The back room of Reno's was well-attended as Warbeast ripped through an eight-song set that lasted 40 minutes. No, the room wasn't packed the entire time, but there were plenty of folks milling about between the front and back of the place. And the people that were there enjoyed the hell out of the five-piece.
With a sound of classic metal by way of New Wave of British Heavy Metal and thrash, the presentation of the band could be perfect for ridicule: Both guitarists wore leather with spikes and there were plenty of "Ohhhhhhhhhh I found that note!" facial expressions. But the band was truly genuine and sincere in what they were doing. Drummer Joe Gonzalez made the blast beats look easy on his monstrous kit, and bassist Alan Bovee pounded his face forward to the beat. As such, there was plenty of applause between songs and devil horns in the air during opening riffs.
All the while, this could have been some ham-fisted, aspiration to be the hardest of the hard, but it was actually an enjoyable release.
Frontman Bruce Corbitt definitely set a positive tone in the room as he thanked everyone who came out and expressed gratitude about being nominated. Corbitt's voice was strong during the songs, going the route of Phil Anselmo-like gruffness instead of Rob Halford-like wails. Which is fitting: Anselmo produced Warbeast's recently released debut.
Honestly, the set just zipped by and the next thing the crowd knew, the P.A. was back playing Metallica's Ride the Lightning on shuffle.
Considering the friendly, courteous vibe of Warbeast's set at Reno's, things were a little weird and tense in the middle of Bad Sports' set at The Bone.
The Denton-based trio, with their snappy, Marked Men-like tunes, got a lot of people hopping up and down right away. The upstairs patio had plenty of people digging the band's vibe over the course of their 30 minutes. One short song led to the next and to the next.
But when guitarist/vocalist Orville decided to let a bottle of mustard shoot into the sky and fall down in trickles, a few dudes who had way more alcohol than sense decided to make things more like a UFC pay-per-view.In addition to a guy who sat on a table and flipped the band off, threw a lit cigarette and a cup full of ice at Orville, another dude decided it was OK to throw beer all over Orville and start wailing on him. Luckily, the dude was ejected right away, but coupled with bass amp issues, there was this dark cloud that remained for the rest of the set.
The band has a bratty side to their persona, sure, but nothing that truly warranted such hostility.
For those that wanted to see a sharp, quick set of no bullshit rock, they got it.
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Given the large amount of equipment used by Denton's own Seryn, the short amount of time given the band to set up made things feel a little rushed. All kinds of technical issues came up, from random feedback to a banjo that just wouldn't stay in tune. Considering that this is a band that also has a ukulele, a violin and an organ, things could have quickly derailed.
Thankfully, the five-piece played a powerful, 6-song set over the course of 40 minutes.
Comparisons abound to Telegraph Canyon and The Theater Fire with Seryn's folky dream-pop, but the rich, four-part harmonies really set the band apart. There was no disjointed, off-key abrasion--the harmonies were just sweet and right on the money. Some songs were short, while others built and built to epic crescendos minutes later. For those that were left at La Grange after a long day of bands, they expressed tremendous joy as they clapped and sang along.
There was mention of a full-length appearing in September. For the longtime fan and newly-christened one too, fall can't come fast enough.