Concert Reviews

Last Night: The Wedding, The Fold and Ocean Is Theory at The Max

The Wedding, The Fold and Ocean Is Theory
The Max
February 16, 2009

Better than: Any other rock show you went to last night, promise.


Two weeks ago, BrokeNCYDE got real raunchy for a crowd of 15-year-olds at the Max. With choruses like, "Let's get freaky now, let's get fucking freaky now," and comments about wanting to set a girl's hair on fire (as retaliation for getting the band sick, duh!) the show was a gutter-mouthed spectacle.

But the same venue, with the same mood-setting Christmas lights on the ceiling, played host to a completely different kind of show last night...

A total 180˚ from the sex and alcohol references of two weeks prior, The Wedding, The Fold and Ocean Is Theory showed up to rock--with real instruments and no deliberately exaggerated vocal autotuning! The bill was made up of predominantly Christian acts, but was less in-your-face about morals (or lack thereof) than the band that stood in the same place Feb. 5.

(Note to all bands: The Wedding is a really hard act to follow, so probably try not to. You will always look less awesome.)

The Wedding is sheer power, baby. Not random power for power's sake, but intricate, hard-hitting power that is artfully and thoughtfully done.

Two parts rock and one part pop, the band has a little somethin' for everybody. And every once in a while, the band breaks it down real nice and heavy-like, southern rock style (think Maylene and the Sons of Disaster).

Matt Shelton, former frontman of Letter Kills (who toured with Story of the Year, My Chemical Romance and The Used), is an engaging centerpiece mounted between swinging guitars. But his voice isn't overshadowed by the band's musical prowess, which speaks volumes (literally and figuratively) about its strength, tone and overall flawlessness.

Matt Jameson (drums) and Adam Thron (guitar) both joined the band a few years ago after parting ways with Amarillo-based hardcore band The Gentlemen Homicide (at the time, signed to Blood and Ink Records). The Gentlemen Homicide's fast-paced, can't-catch-your-breath style paved the way for a smooth transition into something a little less pounding, but just as dominating. Jameson is one of the hardest-hitting drummers around, on par with Children 18:3's Seth Hostetter.

Their showmanship coupled with talent, personality and force kept the crowd's unblinking focus.

Both bands sandwiched around The Wedding looked 'eh, alright' in comparison.  Although neither band could reach the bar set by the Arkansas rockers, I'll be darned if they didn't give it their all -- and I appreciate them for that.

Ocean Is Theory, from Atlanta, held it down with amazing guitar work, strong vocals and inspirational lyrics. Although not entirely unique in sound or approach, the band was fun to watch and had several likable songs, including "More Than Conquerers".

And headliners The Fold provided a poppy end to the rock-poppy evening. The crowd thinned a little before and during their set, either because it was a Monday night or because of the aforementioned 'eh, alright' effect. Maybe both. Either way, they put on an entertaining show and looked like they enjoyed themselves during its entirety.

After a night of eardrum assault, the lead singer took me back a few weeks with his question about whether or not concert-goers were wearing protection.

But he was talking about ear plugs. This was a rated-G affair.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I have been semi-acquainted with two of The Wedding's members (Jameson and Thron) for a few years. Introduced through a friend-of-a-friend during their Gentlemen Homicide days, it has been a really neat opportunity to watch them grow musically. We don't speak on a regular basis, or at all for that matter--unless they're in town for a show. I have never met the band's other three members, including lead singer Matt Shelton.

Random Note: Aw shucks, no 90-pound teenage girl wearing sweatbands, old-school high-tops and athletic shorts was windmill kicking through the crowd tonight. I never thought I'd say this, but in a way, I missed her. Hardcore dancing is intriguing, albeit somewhat unflattering (especially if you're a young lady), but the last time I visited the Max I preferred her obscure flailing to the show itself.  Alas, I wouldn't have been able to pay her appropriate attention tonight anyways, too much legitimate, worthy-of-watching rock was happening. Check ya next time, windmill girl.

By The Way: If my rundown has enthralled you completely (I know it has), The Wedding will be back at the Max on Mar. 25 with We As Humans and Don't Wake Aislin.