The Inked Magazine Music Tour made its way to the House of Blues in San Diego in late July and Online Rock was fortunate enough to witness the music spectacle. A mish-mash of members who came together under the moniker The Damned Things headlined the show; the Inked Music Tour also featured other bands such the recently reviewed Fair to Midland, as well as Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and HourCast.
The Damned Things are a group of veterans from the hardcore rock scene with two members of Anthrax, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano. Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley and Josh Newton, as well as Fall out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, are also part of the band. The Damned Things’ first album Ironiclast was released in late 2010.
To be honest, this reviewer was looking for tickets to see Fair to Midland, having just listened to their new album and reviewing it for Online Rock. I didn’t realize they were sandwiched within a tour and not even the second headlining band, so I was slightly concerned. Once I saw the venue (House of Blues, San Diego) I was pleasantly surprised and after recognizing some people in other bands I knew, I decided it would be worth it.
The first band up was Hourcast. Their guitarist really stood out, as far as musical ability goes, compared to the rest of the band, and seemed really comfortable onstage to the point where it felt like he was holding back to keep within the confines of their sounds. The lead singer added nothing new to the hard-rock post-alternative genre, although he did dedicate a song to Vicodin, which got my attention.
As HourCast left the stage, the crowd in the standing area filled up quicker than usual as a buzz simmered throughout the audience. I clearly wasn’t the only one here who was excited to see Fair to Midland, and they didn’t disappoint. Playing mostly songs from their new album, they stood out for their raw energy and musicianship. While all three other bands employed the same general combination of hardcore riffs and borderline screamo, lead singer Darroh Sudderth’s voice shined, as his range was on display in full force. The energy was unmatched by any of the other bands and a mosh pit that was started during their set continued even after they left the stage.
One really positive thing about this show was the venue and its audience. I was slightly wary given the type of music, but I unexpectedly found myself in a very relaxed atmosphere, where even the clearly intoxicated people were courteous and cool. Venturing alone I didn’t expect to strike up many conversations over the blast of down tuned guitars and drums, but I actually encountered people who were nice, and a few struck up a conversation, somehow guessing I was reviewing bands or there in some semblance of an official fashion. When the bands weren’t playing on stage, they could be seen coming in and out of the backstage area and walking around through the crowd, hanging out at the bar or by their mer chandise tables, and even changing in the bathroom. I was lucky enough to corner Fair to Midland guitarist Cliff Campbell to ask him a question or two pertaining to the new album.
Praising his fellow band mates and all their fans, he said he was “very happy with the new record so far” and he “looks forward to touring.” When asked what his favorite song to off the album to perform was so far he stopped, thought, than confidently responded with, “Rikki Tikki Tavi, definitely.” I am sure he thought I was just a random fan, and pretty much I am, but thanks to him for answering my questions.
Maylene and the Sons of DisasterMaylene and the Sons of Disaster was the second billed, and they surprised me with their solid performance. I had never heard of them before, but their lead singer’s voice was like a screaming version of Jim Morrison’s; deep and with a tinge of blues, he fit perfectly in with the band’s exploding riffs and raw energy. (Anytime the crowd and the band synchronize in head banging a good thing has happened.)
As well as looking like Rob Zombie with a scream like Jim Morrison, Dallas Taylor of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster looked perfectly comfortable leading the band from one hard charging song to another, keeping the pace frantic and the energy high.
The Damned Things came on the crowd already seemed satisfied, and anything else was a bonus. Having seen Every Time I Die once upon a time, I was familiar with Keith Buckley’s sound. While they indeed have everything it takes to succeed within their genre, I felt a lot of the songs sounded the same. Their energy and timing as a band was dead on for being a bunch of parts coming together from other bands; and there were moments of grooving riffs with Buckley’s signature raspy growl boiling over and resonating throughout the building.
Originally focused on seeing one band, I was pleasantly surprised by the venue itself, The House of Blues staff and security were as cool as can be, and it was a much more relaxed show than the music genre would lead you to believe. Not that the heavy sounds of the bands didn’t create a mosh pit or send people jumping around and head-banging, but the people there were as chill and cool as can be. Kudos to the Inked Magazine concert presenters for their choice of venue and the type of fans that their bands brought in; I will be paying them another visit this month to see the Kills with some other bands, hoping the venue and the show will be just as impressive.