It was a chilly Friday night, more suited to dvd’s and popcorn than live music, but my friend and
i braved the chill to attend the masquerade gig at ROAR. Having seen 3 of the 4 bands lined up,
including the return of Gnolium after a lengthy absence, i knew it would be an awesome night. On a
buzz from the sushi i was having for supper, i lost track of time and completely missed the opening
band, Woodstock Mafia. I’m sorry guys, blame it on the rainbow rolls and fashion sandwiches. I’ll
catch you next time.
Firefly is an alternative rock band from the northern suburbs, sounding a bit like a mix of Paramore
and Evanescence, only heavier. I like that they have touches of older rock influences, like AC/DC and
Metallica. They just got back from their East Coast Tour with Ree-Burth, and their confidence of
touring with a bigger band showed. They got the crowd warmed up good and proper, and belted out
some good tunes. Their vocalist, Sarah Jade Haskin, has some good pipes and great stage presence,
and got everyone to bob along to the tunes. I particularly liked “Intoxicate” and “Bad Habits”. The
riffs and lead were sweet, and the stand in drummer did a decent job.
Next up was Gnolium returning after a lengthy absence. If you haven’t heard them before, a recipe
for them would sound something like this: Take one measure of A Perfect Circle, a half measure of
Radiohead, a dash of Tool, and a sprinkle of Chevelle, and you might get Gnolium. You might not.
Their sound is hard to describe because they sound a bit like all these bands, and yet they sound like
no one. Their drummer, Sebastian Guile, arrived back temporarily from overseas just a month back.
Needless to say, i was sceptical about this performance since they haven’t rehearsed together for
more than 6 months. They took FOREVER to sound check, before finally the curtains parted.
The opening song was rather lukewarm, but my scepticism soon faded. “De Ci Dre”
and “Ephemeral” were sublime, and the somewhat lengthy “The Distance Lost” as well
as “Decadence” were great as well. The female vocalist (when i could hear her) was also a nice
touch. More please. Only one question: Where was lead guitarist Greg Abrahams? No mention of
him or why he was absent. The extra bit of magic that he brings to the songs was sorely missed.
Monolith are from the Northern Suburbs and mould their sound around bands like Deftones/Staind.
I last saw them at the Niva Battle of the Bands final, and to be honest, they were awful – out of tune,
dropped drumticks, and some bizarre announcement that it was the bassist’s last gig, which turned
out to be untrue. But they had a new drummer this time as well as a guest rhythm guitarist, so i had
enough reason to hope for improvement.
My hopes were soon dashed. The vocals were flat and weak, with melodies that seemed identical
to the song played before. This was redeemed somewhat with their crowd pleaser “Misery” and
two new songs which sounded OK-ish. Some vocal training might help. Sarfaraaz Khan on bass was
the highlight; he played some nice lines and had good stage presence. The new drummer, Michael
Steyn, is DAMN good. However, what he was doing on drums didn’t quite match the rest of the guys
on stage. He needs to tone down, or the rest of the band needs to step up.
Thanks ROAR and the organisers for a great night out, no regrets on the missed popcorn and dvds