THE GNARLIE SHEEN TOUR with A FAYLENE SKY, AS ARTIFACTS, STAND AS GIANTS, BEARS AMONG MEN, The Cobalt Café, May 22, 2011
It was a Sunday night at the Cobalt Café, and the venue was hosting the Gnarlie Sheen Tour, featuring A Faylene Sky and As Artifacts. Rosaline from Chicago was also supposed to be on the bill, but transportation problems prevented them from doing the Canoga Park date. Presented by the folks at Two Heart Promotions, this was definitely an enjoyable night of metal and hardcore in the San Fernando Valley. Two local bands were also on the bill, and many of their members as well as their fans stayed for the touring acts. The singer of Bears Among Men even sported one of the A Faylene Sky tee shirts throughout the night. The legendary thrash metal titans Destruction may have been playing across town to a sold out house, but those who arrived on Gnarlie Sheen night in the SFVwere sure to find a whole lot to like about the entire show.
Driving from Lompoc to perform the opening set of the evening was Bears Among Men, a promising new band who is beginning to gain a good deal of attention through Facebook and beyond. They recently played a high profile show at The Whisky opening for Memphis May Fire and This Romantic Tragedy, and continue to perform at many gigs throughout Southern California. There was plenty of energy and enthusiasm exuding from the Cobalt stage, and the crowd was definitely getting into the post hardcore / electronic anthems Bears Among Men had to unleash. After a brief Intro, the band launched into Take Me Back To Day 31 and really sent the evening off to a glorious start. Other well received songs in the set included Money Can’t Buy Happiness (But I Can Buy Some Dope Stuff) and a tune they dedicated to the girls in the crowd entitled Dibs On The Duff. The two lead vocalist Kyle Foster and Jose Sanchez work extremely well together, each exceedingly charismatic and making sure the audience is having a fine time. The musicianship in this band is absolutely first rate, consisting of Michael Santoyo on guitar, Fernando Diaz on guitar, Cole Berber on bass, Thomas Jordan on synth, and Gregg Gross on drums. Once they have a few recordings under their belt, expect Bears Among Men to roar their way into the big time!
Stand As Giants was up next fully representing the local Los Angeles music scene. Judging by what was heard, you would think the band was playing to a giant coliseum as opposed to the smaller club setting of the Cobalt. Presenting a thoroughly entertaining, highly professional set, one wonders why Stand As Giants isn’t signed yet. They do have an EP out entitled When Choirs Sing of Silence, with many of the songs presented live. Opening with the explosive That One Song, Stand As Giants presented a towering performance. Screamer Blake Terry exuded a good deal of presence and charisma, performing with a tremendous sense of conviction. Jordan LeGore’s clean vocals were so soaring and wondrous, it was a real surprise to find he was only a fill in who learned all his parts in a few days. (LeGore is also the drummer and vocalist for The Open Atlantic.) Rock solid contributions were delivered tenfold from Alex Prado on guitar, Jon Rubalcava on guitar and vocals, Paul Langdon on keys and programming, and Jaymez Hadley on drums. Other stand out tunage in the set included Glow In The Dark Stars, Eulogy Of The Conductor, and There Were No Alternatives In Sight. Yet another band who should be signed, but can apparently make it out on their own. (Incidentally they were also on the Memphis May Fire show at The Whisky with Bears Among Men. Catch Stand As Giants June 10th with Eyes Like Diamonds at Uncle Studios in Van Nuys.)
It was time for the Gnarlie Sheen party when As Artifacts took to the stage at the Cobalt Café. Based out of the fledging San Francisco music scene, As Artifacts recently released a CD entitled Reclamation on inVogue Records. Nearly blowing the roof off the Cobalt, As Artifacts presented an impressive set that definitely had the locals paying attention. Tunes such as Aint No Party Like The Donner Party and Threat Level: Midnight were especially effective live, performed with a strong sense of urgency. Chugs Ahoy was another grand highlight, a tune which also features its very own tee-shirt design based on a very popular cookie. Most impressive was their hardcore version of You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift – a very clever arrangement of the song that was a real treat to the ears. If As Artifacts keeps on doing live shows this dynamic, it won’t be long until they find themselves headlining their own party tours. Hard work and perseverance should certainly pay off for this band in future days.
Closing out the Gnarlie Sheen night on an ultrasonic high note was A Faylene Sky from Providence, Rhode Island. Headlining the tour pretty much all across the country, it is a remarkable achievement for an unsigned band to be in such a position. One listen to their super intensive live shows and you see easily see why they have a loyal fan base. The band has self-released a pair of EP’s – The Hero Vs Me and Define Alive – and some of the highlights within their set included This Town, Whispers, and The Kings Son. The band also presented an impressive cover of the Taio Cruz hit song Break Your Heart. Performing with the confidence of a fully signed band, fans of entities such as Underoath and The Devil Wears Prada are sure to encounter a new favorite while soaring the musical heights of A Faylene Sky. Atmospheric yet heavy, the sounds presented are near stratospheric and a thrill to the senses. In short, these guys are gonna be huge! The dynamic lineup consists of Kevin Lacerda on vocals, Dmitry Primerov on vocals, Kris Sobanski on guitar, Adam Perry on guitar, Troy Ray on bass, and Chris Arbour on drums.
Another wildly unpredictable night at the Cobalt. Thanks to John of Two Hearts and Adam Bomb of the Cobalt for presenting such a supportive show!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)