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 Post subject: The Sword, Mount Carmel, and Goliathon…July 21, 2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:04 pm
Posts: 84
The Sword, Mount Carmel, and Goliathon
July 21, 2011 – The Vogue Theater, Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by Ian Gerber for The Soda Shop

Every band that wants to “make it” playing music dreams of getting that “big gig” opening for an awesome band. It usually takes a long time to land it, if ever. When the opportunity arises it can cause a lot of excitement. This show was a really good look into how that all goes down. I was excited to hear that one of Indianapolis, Indiana’s premier up and coming rock bands had landed one of those gigs. It is almost always worth going to see the local guys strut their stuff on the big stage. I definitely wouldn’t have made the drive if it wasn’t for Goliathon getting such a great opportunity to do just that.

Goliathon is a 5 piece, self appointed “retro stoner rock” group comprised of young and talented players. They were most definitely stoked to get the chance to rise to the occasion. The first thing that stood out to me, other than their youth, was their three guitar attack. Goliathon is not a quiet band. They skip the Molly Hatchet triple guitar unison harmony approach and utilize their six string massiveness to lay down a nice mix of prog, classic rock, proto-metal and thrash riffs. I figured the crowd was in for a show when they repeatedly expressed their chagrin for getting their set cut down from 40 minutes to 30. There is no doubt that they played the best set of the night. I would credit this to their excitement and the fact that they also aren’t in the middle of a tour and had more energy to give the good sized crowd of locals that packed in the front of the theater to urge them on. In short, they had the most to gain.

Goliathon can boast of great musicianship and have a grasp of what good gear is, well beyond most players their age. These are probably their strongest points. While they have a lot of head room to grow as a band, they certainly know what they want to do with their music. Their confidence is evident on stage. Lead guitarist Christian Wren un-ashamedly rips his psychedelic guitar solos with a presence that would make a seasoned pro take notice. Their Led Zeppelin influence cannot be denied, whether it is the bombastic, heavy handed groove laid down by Matthew Alan Fields or Chris Probasco’s soaring vocals that reach into Robert Plant’s almost unattainable higher pitched delivery. These boys have their shit together, so to speak, when it comes to playing rock and roll for an audience. Goliathon obviously tries very hard to put on a show. This is the source my biggest criticism. I think that some bands try too hard to put on a “show” and it puts musicianship on the back burner. While Goliathon does not let their musical skills slouch, I think that if they could take it to the next level if they focus more on their chops more than the appearance of “rocking out”. I’m sure this will come as the band matures and earns more opportunity like this one. They definitely took a step in the right direction.

Up next was Mount Carmel. These guys are one of the new favorites around The Soda Shop. They have an interesting story. For those of you new to the rock and roll game, bands like this rarely come around, so pay attention. They are in the middle of what all aspiring non-mainstream musicians would call “The Dream”, whether or not they would agree with statement. Apparently, this is their first band. They have only been together for less than two years. They cut a record which they planned on using as their demo. Somehow it hit a vein and moved through enough people’s hands to get them noticed with minimal effort from their own volition. It got them a small record deal and the label released their demo as a record…because it sounds great. Fast forward and now they are on tour opening for The Sword.

Now while it seems that this has all been a stroke of luck for Mount Carmel, they had to put themselves into a position to let it work for themselves. The best way for a band to “make it” is to tour and tour hard. Mount Carmel understands this concept and are road warriors. Fortune favors the bold and it takes balls to get in a van and commit to the road. The last time they played in Indy was at a house party, which they got booked for after some guys on vacation in San Diego happened to hear them in a small bar there. They have been touring hard since the band started and their hard work has payed off. They definitely have a buzz among the informed rock underground.

Mount Carmel’s straight up approach to playing rock music was evident as soon as they hit the stage. Singer and guitarist Kevin Skubank leaned into the microphone and exclaimed without embellishment “We are going to play some blues music for you” and just launched into the damn thing. The guitar amp had all but blown up at the gig the night before or during soundcheck. However they did their best to not let it affect the performance…which is a sign of a true pro. It was loud and noisy. If anything, it enhanced the performance, taking it from your standard “retro/blues rock” performance to a full on, real life, in your face rock and roll show…even though he continued to apologize for it through the whole set. I am thrilled to see bands like Mount Carmel get more attention. Too much focus is put on a band’s complicated pedal boards and song arrangements. Mount Carmel plugs in and plays. They kept the set moving along quite nicely, playing song after song that were all built on solid riffs, Pat and Matt Reed’s tightness as a rhythm section, and hot blues/rock leads. You just can’t fuck with that combo. These boys know what they are doing and it shows. I would personally like to say “Thank You” to Mount Carmel for working hard to bring rock back, the way it was and the way it should be. If you are reading this, you should go and purchase their debut album on Stillbreeze Records. Yes, you…NOW!

The nights headliners were The Sword. I am not going to try and sell you The Sword and go song by song through their set and tell you what went well and what didn’t. If you are fan, then you should see them for yourself. What I will say is this… these guys are pros. They too had amp problems, but as you tour you gain experience and they have paid many dues. From the second they walked on stage, you could tell that this gig was no big deal for them. They had done it over and over and will do it some more. This is the thing that a lot of fans and more importantly a lot of musicians don’t seem to understand anymore. In this day and age of internet promotion that can lead to achieving overnight popularity, there is one thing that you can’t fake with Pro-Tools and that is a great live performance. You HAVE to tour. You can’t play your home town over and over again. You will burn out your crowd and I hate to tell you this, but David Geffen doesn’t get out to Bumfuck Nowhere too often. You have to put yourself out there and you have to keep going even though it isn’t easy. There are good shows and there are bad shows. I didn’t see anything new or exciting from The Sword’s set that I didn’t hear on their albums, but that has to do with the genre and audience that they work in. I can’t comment on whether or not it stood out from any of their other shows, but I will say this… It is more than apparent that these guys have busted their asses for long enough that even if it was a bad show, the crowd didn’t know it. The room filled up for The Sword and they delivered the goods.

All in all, it was an enjoyable show and I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to attend. It was definitely more interesting than my typical Thursday night. Thank you to Goliathon and The Sword for having Jeff and I out to cover the show. We really appreciated it. Check out Goliathon’s latest video of their performance of ‘Riot In Cairo’ live at Radio Radio, shot by the very talented MonkeyEatsMonkey crew.

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