Russell "Spiderman" Jordan was the king of cool as he took the New York State Welterweight title from Kemo "Bad Boy" Kolonivic last Thursday for the Boxing at the Roc event held at the Riverside Convention Center. Kolonivic came on strong and seemed a little heftier than Jordan. But no matter how many punches he landed, Jordan remained unfazed and cucumber cool. This did nothing, however, to lessen the man's power as he dropped Kolonivic to his knees and left with the belt after the fight was called between the sixth and seventh rounds.
I left the fight and went to the Bug Jar for more mayhem with Yer Mom. Yer Mom (with the addition of a second guitar player) scares the hell out of me. You know, I keep complaining rock music has lost a lot of its innovation and threat, but Yer Mom is determined to put that running-with-scissors-with-your-head-on-fire danger/thrill back.
The music is loud, frenetic, and odd, threatening to go in any direction at any moment. From the moment the band hit the stage, drummer Joey took to ranting on the mike while feverishly pacing the joint and swinging the mike stand over her head like a Samurai. Yeah, I wanna be challenged and excited and intimidated a little, but a concussion? I guess I should be careful what I wish for.
I saw Green Day 10 years ago with Pansy Division and thought the band was cool and just in time. They, along with Rancid, were gonna save punk and to a greater extent rock 'n' roll as far as I was concerned. Well they didn't, try as they might. And just like half of our country is scared and wrapped up in moral values today, half if not more is into contemporary music that takes no chances whatsoever.
Green Day takes a chance with their new rock-opera album American Idiot, and it works. The nuances, segues, and recurring themes are brilliant. The ballads and dialed back material are insightfully bittersweet and beautiful when juxtaposed with the harder stuff. There are very few guitar solos, yet the arrangements and melodies are so catchy you don't miss them.
The show last Friday at the Blue Cross Arena showcased a large portion of the album --- in order --- along with a cross-section of every song the audience wanted to hear. They did a sincere cover of Queen's "We Are The Champions" and Otis Day's "Shout" without the "mock the rock" stance you'd expect from a punk band.
Singer Billie Joe Armstrong dragged three kids out of the crowd to play with the band when they went all Operation Ivy. And in the cool move of the week, Armstrong let the kid playing his guitar keep it. You could see the kid's knees buckle in disbelief. I'm hoping these kids form their own band out of this. Perhaps this is what Armstrong had in mind --- passing the torch even though he's not done with it yet. The show also proved that arena rock can adapt to the 21st century as the crowd held their illuminated cell phones high in lieu of lighters.
New Found Glory opened and I have to admit I don't really like them --- too whiny, flat, and melody-less. But after seeing them live, I hate them less. They were energetic, with the singer looking like a cross between Quentin Terantino, Henry Rollins, and a pogo stick. NFG's bass player was probably the biggest display of guts --- or rather gut --- as he mugged and bopped around with no shirt or support for his Homer Simpson C-cup physique. The sign on his bass summed up his confidence: "190 lbs of pimp."
And speaking of moral values, El Destructo and I have decided to get married. It'll be an open marriage and we'll maintain separate residences, but we just wanted to give the finger to the righteous. In fact, I think we'll invite John Sinclair. We're planning a June wedding and are registered at The House Of Guitars.
In metal and metal-derived music, what's heavier than the textbook loud, overdriven chug chug, noodly noodly guitar? Easy: the cello. That's right, the cello. Break Of Reality is a rock band consisting of four Eastman School cellists and a drummer. They rocked the California Brew Haus last Saturday. Other than some simple guitar effects, the sound from the instruments is pretty much their intended low, breathy moan.
The music is heavy and creepy. When horsehair is drawn across gut, it's millions of times more ominous than the heaviest of guitars in the minor-est of keys. You gotta see this band. And it's cool to see the Brew Haus leaning toward more live entertainment. This is a great rock club with a good stage with a cool vibe.
Harmonica Tip number one from our new harp blowin' contributor, Jacob Kane from The Mud Kings: in order to blend the low notes (holes two, three, and four), draw in your breath then drop your tongue down to the bottom of your mouth --- kind of like you're swallowing.