Serpent Tour Slithers into the Club Remix
by Heather MacIntyre
I’ve never seen so many V-neck, 100-percent cotton, short-sleeved, American Apparel T-shirts in my life (well, except maybe on the Warped Tour). I suppose though, that it comes with the ongoing fashion trends that everyone subscribes to like a magazine for their bodies. Most of the shirts are either solid white, solid gray, or gray-and-white striped.
The concert, luckily, proved music trumps fashion and didn’t follow suit for each of the bands’ individual performances. The Serpent Tour running through the US was booked for Road Runner’s major recording artist Still Remains (stillremains.com). This is their last tour due to their decision to end their music career, or at least, that name. The bands made plans to play at the born-again club now called Remix VIP (myspace.com/remixvipclub).
Probably one of the most interesting concepts of this show was that the opening band (whom isn’t even on the full tour), was the youngest band by far (age and career) and, sound-wise, the most intensely metallic of them all.
Dead Eyes (myspace.com/deadeyesnc) started the show off with a Zao-like beginning, though the sound wasn’t that great, many have theories.Remix VIP is one of the larger venues in the Triad, with a capacity close to 870. The problem is that the space is spread out and not up, with other larger rooms opened to the performance area, low ceilings that make for poor acoustics, metal lining that causes sound to bounce horribly, and an unsteady sound system still with unworked-out kinks. This is a great location; however, there is definitely room for improvement.
The two opening acts were less than impressive. Tooth & Nail’s representation from Washington, DC, Secret & Whisper (myspace.com/secretandwhisper), didn’t live up to the hype of their new album. The recordings sounded decent, but once finally experienced live, one can’t help but notice that they are simply a rip-off, little-brother version of Circa Survive. The high echoing vocals don’t seem to go well with their rough music. Sometimes, I understand, it’s possible the two unmatching sounds may complement each other, but in the horrible live presentation, unless you already know all the words and became a fan through the album, it wasn’t worth trying to enjoy.
The band in the center of the docket that evening, wasn’t originally supposed to be there. Gwen Stacey (myspace.com/gwenstacey) was booked to play, but a better opportunity came up for them, and they made the (smart) decision, to share the stage with a fast-growing popular band on a separate tour: the Devil Wears Prada (myspace.com/tdwp). In their place, Emarosa (myspace.com/emarosaband) played an equally disappointing show as the band they preceded. The singer unknowingly had his zipper down the entire show, and it didn’t help that he was grabbing his crotch like a thug, pelvic-thrusting the air while singing. This left most of the people in the back observing, very relieved that he didn’t have a mic stand as a prop to continue his front-man complex. The music wasn’t horrible; the arrangements sounded as if they could be tuned a little differently and pass as a good instrumental mess-band.
With a strobe light start, “C-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E!” is shouted and spelled out overhead from the singer of this hard-core experimental Rise Records band out of Sacramento (myspace.com/Catherine). Though the music and genre was very typical and formulaic, it was well performed and together (tight technical riffs) with random time signatures. The sound was so much better than the earlier sets, quite possibly due to doubling the cabinets. Because of the different equipment, the sound could be blasted to fill the large venue. The guitarist looked like he was right out of the New York Dolls. This kept a positive attitude to help bridge into the headliners’ final show in North Carolina ever, Still Remains. Though they’re breaking up, they’re breaking down, and everyone loves it. The experimental metal core band has been together for a long time, and you can tell, because of how well they work the stage together, and how well they perform their songs with such ease and enjoyment, you only know they could blindfolded. Aside from Cornerstone, their last show is in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich.
We can only wish the best for them in their future endeavors. In all, the last half of the show consisted of very passionate performances that the crowd loved and sang along with in front of the stage so loud you’d think they were trying to serenade the band instead of the other way around. At the end, they thanked everyone for being a part of this final concert and explained their appreciation for their fans throughout their careers.