livelearnlove by Stay Wild: A Review

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Artist: Stay Wild

Album: livelearnlove

Genre: Punk/Hardcore

Score: 4/5

                I’m not going to lie; this review will seem a little biased, but that is mostly because I adore hardcore punk. I love anything related to hardcore: plain hardcore, post-hardcore, metalcore, ska core, emocore, nerdcore (also known as Nintendocore as I am learning of now), jazzcore, etc. Hell, you can attach “-core” to polka and I’ll be all over it. That being said, I’m making a conscious effort not to overpraise or undervalue Stay Wild’s EP livelearnlove. I want to be fair while also not seeming like I’m just jerking off a band that melted my face off at ‘Thrasho de Mayo’ (I wrote a review of that show, check it out here

That disclaimer aside, the production on livelearnlove is crisp. Recorded at Buzzbombs Studios in Anaheim and running in at just under twenty minutes, Stay Wild delivers some of the most passionate,  intense hardcore that I’ve heard come out of the high desert in a long time. Released on June 24th of last year, I’m actually eleven months behind the curb on this one, but I hope there is shred of forgiveness as this blog is only three months old (better late than never).

livelearnlove is Stay Wild’s third EP and maintains the same level of ferocity as their two previous EPs, Pacemaker and the self-titled Stay Wild EP. Drummer David Fajardo gives a solid, commanding performance while bassist Jehiah Tonneson and guitarist Nick Riggs share the vocal duties with Riggs taking the bulk of the work. Together, the duo produces a combination of screaming, singing and near- spoken word performances that go from somber to chaotic in just seconds. Tracks like “Iconoclast” and “The Killjoy Luck Club” come packed with tons of energy, while the final track, “Blossom”, eases up on the tempo, but not the passion.

Lyrically, Stay Wild is not shy about their left-wing values and incorporates these themes heavily into their music. “Trigger Warning” serves as a great response to the criticism and stigmatizing of standing up against social issues. Terms like “Social Justice Warrior” and “Feminist” carry a negative weight in our current culture and Stay Wild tries to tries to knock this out by loudly proclaiming “I can’t just pretend it doesn’t happen”.

Given the current political climate, Stay Wild’s brand of hardcore is a perfect blend of the fury and emotion that helps combat any anger still permeating over the current presidential administration. After all, catharsis is a strong component in art and the making of art and punk rock, in general, has always served as a great platform for political anger. Stay Wild’s livelearnlove is a reflection of both rage and compassion that, I hope, serves as a great precursor of what to expect from emerging hardcore acts over the next few years, both in the High Desert and the rest of the country.

-b. ponce

Purchase livelearnlove and Stay Wild’s other music here

Stay Wild’s Facebook

Stay Wild’s Soundcloud

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A Tribute to Cover Bands

Cover bands. Artist dedicated to the careers of others. These are two words that can either illicit feelings of excitement over the potential of hearing a good live performance of “Immigrant Song”, or dread after your co-worker’s third Facebook invitation to see his Insane Clown Posse tribute band. Whenever you see “cover band” on a marquee, you take a gamble and hope for the best. This is the unfortunate stigma for tribute acts, but it doesn’t stop bands like Circle of Black, Crazy Diamond or newcomers Physical Graffiti from throwing a tribute show to the best of the 1970’s at Frogee’s Cocktail on April 21st.

While sitting in the dive bar on Highway 18, I thought about the prospect of cover bands. Most of them are born from boredom, but then most music is for that matter. Cover acts have served as a platform for many bands to preform and discover their own musical identities. Most original music is created from that approach, but many cover bands choose not to go that route. Many prefer the label “tribute” to cover band, as it does creates an important distinction. While many cover bands will reinterpret music in their own way, often with an underlying theme that ties into the persona of the band (think Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), tribute bands preform with little variation, sticking as closely to the original song, and identity of the band, as possible.

The first act of the evening was Crazy Diamond, a tribute to Pink Floyd. Wielding a set-list comprised of well-known songs like “Time”, “Money, and “Comfortably Numb”, the band started the evening off on a more somber note. Given that the two following bands were going to tributes to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, it was safe to assume this was probably the mellowest this evening would get as the crowd stubbornly refused to clap along with the band during a song, but “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” still managed to get the whole bar to sing, “We don’t need no education”. This is the power and influence of Pink Floyd, and the magic that bands like Crazy Diamond try to recreate.

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Following them was our Led Zeppelin tribute band, Physical Graffiti, making their debut. Zeppelin is a fun band to cover musically, but tricky when it comes to vocals. This is mostly due to Robert Plant’s wide range and crisp high-pitch singing, but singer Johnnie Garcia performed admirably, taking on tracks like “Immigrant Song” and “Communication Breakdown” with ease. Another highlight from the set is the band stepping off stage during “Moby Dick”, leaving drummer Ron Davis to channel his inner John Bonham. All of this ended on “Stairway to Heaven”, which I was a little disheartened to hear, not because I don’t like the song, but because I had a great Wayne’s World reference that I can’t use now. Oh well, another time.

