Saturday, December 21, 2013

Windowpane, Mechanism, In The Between, Inside The Gates - December 21st, 2014, Louie G's Pizzeria

A staple in the Seattle music scene for over ten years, Windowpane never disappoints. For a band that could be labeled with the often deragetory "default rock", they bring it. They aren't going to blow your mind with their technical abilities (although they have them), hallucinogenic stages, glitz or glam, but Windowpane just plain knows how to rock. They're a band. Comrades. In the fight to the end, and it shows. This is a band I have been following for several years, back to my own playing days. They were the guys we looked up to, inspirations of "making it". They sold out the Showbox with ALL LOCAL BANDS, a task that seems impossible in today's music economy. They have toured with 5 Finger Death Punch. Played at a sold out Paramount, and yet remain some of the most humble and friendly people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and the privlidge to enjoy conversations with. These are the type of guys that will put on a show as professional as any band you'll see, and then walk off the stage and steal the night away taking shots of tequila and spewing road stories and advice to a group of starry eyed kids who only hope to someday be at their level, and the ability to contribute stories of their own. Glenn Cannon (Vocals/Guitar) is a constant appreciative ham on stage, thanking and loving on the fans at every opportunity. Even in the face of mic stands toppling over Windowpane never misses a beat. With a single finger twirl the remaining group presses on with an impromptu jam session until the problem is solved and they move directly into the next song. Had you been sitting at a table enjoying a slice of Louie G's famous pizza (foolishly) instead of watching the show chances are you never would have known. Tony Abreu (Guitar) is just a plain stud. A showman to the core and a damn sexy beast, if I say so myself. He keep his mop top flowing just a fast as his fingers, never missing a note. Whether squealing out tastefully written solos, backing up Glenn vocally, leaning back to back with another member, or extending his guitar over the crowd for a closer look at his artistry, Tony is one hell of a player. Mark Harris (Bass) holds down the low end as a true bassist should. Nothing flashy here, just a good solid base [pun intended] for the rest of the group to work around. I have nothing but respect, being a bassist myself, for the guys who don't need to make it about them when the song doesn't warrant it. He does his job, does it well, and sure look likes he has a good time doing it. You know, like a bassist. Sean Morrison (Drums)  locks in with Mark beautifully. The two work in tandum like a machine, slapping at accents and adding just that little bit of flare that every good drummer provides to finish off a song. Often it's just that little bit of polish that makes the difference. Too much and you end up with a dingy film over the whole thing, too little makes no difference at all, but just the right amount makes everything shine.
Find More Information on Windowpane at their official website:, on Facebook, ReverbNation or the Windowpane YouTube channel. You can also follow them on their Twitter account.

*Bonus points to anyone who can find me in the video below. I haven't been able to spot myself, but I'm pretty sure I was at the show this video was filmed at.

Mechanism is one of those bands I have been hearing about for a looooong time, but have never actually seen perform. A band I would describe as a bit of the old school metal, I wasn't all that impressed by the first couple of songs, given all the hype I had heard. They did bring an AMAZING and supportive crowd, so the buzz can't be for naught. As the show went on, two things became clear: Mechanism got better as they played, and Tacoma loves it's metal. Like really loves it's metal. It has been a very long time since I've seen a legit mosh pit break out, and Mechanism got the crowd going enough to spawn one. If anyone stole the show for the night, I have to give it to this five-some. And damn can these guys wail! I'll admit whiddly-woo solos aren't my cup of tea but it is VERY VERY apparent Ryan Renfield (Vocals, Guitar) and Tony DeLisio (Guitar) are talented and extremely proficient on their instruments. At one ponit in the set the two guys slipped into a piece played in unison; a nice touch and not easy to do well. They pulled it off precisely and it played a big part in selling me on what they were putting out there.  Daryl Williams (Drums) stood out to me more than anyone. His double kick is like a metronome, and his snare sound in particular is delicious. It has that perfect *ping* and resonance you often find in picilo snares, and it's a sound I can't get enough of when used in the right band. The recent addition of Manny Rojas on keyboards has really added a layer of depth not present in the video below. Manny has a unique gift of being a "lead"keyboardist, wailing on the black and whites the same way a guitarist would. It's a unique feature, especially among local metal bands.
Find more information for Mechanism on their official website,  or Mechanism's Facebook page.

Take a little old school rock, a little progressive metal (or what I've affectionately heard referred to as "wuss" metal), an underlying track played from a laptop, give it some pure toned lady vocals on top as the cherry, and you've got the recipe for In The Between. I have seen this band several times now, and enjoyed it every time. Maybe I'm getting old, but I find In The Between a breath of fresh air in a rock scene filled with loud, screamy guitars, gravelly vocals, and a chug along double kick. Don't get me wrong, I'm a metal head and love all of those elements, but to be honest there are a lot of bands in the northwest that just do a piss poor job (as defined by my, and only my, personal ear holes) of knowing when enough is enough. Will Warren (Drums) puts in just enough double kick to give it some oomph when neccesary, but doesn't use it as a clutch to add more meat to the songs. It turns out that's a good thing, because the songs don't need it. Will is one of those classic 'pound the shit out of the skins' drummers, but he doesn't follow the 'keep it in 4/4' rules so often associated them. He adds his own intros, break downs and interjections that allow his talent to shine through without overpowering his band mates. Shane Scot (Guitar, Vocals) appears to have a defined sound he's going for, and it comes through in the way the songs are written and structured. Using delays and chorus effects that are found prominently in the progressive "wuss" metal scene he weaves a pleaseant tapestry using the loom that is the depth track that accompanies their sets. The talent and purity of Kaitlin Beard's vocals can't be doted on enough. Even though I've seen In The Between 4 or 5 times, I'm always blown away at how classically powerful her voice is, and how natural she makes it look. Kaitlin is an artist who obviously enjoys what she's doing, often joking and smiling throughout the sets with both her band mates and crowd. It's a behavior that's infectious and spreads like wildfire among those of us on the floor. Trust me, I catch myself grinning like an idiot watching these guys (and gal) play, and the quick glances I steal of those around me prove I'm not the only one.
Find more information for In The Between at their official website, the band's Facebook page, YouTube channel, at ReverbNation or on Twitter.

*Two videos for In The Between. One to feature their video, the other Kaitlin's voice. TV is a very unfriendly environment for a singer due to the fact there is little or no reverb, and the vocal mics always run extremely hot. She pulls it off beautifully, see it HERE.

Unfortunately, it can't be all love. I knew nothing about Inside The Gates before the show, and I didn't see anything that made me want to seek them out in the future. They are a half cover, half original band featuring the best of old school metal. The one standout was Lucas Clevenger, whose vocals are uncanny. He has pipes like you can't believe and that serve as a real tribute to the "hair metal" bands of the late 80's and early 90's. It's like watching Robert Plant on steroids. The rest of the guys are decent enough musicians, but again I'm picky about my metal, and their style just does not do it for me at all. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up on Ozzy and Metal Church, maybe it's because my ears (and brain) were getting tired by the end of the night, or maybe it's because I knew I had an hour drive back to the north end of Seattle, but I found myself headed for the car after about four songs. I found them plain unexciting to watch. That's not to say they're untalented or they played poorly, because that wasn't the case at all, but in this business you fave to factor in the entertainment value for your audience, and I found their performance lacking in that department. But what do I know? I can't speak for everyone, and maybe your opinion will differ from mine and they will be your new favorite band. They just won't be mine.
You can find more information on Inside The Gates on their Facebook page or at ReverbNation.

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