing as I enjoyed the lonesome hollow sounding guitar riff. "Sleep" from their new EP had a biting bass line as Thomas Froggatt added various sound textures on his Gibson hollowbody guitar. "Save Your Soul" matched "Sleep" in energy and sharpness as the new songs were very catchy. It had been awhile since I had seen She Wants Revenge and I can attest that they have sharply honed their live sound. "Written In Blood" absolutely rocked as Scott Ellis (Drums) worked the cowbell as Justin continued to dance across the stage. Adam also seems to have traded his Moog Little Phatty keyboard in for a Korg MS2000 but still frequently used the Roland Phantom X8. The band received a huge ovation from the San Diego crowd prior to closing out their set with a blistering version of "Tear You Apart". She Wants Revenge finish up their tour with a date at the Wiltern on June 21st. I will try and add the show to my upcoming show list as I don't think I have reviewed an opening and closing show of a tour.