Thursday, 4 August 2011

Masquerade Gig at ROAR

by Even_Steven

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


  1. Hey man

    Thanks for the feedback on your experience at the Masquerade.
    We will definitely be taking into account your thoughts and suggestions.

    Saf (Monolith)

  2. Thanks for the review.

    You are right we should have said something about Greg's absence (actually he was there but hadn't had time to rehearse with the band as he was on tour with Peachy Keene).

    The good news is that Greg will be playing with Gnolium at Red Letter at The Mercury Live on Fri 12th August. Bicycle Thief & Lyderkane are also playing at this gig & there are awesome lucky draw prizes.

  3. This is possibly the worst gig review I have ever seen. I have read tons of reviews, and do my own reviews on gigs on my own bloggers website, which I will not advertise on here.

    I'm a fan of the band, Gnolium, and came to the gig specifically to watch them.

    I had only arrived as FireFly had ended their set. The band was ok and their bassist moved around more than a headless chicken with an epileptic fit. Their guitars were barely in tune and their performance was questionable.

    Your opinion on the "sound" of Gnolium is something that is cringe worthy. When you talk about what a band "sounds like", a copy and paste from their band bio is a bit of a no-no. You call yourself a "blogger" but you cannot even write your own material.

    Gnolium was brilliant as usual. I could see that they were a little shakey (possibly due to not having played together for a year). Nobody asked questions about Greg, although the band should have made a small mention about his absence. I do however feel that his absence did not change the sound or feeling of the band whatsoever.

    As for the so-called "lengthy soundcheck", a great band takes time, not to mention the fact that a band has to pack up, get off the stage, and the next band has to set up and check the lines. I dont know if you are a musician or in a band, but if you actually played a gig or have experience in watching gigs, you would realize that it takes time to set a band up.

    I stayed on to watch Monolith, who I have also seen before. Certain aspects were not as professional as some would have liked it. But you cannot blame a bunch of guys for having fun. I can only imagine that the transition from one drummer to another is difficult, and for a band who has gone through that change, they didnt do too badly.

    There is room for them to grow. Bands like these are there for the passion of music.

    I hope that who ever reads this, has a chuckle and goes to watch the above bands live and in person. Instead of reading this rubbish and making a uninformed opinion.

  4. Dear Anonymous

    Thank you for your feedback.

    You claim to have "only arrived as Firefly ended their set" yet you say "their performance was questionable". A contradiction of sorts.

    I have checked the Facebook fanpage for Gnolium's bio and fail to see the "copy and paste" that you claim. In addition, the "lengthy soundcheck" was not a criticism, but part of the description of how the night played out.

    Furthermore, nowhere in my review does it say Monolith does not have room to grow. If I thought this, surely I would not include suggestions for improvement?

    Lastly, from someone who claims to write his/her own reviews, you should know that the review is the opinion of the reviewer only (and especially for live gigs, a snapshot of that point in time).

    Thank you once again for your feedback


  5. All right, so this morning I read Even_Steven's review, and I quite enjoyed it. It was well-thought-out and clear. Then I saw the previous Anonymous's (to be hereafter referred to as Mr._A) comment and I got excited. A critique on a review - strife, discord - fun. but then I actually read it.

    I'm not trying to argue with anyone here, but I just couldn't let this lie - it annoyed me too much. I would never claim to be a review-specialist or "blogger" (ptooi!) but I enjoy the music scene and play in it.

    I found Mr._A's comments on Firefly odd. you said that you only caught the end of the act, but then you tried to review them anyway, and trashed Even_Steven's comments. That's simply . . . strange.

    I like Gnolium. I don't love them, but I like them. I also felt the ache in the phantom limb Greg, though. I've always considered Gnolium to be a Tool-like, pretty good band. With Greg, they broke their own moulds. But regardless, how can you say "his absence did not change the sound or feeling of the band whatsoever"? That suggests that he does nothing for the band. Well, that's possible if you think he's useless to them, I guess. As far as I'm concerned, Greg has really altered their overall sound . . . as just about any additional guitarist would do for any band.

    As for Gnolium doing a lengthy soundcheck, well, that's kind of their thing. They tend to take a while. When they're on next, I just go for a smoke . . . or seven. I don't really mind, though. But lets face it: not all good bands take that long.

    Mr._A's comments on Monolith truly aggravated my already annoyed disposition, though. "you cannot blame a bunch of guys for having fun". Seriously??? I paid money to get through the door, as did many people. We didn't go to see people just having fun. Slash, Almightmy! I'm not saying they were terrible. Hell, it doesn't really matter what my opinion here is, anyway. Suffice it to say that I think Monolith can grow to be a much-loved band, with some practice and training. But Mr._A's comments are ridiculous.

    One more thing: Neither of you mentioned something that was really irritating: The sound. The mics were dreadful! The lead mic loved to buzz and broke the sound on high notes and volumes. And the backing vocals could barely be heard, as the balance was so off. I do believe ROAR needs new mics.

    The instruments were pretty good, though. Except for the guest guitarist of Monolith, who's volume began at four times what it should have been, then droppped to half. I know that this review is about the bands, but as far as I'm concerned, it concerns the venue as well, especially judging by the title.