ROCK & ROLL, METAL AND A YETI

RENO'S CHOP SHOP * DEEP ELLUM, TEXAS

Tuesday after Memorial Day and the day after returning home from ROCKLAHOMA, my friends in BROKEN RAIL were playing a show that was moved from Ft. Worth to Deep Ellum (Downtown Dallas). They've been on a US tour with a band ALL HAIL THE YETI and a band I could never pronounce correctly, INVIDIA. I was really excited that the show had been moved literally a block away from The Bird's Nest - score one for me - no driving after a long AF weekend. BROKEN RAIL was the first band that I have worked, what I refer to as a "full circle" with; interview, CD release, photo/show review. So they're pretty special in my book and I wasn't about to miss their show.

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BROKENRAILRESIZED 212614In the Active Rock genre or radio rock, fans that like Godsmack, Creed, Bullet For My Valentine, Pop Evil, and maybe a little bit of Stained will love BROKEN RAIL. It's American rock, it's catchy, and you just feel good listening to bands in that vein - well, I do anyway. How I would ultimately describe them is like this: if a feeling about everything cool that is summer; sun, heat, parties, friendships made and friendships ended, fun, and all that comes with it - that is what BROKEN RAIL is.

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My favorite songs are Walk Again and Save Me from their newest EP that was released late last year. The band added another guitar player (Conner Price) and a new bassist (Dakotah Wright) since the last time I saw them giving their sound some depth live. Another bonus is the the extra rythm guitar gives them a heavier sound. BROKEN RAIL played a 40 minute set and every bit of that time was filled playing their music.  BROKEN RAIL's mix was right and tight so you heard a solid blend of the players. Dave is a monster on lead guitar and his riffs and solos will hook you immediately into believing you're watching an arena band play just for you and a group of friends. Alex on drums reminds me of Shannon Larkin in so many ways. He's pretty damn good with the punch to the kick and his coordination with the snare and symbols is fantastic. Bringing all of this together is Blake's ability to belt out power notes and by looking at him you'd think he not only lifts weights, but takes his vocal chords out and to the gym as well. And even after being on tour for a couple of weeks playing every night, his voice didn't show much of a strain at all. These guys are movers and shakers and I promise you will see big things from them. Watching BROKEN RAIL live is a great time. If they're in your city - go see their show! 

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BROKEN RAIL is: Blake Clawson - vocals / Dave Delacruz - lead guitar / Alex Hilton - drums / Dakotah Wright - Bass / Conner Price - rhythm guitar * Find out more and follow them on Facebook by clicking here

INVIDIA

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INVIDIA was up and with former members of SKINLAB and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and GRIMACE, how could you go  wrong? You can't. Even with Evan Seidlitz in tow as their new singer since Travis Johnson went back to playing bass for IN THIS MOMENT, the band didn't miss a beat. Honestly, had they not told me I would have thought these guys had been playing together from the jump. They were fantastic! I wasn't at all familiar with INVIDIA (or AHTY for that matter) so they could have had a really bad night and I would not have known the difference. And I think it stems from them all being such seasoned musicians more than just me seeing a new band. I was blown away by the grit and drag their sound had live. 

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Brian Jackson was at times, scary AF to watch and his guitar tone (from what I could tell) was straight up paying tribute to Dime - and I'm not talking about mimicking a legend. This was paying homage and on an Ibanez no doubt. Brian played like he was putting butter on bread whistling Dixie. The other side of the stage, Marcos Medina wielded some sick sounds from his guitar that created this battle in the air with the other music and it fit so perfectly with everything. Matt Snell got low with his bass and is an amazing player as well because there were times when I thought his bass lines were guitar parts until I looked a little closer. Damnit I love a good bassist in a metal band that doesn't just hold down the tempo or walk beside the kick! Not to mention watching him play was kick ass. I gotta say here that Brian, Marcos and Matt can sing!! It's a melodic melting pot of metal fondue!! Darren Badorine just wore out the drums. He was excellent at keeping the band wrangled in, on time and tempo and I'm guessing this is very difficult to do because they are all killer players that I'm sure can kick it up a notch if they wanted! 

INVIDIARESIZED 221859A five piece with a heaviness that comes from that special place of darkness that we all have (whether we acknowledge it or not), INVIDIA brought it hard, dark and at times fast AF! I watched their entire set with a keen interest and felt a little fire of excitement in my gut that such well written metal was alive and kickin'! Evan's performance was stellar and brought a dramatic element to their set that is sometimes either completely missing or way over the top. Stage presence with this band is mega. I cannot wait to see them on a bigger stage to see what that looks like! Their show was like watching a well choreographed dance with a shit ton of dancers; you don't know how they all don't run into each other, but each one has their part that together makes the whole. INVIDIA is definitely a whole lot of heavy, a whole lot of talent, and SLAY live!

