Five-band Extravaganza ft. CROBOT
July 19th, 2016
Ground Zero, Spartanburg, SC
We knew we’d found Ground Zero when we saw Crobot’s full-sized yellow and black school bus in the parking lot. We suspected we were in for a rousing good time, but we had no idea how good. Almost good enough to make us forget about the sweltering South Carolina heat.
First up was a young band from Columbia, SC called Ropeswing Marathon. The five-piece collective were plagued with technical problems from the beginning but showing professionalism beyond their years, they kept flowing through a set of funk, jazz, and hard rock fusion. A particular highlight was the guitar duel between Ryan Hood and Richard Thomas. Check out their single, “Thank You” at https://ropeswingmarathon.bandcamp.com/releases.
One of my favorite regional bands, also from Columbia, took the stage next. Osara’s rock is influenced by the likes of Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold, and hard rock bands spanning all the way back to Zeppelin with flashes of inspiration, yet totally original. Playing four of the five songs off their self-titled, 5-song EP, they also threw in a couple of new ones. For now, Osara—EP is available from the usual outlets. Better yet, catch a show and buy it there! http://www.osaraofficial.com
Hailing from LA, ÆGES (pronounced “ages”) conquered the stage with knife-sharp rock. The hardest music of the evening to that point, they gave a show full of powerful, toothy riffs, odd time changes, punk, and a bit funk, mixed up in a sometimes-dissonant medium, dark and gritty. Hear “Another Wasteland” at http://www.aegesband.com/
For all the energy we’d expended with the first three bands, we were about to be infused with a second wind as the Virginmarys prepared to blow our minds. Punky with a grungy edge, the music was raw, stripped down, and angry. Drummer Danny Dolan played with his entire physical, and musical being. Every beat, every fill, seemed to be struck in defense of his very life. It was a manifestation of pure rhythm, yet didn’t overpower the guitar and vocal skills of singer, Ally Dickaty, or the thumping bass and backing vocals of Matt Rose, until it was time to cut loose. Check them out at http://www.thevirginmarys.com/site/
Crobot kept the audience energized as they fused visual arts into a riff-heavy sound with their “dirty, rock, groove.” Inspired by sci-fi, comic books, and stories of the supernatural, frontman Brandon Yeagley belted out songs with stage moves so limber as to make a ramen noodle jealous, while guitarist Chris Bishop jumped around the stage painting visions of outer space with sound. Brothers Jake and Paul Figueroa, on bass and drums respectively, held the show on the stage, but barely. Their new album Welcome to Fat City, drops September 23rd. Listen to the single, “Not for Sale” at http://crobotband.com/wtfc-splash/