Capping off the evening was Circle of Black, a Black Sabbath tribute band that, according to their Facebook, also will hammer out some of Ozzy’s and Dio’s solo work as a way to celebrate not just the music of Black Sabbath, but the careers that started in its wake. Honestly, any excuse to play “Crazy Train” and “Holy Diver” is good enough for me. While we didn’t hear either of those tracks, it was nice to hear the Dio era of Black Sabbath get some appreciation for once.

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Friday was not a night for originality, but for appreciation of an ear of rock now resting fifty years in the past. This year saw Black Sabbath bid farewell to their fans in March, so the prospect of seeing any of this music performed live is going to be through a tribute band. Some purist would look down on that idea, not willing to accept anyone else on the mic except Robert Plant or Ozzy Osbourne. While it is true that no one can ever suppress the talent or presence of bands like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, that is not the point of tribute bands. Tribute bands, if anything, serve to remind us why these songs are timeless and still need to be played, even if it’s not by the person who wrote it.

-b. ponce

Facebook pages

Crazy Diamond’s Facebook

Physical Graffiti’s Facebook

Circle of Black’s Facebook

Fooling Around At Frogees

This was a strange April Fools we had this year. I don’t know if I’m getting too jaded for pranks or it was just a mild day where the greatest trick pulled on me was expecting to be tricked. Either way, my day ended at Frogee’s Cocktail Bar. On this night, the Lillies had a special show with friends Atomik:Kangaroo and Lotus Eater. I didn’t know whether to expect an evening of mild to extreme pranks and jokes or just another night of drinking. With a White Russian in hand (courtesy of owner and bartender Joy), I was all set for what the evening had in store for me.

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I chatted with Matthew Humphrey and Roberto Pereda of The Lillies while the stage was being set. The group has a series of shows lined up for the summer, all leading up to an opening set for Blue Oyster Cult at The Rose in Pasadena on July 15th. The band is anxious and ready, leading to some foolish tendencies among its members.
“Robert, you left your car door wide open. I closed it for you,” Said Javi Banuelos, the most recent addition to the lineup after longtime drummer Mark Simpson stepped down in November.

“Oh,” Said Robert.

“You’re such a dumbass,” Matthew adds.

“You can keep that in the article.” Roberto said to me over the table while Lotus Eater finished warming up.

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Our first band of the night set a strong precedent for the rest of the evening. A three-piece alternative rock outfit incorporating synth, Lotus Eater’s blend of rock and sci-fi certainly left an impression on the packed bar. This showed is marked as the first live performance with their new drummer and songs like “John Wayne” and “Love is a Hologram” were big highlights from the set. If you’re looking for fresh talent in the high desert, Lotus Eater is the band to follow.


Following them were the hosts of the evening, The Lillies. Going on 9 year with playing their fusion of rock, blues and funk, The Lillies are still going strong with crowd favorites like “The Shake” and “Maria”. Little hiccups like the bass amp cutting out during a song did not deter the band from putting on a commanding performance. The band looks set to take on the rest of dates for the summer and hit The Rose with a vengeance.

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As the clock drew closer to midnight, the crowd dwindled while the final act took the stage. I must admit, with a name like Atomik:Kangaroo, I really didn’t know what to expect. The information I found on their Facebook page couldn’t be taken seriously (Advant Blues and the Weather Channel) and when they began donning luchador mask, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into.

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The group does not follow the traditional formula of rock, instead creating a bass heavy blend of funk, rock and jazz that puts more emphasis on atmosphere. The sound combined with the mask created an almost avant-garde experience that made the show feel more like an event. The bizarre, yet intricate sound combined with the stage antics served as a fitting capstone to a day of fools and pranks.


During the set, two drunken women (mother and daughter) began whistling hysterically to the band, to other bar patrons, and even to each other. It was hard to tell if these were just two random drunk women or if they were a part of the performance. It was almost as if the band had summoned spirits to possess these women. Perhaps I was becoming possessed, too. What was happening at this bar on Highway 18? When one caught eyes with me, I knew for certain something was happening. She stumbled over to me, still whistling like a siren lost in the desert. Was I being invited to my death? Was I already dead? Was Atomik:Kangaroo the lounge band for this plane of limbo I found myself in?

“Let’s get this fucking party started,” She yelled in my face.

Alas, the only spirits that possessed us here came in a bottle. By the time the show had finished, April Fools had long ended, but the joy of pranksters and deception still permeated the bar at Frogees. The shenanigans of the holiday seemed subdued, as if we were taking a break from tricks, but we still allowed ourselves to be foolish for a little while.

-b. ponce

Twenty $ Dollar Prophets new music video “Shadows”

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On March 25th 2017, SoCal Urban Reggae band Twenty $ Dollar Prophets hosted an event at Gators in Apple Valley to announced the release of their new music video “Shadows.”

It was a packed venue with Epic! Radio in the house to MC the event. Supporting bands who performed were Dubious Distinction, The Lillies, Muppet Hunters, Dubsiders and The Rezinators. The sounds were a good mixture of Reggae, rock and rap. Patrons danced, mingled and chilled as they sipped their drinks while one of high desert’s favorite bartenders, Skylar, served up the drinks. It was a puff of a good time.

