Macon Venue Project’s 2nd Annual Halloween Monster Mash
The Macon Venue Project knows a thing or two about putting on a good, rock show. For the 2nd Annual “Halloween Monster Mash,” TMVP presented a thoroughly planned event featuring a total of 5 bands (in this order): I Draw Trees, Mouse Fire, The Rise of Science, The Working Title, and All Get Out. And to put it plainly before we jump into things here, four of these bands were good (some great), and there was one, in particular, that made me want to blind-fold myself and do a light-jog on I-75 against on-coming traffic. And that band isn’t worth mentioning, although I’m sure you can imagine who I’m referring to by the way that particular band’s name is formatted above. The Rise of Racket, or more aptly, “I-Am-Trying-Too-Hard,” isn’t worth my creative efforts in a good descriptive, butt-spanking. Moving on.
I DRAW TREES
The night began with I Draw Trees. To be honest, I didn’t expect anything special from this band, as it’s only their 2nd show as the band, I Draw Trees. They have an interesting set-up going for them though, which, with a little “figuring things out,” they may just be the next best thing locally in Macon, GA. One of the first steps they would need to take in the “figuring things out” process is to not let everyone in the band have lead vocal parts. I Draw Trees is: Kenneth Driggers (guitars, vocals), Mikey Heptinstall (guitar), Chad Dowdell (bass), and Alec Stanley (drums, vocals). Driggers has a cool, even geeky sound to his voice that is worthy of a high-five. He kept things interesting with his quirky vibe, which I have a feeling will come out nicely on their upcoming, debut record. The band, specifically Driggers and Heptinstall, really show their youth when they’re hopping around with their shoes off sporting little-footie socks. I’m not sure if this is easier for tapping their pedals, but it’s a bit distracting. They (Driggers and Heptinstall) make up for it though with their tasteful runs on the guitar. Perhaps the band’s most powerful punch is Driggers’ peculiar ways combined with the likable and uber-talented, Alec Stanley. Musically, the sky is the limit with this kid Stanley (and he is a kid). Undoubtedly, the gut-grabber of their set was the last song where Stanley put us in overdrive with the song, “Second Time Around.” While this song certainly ended things on a good note, this band would do well to only have Driggers and Stanley with a microphone in front of their mouth. Overall, I Draw Trees was good. There was only 1 greatperformance, which we’ll get to later, but I Draw Trees easily falls into the “good” category. Keep your eye open for a Blue Indian Feature of this band in the near future.
Fortunately for the crowd at the show, Mouse Fire, from Lakeland, FL, was conveniently on the road with All Get Out and The Working Title from October 30th through November 3rd. Because Mouse Fire was uncertain as to whether they’d be able to make this particular show, they ended up being a pleasant surprise to the majority of us. When I Draw Trees left the stage, some dude about 8 feet tall sat a bass drum down with the letters “MF” unprofessionally stamped (or taped?) on it. It looked hardly credible; that’s for sure. I don’t believe anyone had a clue who this band was, let alone this enormous white dude with his hat on backwards. However, as soon as Mouse Fire concluded the first song of their set, it was clear that this band had won the hearts of the often moody punk, indie kids. Mouse Fire is Shane (guitar, vocals), Justin (bass, BGV’s), and Aaron (drums, BGV’s). Musically, Mouse Fire’s set was flawless. And I meant that. Shane’s trendy style and fluid guitar parts, Aaron’s enormous presence behind his kit, and Justin’s bump & bounce bass parts and his clown-like personality all combine to yield a brilliant formula. The indie music world needs more tight, three-piece bands like Mouse Fire. And perhaps most interesting about them is that they are tracked. The majority of the songs they played that night were off the upcoming release, entitled, “Souvenirs.” The band’s immense amount of energy will work to their advantage in most cases; however, it is precisely what kept their set from being categorized as “great.” Let me be clear here, the energy during the actual performances is one of the elements that made them a stand-out, but it was the energy between the songs that, at worst, made them appear a bit nervous. Mouse Fire, with your talent, you don’t have to say a word. Just do your thing.
THE WORKING TITLE (Joel Hamilton)
After Mouse Fire ended their set, that one particular band played. They finished. Then, I was thrown a curve ball. All of the members of All Get Out (minus Mel) came up on stage and began sound-checking their instruments. I immediately thought, “Where is The Working Title?” And, “who is this dude who closely resembles Shaggy from Scooby-Doo doing a mic-check?”And so it began: the “great” performance. I’m not sure if you’ve heard All Get Out live before, but they are a treat in and of themselves. But, we’re talking All Get Out playing the part of a backing-band behind some handsome young man (with a jungle of hair hiding his handsomeness) singing his face off. There were times during Hamilton’s set that I thought something was going to explode out of his chest. This guy, hilariously dressed in a ketchup costume, was hitting notes that usually only a piano can hit. Saying his performance was impressive is probably the largest understatement ever mentioned. And most impressively, Hamilton has a knack for going from something as explosive as “Sugar for My Sugar” to something as elegant as
“Arms and Thighs.”
I bought The Working Title’s latest release, “Bone Island” off of iTunes the night of the show. And we just may review it. The Working Title took the cake on the best performance of the night, and categorizing his performance as “great” is probably the easiest task I’ve taken on since the debut of The Blue Indian.
ALL GET OUT
Lastly, but obviously not least, All Get Out takes the stage, or remains on the stage as Hamilton and his lovely lady, Stephanie (accompanying vocalist) depart to make sales at their merch table. When All Get Out began doing their quick sound-check, more people, out of nowhere, began making their way into The 567. Suddenly, it became clear to me that Alec Stanley wasn’t telling a fib when he told me that they are, without a doubt, the most popular indie-rock band to pass through Macon, GA. All Get Out is Nathan Hussey (guitar, vocals), Mel Washington (guitar, vocals, keys), Mike Rogers (guitar, vocals, bass), and Gordon Keiter (drums). To be honest, I was sort of nervous wondering if All Get Out would be able to satisfy the drooling crowd that piled into the room like a bunch illegal immigrants. Have you ever witnessed a crack-head go after his pipe after a long day at the office? I haven’t either. But, if you can imagine what this would be like, then you now understand the state-of-mind that this eager crowd of All Get Out fanatics were in when the band wrapped up the final moments of their sound-check. These fans were ready to be rocked and rolled. When Keiter did the crowd’s favorite drum kick at the beginning of “Coach Conner,” the place just flat-out erupted. This band certainly put on a show. And what made it such a good show wasn’t necessarily the fact that Hussey has a spitting habit, or the fact that Washington blew an amp, or even the fact that Keiter scares the crap out of the crowd with his Captain Hook-like /// Jack Sparrow-like /// The Undertaker-like looks. It’s simply because All Get Out performs recklessly. They don’t feel the need to entertain between songs (not necessarily a bad thing); they just do what they were gifted to do. And best yet, they could care less what you think about it.
Below are links to videos from each set: