Story and Photos: Brian Schmidt
Editor: Spencer Fleming
Disclaimer: This is a bias filled review, which is what makes local music fun. You get to party and watch your friends play their entirely underrated EP’s while you drink yourself into a dehydrated stupor, and if you don’t have friends playing, you’re bound to make plenty. Local shows hit different, and I will not be withholding my biases.
TerraDactyl was first on the bill, and surprise, I went to college with their bassist Stephanie. Which is cool since I haven’t seen her since like, 2015, and we got to catch up after their set. So how can this review not be biased? Well to be fair, TerraDactyl’s style isn’t really my steeze. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed their eclectic Toxic waltz style thrash, or their head bashing hardcore vocals before, or even the bass thumping hard rock undertones. I spread those genres on my toast in the mornings. I’ve just heard a bit too much of it. Also, there is a huge missed opportunity here. They could have called themselves Terrordactyl!
That being said I was surprised by their stage presence on what little stage there was. Their singer made room on the floor directly in front of the stage, which was a good call, as he had plenty of room to move around. This would become a theme for the night and broke the ice for other bands to use the space. I also appreciated his injection of hardcore shouty screams into the set, they really brought the variety of sounds together making everything cohesive. If he had gone with something of a death growl, or anything less than a hardcore style, it would have felt out of place and unbalanced. I also felt like Stephanie’s basslines really stood out. It seemed like a large chunk of their riffs were written on bass and mirrored on guitar. It could very well be the other way around, but the riffs worked really well on bass.
Their Drummer, whose name was James???? (sorry dude I met like sooooo many people that night, but you were like the coolest dude,) was super photogenic. Every shot I got of him he was smiling and looking like he was having a blast. His significant other kept yelling for him to take his shirt off during his set, and thankfully at the end of his set, the audience got a flash of his nips, which was met with cheers all around! I got to talk to him quite a bit after his set. Friend me on Facebook, uhhh… James. Dude was super nice!
I also got to talk to their guitarist John, who is not Mike Cook, the guitarist for Molten and Cordial Spew, other local bands in the area, although they bear a striking resemblance to each other, and both have similar playing styles. John’s feels a bit more rock driven though, which makes sense as they are not the same person. John was super pleasant even though I totally mistook him for Mike. He said he gets that a lot though.
The World Without Us
This is really the only unbiased review here. I had zero interaction with any of the band members before-hand and had not heard a single chord before their set, and boy was it a set! TWWU (too many U’s? That’s like 5 if you count the W’s as double U’s,) was legitimately one of the most polished local band’s I’ve ever heard. While only a three-piece, (or perhaps they’re a four-piece with a missing bassist,) there was quite a bit of vocal doubling, special effects, and voiceover clips in the backing tracks that they played with, which helped fill out the band’s sound. They were also the best mixed band of the night. Every note, vocal line, and audio clip was crystal clear, even with me wearing earplugs (I’m getting old, shut up.) Their sound is very reminiscent of progressive/djent bands of the 2010’s like Periphery, and Tesseract, while having the fullness of more ambient bands like Scale the Summit.
Several Tracks legitimately gave me the chills, especially "Miss Leading" which has this very subdued piano track section where the lead singer is whisper-singing with an electronic filter over sections of his vocals, giving it a very out of this world feel. This was probably the slowest track, but my favorite of the set.
I got to talk with lead singer Drew a bit after the set and he would not let me buy a shirt without giving me another for free. To be fair though, I’m not complaining. Drew was sincerely one of the nicest dudes I’ve met at a show. I’ll have my eye on them from here on out!
Also, to the guy who was recording the entire set with his Cannon DSLR, sorry I’m in a bunch of your footage. I tried to duck around your shot the best I could, but there wasn’t much room to maneuver. I’m not that ugly though, so some of your viewers might appreciate a good look at my nonexistent backside. I appreciate ya!
You can find TWWU’s stuff on their impressive website https://twwu-official.com/ (Holy Moley these dudes are professionals!)
