Why Does Music Matter?

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In the wake of recent tragedies and the passing of great musicians, the rest of us are left to take stock of the things that really matter to us. For many of us, music is that answer. On September 29th, before some of those tragedies took place, Tonight Shall Rise, Kings Trio, Twenty Dollar Prophets, Rain Brings Weather and Back on Our Feet all gathered at Frogees to show what mattered to them. The name of the event was simply “Music Matters”.

It seems a little extravagant to say, but in the age of declining album sales and the rise of novelty pop songs born out of viral marketing, it is easy to take music for granted. These five bands, however, know exactly what music means to them and want nothing more than to share it with everyone in the High Desert.

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Kicking off the evening was punk act Back on Our Feet, the relative newcomers of the night. The group is making waves with their polished brand of punk rock that is very tight and full of energy. When I asked guitarist and singer Daniel Deccio what drives them to preform, he said “we wanna make it musically sound for everyone, as well as ourselves. It’s something that we’re actually proud of and everybody can say, ‘damn, that was actually a good show’, you know?”

Following Back on Out Feet was Rain Brings Weather, a group that I have covered a few times on this blog before, but every time I see them, they deliver the same passionate performance they have become known for. I spoke with front man and guitarist Dewey B. Weather after his performance and asked him one simply question: How does music matter to you?

I wasn’t trying to be a troll, I genuinely wanted to know each person’s perspective on music and why it was important to them. I know asking a bunch of musicians why music matters to them is as redundant as asking a NFL player why football is important to them, but who better to ask than those who spend all their time thinking about and writing music. I caught up with Dewey and Chris Gonzalez of the Twenty Dollar Prophets to put forth this question.

“It means the world to me and it’s everything for me,” said Dewey, “It helps me escape, it helps me express and it just helps me turn my experiences into expression, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do is just express what’s inside of yourself and I’m not good at that. I like to have fun and be positive and be a happy go lucky guy, but when I get on stage and I play my music, that’s when the hate comes out and that’s the hardest to actually release and escape from, so music does that for me and that’s it.”

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Chris Gonzalez’s answer had a succinct message about the unity the music offers, “music matters to me because everybody in this world feels music and loves it and relates to it, so without music, life would be fucking boring. That’s why it matters. That’s it.”

Kings Trio kept the evening rolling with an extended drum solo from Matt Christensen while front man James Gonzalez stepped out for a bit. When I asked the two of them the question of the day, Christensen echoed Chris Gonzalez sentiment on bringing people together, “Music is the keystone to life. Every culture has songs and if every culture is doing the same thing in a different variation, it’s gotta mean something to a lot of people and what it means to me personally is that it’s a way to get close to people I would have never met in my life.”

James of King’s Trio followed up by saying, “Music is from the heart, so as soon as it hits everybody and they feel it, then it either shows everyone how the world is, or it just brings everybody together, dude, you know and that’s definitely from the heart. Music, to us, it just life.”

The main organizers of the event were Tonight Shall Rise, with the bulk of the effort falling on guitarist Randy Blount. When I asked why name the show “Music Matters”, Blount said, “Noticing how much music matters to people nowadays, it’s a release of anger, hate, love and all that kind of stuff and we’re noticing that the music scene is getting stronger and music matters to everybody nowadays. Doesn’t matter if its reggae, rock, metal, we all come together as one in ‘Music Matters’.”

Tonight Shall Rise Front woman TINK offered her own perspective about coming together as a group, “It really just kinda like pulls me out of the dumps for the most part and like just writing music and even just listening to different types of music affects me a lot, so it’s a really an emotional experience to be able to write music, get together and play music with good people”

No matter the reason, music will always play an important part in our lives. It is the manifestation of cultural identity that is able to cross language barriers and politics. Two people of radically different upbringings, lifestyles and political backgrounds are able to connect by simply liking one song together. That is the power of music and it is what drives these five bands, as well as all the other bands in the High Desert and beyond, to write and perform.  Moving forward, it is important to reflect on these simple pleasures and why they matter.

-b.d. ponce

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Live from The Living Room by The Modern Three: A Review

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Artist: The Modern Three

Album: Live from the Living Room

Genre: Punk rock

Punk rock has changed a lot over the years. I feel like that is a redundant thing to say, but looking at the evolution of the genre and the other genres born out of punk rock and genre offshoots (there is a lot), it’s easy to get lost in the mix of hardcore, post-hardcore, ska punk, emo and folk punk. That not even the tip of the iceberg, but at the heart of all those genres is a desire for something intense and real. Punk rock has the negative reputation among some music circles as being simplistic, childish and a heavy de-emphasis on musicianship, but that is more to it than that. Born to the be the antithesis of progressive rock, punk rock spits in the face of indulgent guitar solos and time consuming rock operas that take hours to convey meaning. Punk rock seeks to distill that meaning into something raw, revealing a greater sincerity. It’s something that can be revealed in a music studio or a living room. The Modern Three went with the latter.

Live from the Living Room is eights songs of vicious, pure punk rock. The family trio of Austin, Kylie and Eric Sloncik show a great appreciation for the genre of punk and Live from the Living Room replicates to the joy of 70’s and 80’s punk. Lyrically, The Modern Three do a good job saying a lot with very little, particularly with songs like “Second Date”, “Trick Slut Bitch” and “Alcoholic”, showcasing the minimalist tendencies of the genre with ease.

Structurally, the record is fast and intense, but doesn’t feel repetitious. “Monsters Don’t Sleep” contributes a slight goth edge, similar to bands like T.S.O.L. or The Damned, but the album maintains its own identity. Tracks like “The Mall” add humor, which is always an important factor for good punk rock. There is always a level of cynicism and awareness that creates a fun juxtaposition towards bands and genres that tend to take themselves too seriously. Adding to the levity is a cover of “Blister in the Sun”, originally by the Violent Femmes, as the closer of the album.

Live from the Living Room is a local treat for anyone interested in more traditional straight forward punk rock. It’s loaded with energy, aggression and the rebellious attitude of punk music of the past.

-b.d. ponce

Buy the album here

Like The Modern Three on Facebook.

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