Here’s a video clip from that night:

The “Shadows” music video is a contrast between night and day.  The daytime and exterior of a building appears to representing a current, brighter situation, while the dark interior of the building along with the haunting characters appear to represent a haunting past of one that is lurking in the “Shadows.”

Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts!

Like the Twenty $ Dollar Profits Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TwentyDollarProphets

And keep updated on what’s happening at Gators Apple Valley at https://www.facebook.com/gators.applevalley

Check out Epic! Radio http://epicradio2.wixsite.com/epic-radio

 

-Mo

Delta Shade, Mojito’s, and A Hell of A Journey

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“Our biggest goal is really just to sound like ourselves. We don’t strive to imitate another band or artist because we don’t see the point in that – it’s already been done.”

By Mark Simpson

Delta Shade is a group that you might have seen rocking in the desert and thought man these guys are great but I wanted to know what makes these guys tick. Turns out that Delta shade is a group, that much like their name may suggest, enjoys listening to the blues.

“We have a deep appreciation for the blues and that was something we bonded over from the beginning.” – Travis

With the band sighting influences like Gary Clark Jr. and Gillian Welch you can tell that these are not guys who will be listening to alternative radio anytime soon. This is a group that is looking to go against the grain and after releasing their new album they have people as far as England wearing Delta Shade T-Shirts and bumping their new self title album. After packing out the religious rock and roll hangout and local watering hole conveniently named Frogee’s I wanted to know what the group thought about their big release show.

“We were so happy to see so many friends and family out there supporting us. It was such a good vibe all-around. Definitely a night we won’t forget.”

I think the one thing that I immediately liked and noticed about this group in my time hanging out with them at various shows is the fact that considering the groups talent they haven’t turned into that group that we all hate in the desert. We all know the type, its the group that shows up late and leaves early while all the while plays the longest set of the night. The group is slowly branching out of the desert with plans to do a short tour soon and currently has a gig scheduled in West Hollywood at the State Social House on Thursday March 30th . As an old Los Angeles Native I can tell you that this gig is one to attend as its just steps outside the famous clubs of the Sunset Strip and offers the coolest small room to groove to your favorite band.

With the group being only a few short miles from where the old Tower Records use to sit I wanted to know if these guys had their own turntable and if so what records they might be playing late after a gig while sipping a beer.

“ Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled. I love the riffs and attitude on that album – Andy

I found this to be interesting choice as it explains why Andy plays with the drums with a sense of urgency and as a drummer myself I love the choice of album. Chad on the other hand is someone who loves to sit down and trance out with one of the greatest song writers of our generation in Conor Oberst who is best known for fronting the talented group Bright Eyes.

As I learned more about each member in this interview I could see how each member had their own unique flavor. This was not three guys working in perfect motion as it may seem but instead three musicians pushing each other to bring out the best in each member. As I closed my interview with this uniquely interesting group and said my usual Cheers sipping on a Mojito (The Groups Favorite Drink) I wondered what the future may hold for this group. I can tell you I have no clue and I don’t think they do right now either but the great thing about uncertainty is that it makes for a hell of a journey. As a closing for this article Id like to leave you with some information on the group as well as their message for all that have support their amazing talents. Cheers!

“We’d like to thank all our family and friends for their support. It’s been a really fun ride so far and it’s been amazing to see the response to our music. It really fills us with gratitude to know and play shows with so many great people.”

Back on our Feet Live at Frogee’s Apple Valley “Melancholy March”

Back on our Feet played at Frogee’s Apple Valley on March 17th 2017.  Below is video footage of their song “Melancholy March” from that night.

“Melancholy March” is dedicated to the bands friend who passed away on March 20th 2012. May he R.I.P.

You may find more from Back on our Feet at the following links:

https://soundcloud.com/backonourfeet
https://www.facebook.com/backonourfeet
https://twitter.com/backonourfeet
https://www.instagram.com/backonourfeet

Frogee’s Apple Valley – https://www.facebook.com/FrogeesCocktail

 

Red Relic announcement and EP review

Red Relic is an alternative rock band residing in Victorville, CA that popped up in 2015. They quickly became a favorite among the high desert locals playing at popular venues in the area such as Frogees, Hilltop Tavern and the Desert Rocks Film and Music Event festival located in Hesperia, CA. We are sad, however, to announce we were recently notified of the bands departure. The band members have moved on to pursue their own life passions. We will update our readers as we are notified of new bands the members may join. Derek McEntire has joined the local Inland Empire punk metal band, Dead Reckoning.

With the departure comes Red Relic’s first EP release available for listening for free on SoundCloud. It brings you a mid-nineties alternative punk sound along with today’s alternative rock vibe. Their main single release, “Pump Up The Volume” makes you want to jump up and down while wearing your vans sneakers in a MTV Spring Break video in hopes they might be playing with Green Day. It’s a fun EP to get people moving at any event. I personally enjoy it and enjoyed watching them live. Their tunes will be missed. Please check their Red Relic SoundCloud profile to listen to their EP and past songs.
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Welcome to our new Ticket2Ride Music Blog

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