No surprise here, Witherfang is probably my favorite local band in the area, (sorry Coop, I’ll make it up to you at the Orpheus show.) Witherfang was one of the first band’s I’ve ever covered, and I’ve written at least 6 articles on them. I’m not sure what else to say about them that I haven’t already said. These dudes are super talented, and the music is super polished. Their sound takes lots of cues from Ghost, except they aren’t the least bit boring, and they have an edge that is lacking in most Ghost tunes. Sorry, I know it’s kind of cliche to hate on Ghost. They’re not bad, I just find a lot of it boring, I’ve probably had too much of the toast. I also find that Garrett’s vocals also have quite a bit more charm than Tobias Forge’s nasally Blue Oyster Cult style vocals. It’s mostly a preference thing, but they really make all the difference for me personally.
There have been a few new shake ups since I’ve last covered them. For one, they have a new bassist, Ryan Mount. Since they lost their last drummer, poor Jordan has been relegated to the drums again. If you don’t know Jordan, you’ll know him soon enough. He’s in half of the bands in town and is an immensely talented dude, skilled on most instruments. I bet the dude could master the Tuba in a week if he felt so inclined. Thankfully, Mr. Mount is a great new addition. Dude was tearing up the stage and having fun doing so. I love taking pictures of photogenic people, and he was for sure one of them. Secondly the band has some new music under their belt and ended on a new track that went over well. I for one watch this band like a hawk and you should too!
Also, if you feel so inclined, check out DJ Nativo, Guitarist Anthony Flakus’ alter ego. I don’t know where Flakus gets off thinking he can be good at so many things, but I guess he’ll find the limit once he’s exhausted professional fly fishing, and oboe reed crafting (look it up, stuff is impossible.)
Find out exactly what I’ve been yammering on about for years at http://witherfang.bandcamp.com/
Headlining this five-dollar local extravaganza are local homies Whitmore. I talked to these dudes extensively before the show started, as music had gotten pushed an hour after the original start time. I guess when you get to know someone, you can’t help but develop a bias; I like these dudes. We talked about our mutual love for early aughts metalcore such as, All That Remains, As I Lay Dying, early Black Dahlia Murder, etc. They pointed me towards their collection of QR codes which took me directly to their self-proclaimed “crappy demo.” Although, Admittingly, I sprinkle “crappy demos” over my scrambled eggs most mornings.
Their music was probably the rawest sounding style-wise, definitely harkening back to early metalcore, pre-commercialization. They certainly wear their influences tattooed on their sleeveless wrists. They even go as far as to title their songs lawl randomXD sentences, a la IWrestledaBearOnce, with such bops as, “Sorry JK Rowling, You Lost (The Terf Wars),” and “Sam Elliot is Way Hotter than Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse (Fight Me).” (Hey, that’s, my thing.)
Speaking of JK Rowling, at several points in their set, lead singer Jeremiah, who identifies as non-binary, threw shade at anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans legislature being passed across the country, at one point shouting “Eff Alabama,” and calling JK Rowling a, “Terf Loser.” Ya’ know, I fully agree with him. Trans and LGBTQ+ folks are some of the sweetest, yet most marginalized folks. Eff Fascists Lawmakers, Eff Terfs, and Eff writers who make their lead character a slaveowner six books into the series. (Yeesh)
Admittingly, their demo, Identity, is not all that “crappy.” It sounds purposefully rough around the edges, which if you were a metalcore kid in 2005, would be right up your alley. Their set was fairly short but included a dude in the audience doing The Macarena, a two-person pit that almost cost me my camera, vocalist Jeremiah on the floor screaming their heart out in a ball of emotions, as well as a guest vocalist, who I have never seen before in my life. Such is the way of the local shows. Everyone collaborates and comes together in a cacophony of voices screaming, beating, and strumming away about the all-too-commonplace problems of The Common Man and marginalized, while corporations attempt, and ultimately fail at capturing the magic and genuine-ness of small-time artists whose only fault is not having millions of dollars in resources at their disposal. The love and affection shown at local shows is non-duplicatable, and something worth experiencing over and over again until you're damaged enough to put in earplugs.
Check out Whitmore's not crappy, “crappy” EP on their Distrokid page here https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/whitmore/identity-demo
And support their charity of choice Prism United, which is a Mobile, Alabama based charity which provides support groups for LGBTQ youth, aiming to mitigate the psychological, socio-economic, and academic disadvantages caused by repression and victimization.
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The World Without Us
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