Concert review by JD Alvarez
William Shakespeare once wrote that the very substance of the ambitious, is merely the shadow of a dream. I never really knew what he meant by that until this past year. You see, I was given an assignment about a year ago to cover some local OC bands. Admittedly, mostly ska bands, but I was able to fit in some alternative bands as well. Over that time, I was able to see some very cool groups. Luckily, I had a chance to catch all the bands appearing on the bill that played the House of Blues, Anaheim on March 30th, 2012.
As soon as the doors opened the house was near capacity. The show was set to feature the CD release of Songs We Are All Singing by The Devious Means. Also appearing on the bill were OC bands Robert Jon & the Wreck and Midnight Hour. From San Diego, the Silent Comedy was also slated to perform.
Entertaining the crowd before and between sets was Moonsville Collective. They kept the crowd at the ready for the featured acts. First up was Robert Jon & the Wreck. These guys are coming off a banner year that saw them supporting their album Fire Started as well as being a featured act at the 2012 OC Music Awards. These cats bring a unique sound that is sharp and entertaining. Fans were immediately entranced with their performance. They were a very good opening act.
As Moonsville Collective kept the crowd poised for Midnight Hour, I was chatting with the band as they prepared for their set. These guys have been around a little while now, despite enjoying recognized success, they remain humble and still get nervous before a show. This night they were very eager to put on a great performance for the crowd. Like Robert Jon, MH also did very well for themselves at the 2012 OC Music Awards. They even have a number one hit currently on KROQ’s “Locals Only” show, which seems like it’s been on the count down for a gazillion years. These cats have come along way since their smash hit Running Away was featured on CBS’ Ghost Whisperer. In short, they are a very polished act. The band took the stage to screams of their fans singing along to every word lead singer Brad Lodge belted out. His stage presence and performance has not gone unnoticed by music insiders and their fans. Boding that Neon Trees/Radiohead voice with a sound that is uniquely their own, the crowd erupted as MH played their smash hit Modern Love. Also notable was the guitar riffs by Tim Johnson as well as impressive performances by drummer Dan Ardis along with guitarists Mark Johnson and Jared Mitchell. MH gave the kids a treat by playing an inspired cover of Billy Idols’ classic song for the ages, Dancing With Myself. The kids ate it up and MH did not disappoint their fans or those who saw them for the first time. This band may be on the brink of major commercial stardom, their evolution as artists has been evident for those who have followed them. This show was another great performance.
As the curtain closed on MH, Moonsville Collective took the crowd again as the HOB staff got the stage ready for the Silent Comedy. Luckily, I was able to catch these cats a few months ago down in San Diego as they opened for the Dropkick Murphys. Honestly, I was not familiar with them back then, but they opened my eyes and I was eager to see them again. I wanted to make sure they are the real deal and I didn’t just catch them on a really good night. The funny thing about these guys, they call San Diego home, but you would think they are a blues-ish / alternative second coming of the Avett Brothers with a taste of Mumford & Sons. These guys are simply that good. A fact that was not lost on the enthusiastic crowd that caught their set. Joshua Zimmerman’s vocal range was impressive and their collective display of musical aptitude was inspiring.
Moonsville Collective did their thing again keeping the crowd bouncing before the featured act took the stage, you could feel the anticipation in the air. Something wicked was on its way, it was the wickedly entertaining sights and sounds of The Devious Means. The thing that strikes me about this band is how genuinely decent they are. They too are on the cusp of major stardom, but carry themselves in a sincere and humble way. They are so genuine, you can imagine yourself hanging out with these guys as if you were with friends having a drink. A feeling not lost on their fans, and most definitely not lost in their performance.
As for their performance, I was impressed by the vocal range of lead singer Christopher Faris and their female lead Rachel Anderson. Faris displayed a professional performance that was uniquely his own. Anderson displayed an impressive vocal range, a sound similar to that of British sensation Adele. I think what impressed me the most was watching her play the keys, then the trumpet and then she played a mean Clarinet. It’s a good thing I’ve covered ska bands, or I wouldn’t have had anything to compare her sound to. Bottom line, she was mesmerizing, so much so… I know Pete Fountain would have been proud. Not to be outdone, bassist Megan Polendo, fellow guitarist Andrew Faris and drummer Jason Mize gave strong performances. In addition to the great individual performances, DM played songs off their new EP Songs We All Are Singing as well as tunes of their debut EP Presenting The Devious Means, the crowd loved it. My favorite moment of their set was hearing Andersons’ trumpet segway into a riff that turned into the Johnny Cash 1963′ classic Ring of Fire. It was so good, you could swear you heard June Cash singing along. Another stand out for the crowd was DM’s cover of the Ting Ting’s, That’s Not My Name.
That all being said, I’ll end with this; I’ve been very fortunate to have covered some of the biggest bands in the alternative music scene over the last two decades. This assignment has introduced me to the next generation of stars; and I feel very lucky to have covered this show. Not only were these bands great, but they are good people as well. Truth be told, us mortals will never experience performing in front of a sold out house. The closest we’ll ever come to being a rock star is playing air guitar or singing into that loofah-mic while taking a shower. I’m always amazed how some people can make it look so effortless while displaying extraordinary dignity and grace. All the bands on this bill are those kind of people. I highly recommend checking out all of these bands while you can catch them up close and personal at places like the House of Blues.
As for the Devious Means, you’ll appreciate that you can see a little of yourself in each of them. You can also envision them being your brother, sister, neighbor or friend. You root for people like this, and in the end, you smile when you hear their music. Once you see them perform, you will know what Shakespeare meant.
The Devious Means new EP Songs We All Are Singing is now available on iTunes and other outlets.
For more information on the band, go to www.thedeviousmeans.com
Check out TNN’s photos from the show at the links below!