I'm always listening to a huge variety of music, but before Saturday night, I had to really think back to remember the last time I saw just straight up rock 'n' roll. I've seen many variations and offshoots of the classic, original rock sound, but, in the words of Led Zeppelin, it's been a long time since I've rock 'n' rolled. I made my way to the Hi-Dive Saturday night to check out a few more variations of rock and one band in particular that still has that original authentic spirit of straight up classic rock 'n' roll.
|Mhyk Monroe and Michael Salazar of Cult of the Lost Cause|
The night began with local progressive rock trio Cult of the Lost Cause. This three piece band consists of Mhyk Monroe on guitar, Thom Mc on bass, and Michael Salazar on drums. The band uses these three simple ingredients to create a hard-hitting, progressive sound that seems to have a heavy sludge metal influence. Most of their songs are lengthy and technical, relying on non-repeating song structures, careful build-ups, and sudden changes in tempo and/or time signature. The backbone of each song was the scorching guitar work of Mhyk Monroe, but the overall sound was heavily reliant on the contributions of the other two instrumentalists. Thom Mc's bass work wasn't just something to hold down the low end in the background, but instead acted as a complementary layer that often became the featured sound. Michael Salazar's drumming was an absolute joy to watch as he masterfully provided constant and complex rhythms that drove every piece.
|Thom Mc of Cult of the Lost Cause|
Cult of the Lost Cause opened with the ten minute long epic "Empty Mansions", setting the tone for the rest of their set. The song featured the progressive nature of the band but rather than being too inaccessibly technical, the sludge metal influence gave the song a steady groove and hard attitude. "First Day of the Flood" showed the more atmospheric side of the band, showcasing a sound that was more like post-rock meets krautrock as the song progressively built to a steady peak. They closed with a couple more songs with the progressive sludge metal characteristic. If you are into instrumental rock and want to hear something technical but not overwhelming, check out the desert style sounds of Cult of the Lost Cause.
Next up was another local trio, Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks is Addison Friesen on vocals and guitar, Beau Ritten on drums, and Wes Waddell bass. When checking out their recorded album, Oolaroo, I noted they seemed to have an indie-alternative influenced rock 'n' roll sound. After seeing them live, I'd have to say the rock 'n' roll influence is much stronger than I thought, and that their live sound was much stronger and more raw than their recording. Each song is driven by Addison Friesen's guitar riffs and Beau Ritten's classic rock style rhythms. Addison's vocal style is a little more emotive than classic rock, and that is probably where the bulk of the indie-alternative aspects of this band's sound stems from.
|Addison Friesen of Twin Peaks|
Twin Peaks performed as the Twin Peaks Experience, as they brought out a little extra stage production for this show. They had a stack of old cathode ray tube televisions all hooked up to a DVD player playing what was supposed to be video synced up to their performance. However, because of a late start, they were unable to play their entire intended set and thus the video did not stay synchronized for long. They played eight of the ten tracks off of their debut album, Oolaroo. I thought "The Great Sleep", with it's heavy rock 'n' roll spirit, and "George Hunter White", that ended with Addison Friesen playing guitar while lying on his back, were the standout tracks from Twin Peaks' set. Twin Peaks has a pretty good blend of classic rock 'n' roll blended with more modern rock sounds, so if you are a fan of rock, check them out.
|Jason Davis of Archeology|
Next up was the only imported band in the lineup, Portland's own Archeology. This indie folk-rock band had Jason Davis on acoustic/electric guitar, Daniel Walker on bass, Zach Dilday on electric guitar, and Benjamin Haysom on drums. Together they create songs that have a strong folk and sometimes country influence that they blend with modern rock, featuring tightly harmonized vocals from all members of the band. Their album Memorial is very folk influenced, but I think because of the nature of the show they were playing, Archeology decided to inject a little more rock 'n' roll into their sound.
|Daniel Walker of Archeology|
I noticed huge differences between some of the songs they performed and what they have available as recorded material. The songs "Native Son" and "White Walls" tend to have a more folk-like acoustic footprint in their recorded versions, but Archeology chose to perform those songs with a lot heavier distorted guitar. It was interesting to see their versatility, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting to see. Although their newest songs "Hunger" and "Kings Canyon" weren't as drastically different, I think the heavy distorted/electric elements they chose to perform with took away a little bit of each of those song's original charm. I did enjoy their cover of Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm", in which they infused Archeology's folk based sound with classic country and rock 'n' roll. I think Archeology is a very promising band, but I'll have to see them perform a more folk oriented set before I can say I've really heard the band in the way they were meant to be. If you like indie folk rock, keep your eyes out for these guys, as their songwriting is quite good.
|Cassidy Gates of Warhawk|
Finally it was time for local classic-style rock 'n' rollers Warhawk. Warhawk is a four-piece band consisting of Alex Eschen (guitar), Cassidy Gates (vocals, guitar), Lisandro Gutierrez (bass, backing vocals), and Ian Rippe (drums). This fearsome foursome brings back the authentic feel of vintage rock 'n' roll - the kind of high energy unapologetic rock that took the '60s and '70s by storm. Not only is Warhawk's instrumentation spot on, but their spirited stage presence gives this band an authentic look and feel.
Warhawk performed eight intense tear-your-face-off rock songs that pumped up the people in the crowd and had the members of Warhawk thrashing about stage. I'd listened to their six song self-titled EP and thought I knew what I was in for, but once the amplifiers were cranked up and Warhawk started tearing into their songs, there was even more octane in their sound than I'd been expecting. Most of the material they played in their set I did not recognize from their album, but it was all loud drums, thumping bass, heavy guitar riffs, and blistering solos from start to finish. I believe they covered a Mötley Crüe song performed in a classic rock 'n' roll style, and they played my favorite song off of their EP, "Cold Gin, Hot Sin". If you are looking for that vintage rock 'n' roll sound, it is alive and well in Warhawk.
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