INVIDIA is: Marcos Medina Rivera - guitars / Brian Jackson - guitars / Evan Seidlitz - vocals / and Darren Badorine * drums. Follow them on Facebook by clicking here and watch for them in your city later this month touring with WEDNESDAY 13

ALL HAIL THE YETI

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Before I go on to review ALL HAIL THE YETI (AHTY), I will say I didn't plan on including the INVIDIA or ALL HAIL THE YETI in my review. Not for any other reason than I wasn't assigned to cover their show in an official capacity. I literally knew nothing about them other than seeing their names in press releases I received. And because I wasn't familiar with their music, I didn't prepare to watch for a certain way they played or I didn't get a set list (although I seem to always forget that). I know, bad writer, huh?    

Remaining at Reno's that night is one of those blips in life; like a peak in a polygraph calls out an untruth of a liar, that night the needle made a huge peak on my paper of existence. Not because of a lie; probably more like the opposite. I heard a truth in AHTY. Or better yet a primordial utterance of a mix of truths that I was meant to hear exactly in this moment and for it, I'm forever changed.

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I have to talk about Connor's unclean vocal. I think that his should be the example that all vocalists that use a scream in their music should have to listen to. It is a perfect rendering of how this style lends power and purpose to a song, at least to AHTY's songs. Connor uses an area of his larynx and muscles of his tongue to force a scream out that I've only heard one other time. 

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AHTYRESIZED 231335In order for water to exist there has to be two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen? If you have more or less of the two, you don't have water, right? Connor is the oxygen and the two part hydrogen is derived from Nicholas Diltz (bassist) and Alan Stokes (guitar), two musicians that with little effort create some of the most haunting harmonious vocals I have ever heard. If you add or subtract from this band, you wouldn't have the spiritual water where the hunter stands while he blows in a conch to call you up. It was my turn to hear his beacon to pay close attention. 

 

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Where does that leave drummer Ryan "Junior" Kittlitz in this mixture of magic? Don't think for one second that he's not important. Because he totally is. That night at Reno's, behind his kit sat a sunburned man that when he picked up the sticks and played each song, it was like it was the last time he would ever play the drums. The energy behind what was coming out was cataclysmic; I thought him and the whole kit would hop off the drum riser and bounce right out the back door. 

At the front of the stage, I stood paralyzed intently drawn into the lyrical content of what Connor was singing. Looking back, I can only attribute this experience to being in the presence of a pack of wild sirens of mythological lore. Yet, there I was experiencing AHTY in the flesh; moved beyond any show I've ever seen. I must admit that during one of the songs about the Jim Jones mass murder/suicide, the music made my eyes fill with tears with a sad, but resolved feeling. Y'all. Seriously, I have never experienced this kind of upheaval before at a rock show and it was so godam beautiful.  

Just as much as it was the music, it was visual too. Nicholas' swagger with the bass was hot AF, like the instrument was a tentacle reaching out into the audience, grabbing and holding us still. The stoic stance and stare of Alan as he played made him seem very unreal and ominous at times, until he would smile turning him back to his human form. While Connor's presence reminded me of a hunter of the grisliest of beasts and though he is ultimately out to destroy the grave darkness in what he hunts, he fights a battle within himself to not slip and fall like the monsters he hunts. Standing tall on a platform and then squatting down almost to our level in the audience with pleads of whys and hows to stop the beasts and their atrocities. Yet this is just the story my mind tells me in hopes of hiding the truth Connor is singing about. It is mankind that has become the hunted and these songs are to try and wake the rest of us the fuck up.

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Honestly, I could write entire manuscripts on the tales ALL HAIL THE YETI tells from stages everywhere. I mean this band has everything fans want in a band. Why they are not playing in front of thousands of people is beyond me and feels criminal from one artist to another, if I can be so bold. Blake and I were talking about this and we both didn't understand why on this Tuesday night they were playing in a place smaller than a 711 and why everyone in Deep Ellum wasn't there to see them.

Someone that can place them in front of thousands needs to bear witness to AHTY. Feel what little old me felt who is nothing in the Grand Machine of Music and tell me I am wrong. Where AHTY shines is live so they can bring you to a place of reckoning and so you can hear the pains that somehow John Q. Public has just brushed off, set aside or stuffed so far down it will take a hunter to track it down and bring it out. And getting that solely from the recordings won't be enough. Sure, it's good but their CDs pale in comparison to what you are in when watching their show. In an age of voice over, pitch regulation, layers to fatten up a flat, lifeless vocal, studio recordings aren't real to a listener's soul. Watching it, hearing AHTY live is like doing a beer bong, only it is the Yeti's milk of music gushing down a funneled tube to intoxicate you, not beer. I would almost bet money that if I am an instant forever fan, there are more like me that are waiting for the next tour to roll into town. I will use their records Screams From a Black Wilderness and the self-titled All Hail The Yeti as pacifiers until then. 

ALL HAIL THE YETI is: Connor Garritty (Vocals) / Nicholas Diltz (Bass,Vocals) / Alan Stokes (Guitar, Vocals) / Ryan "Junior" Kittlitz (Drums). Follow them on Facebook.

Photo cred: Cherri Bird 2017. All images are subject to international copyright laws. Please request permission: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Until next time - 

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