The Glim Project / Incura / Stand Down / Hezzakya
Stand Down C.D. Release Party
The Penthouse, Fri. May 9th
I hate being the reviewer who turns up late to a show and all but misses the opening act. Unfortunately, I was that guy for this gig - my apologies to the Glim Project for arriving by the skin of my teeth to catch the tail-end of their set. I first noticed (after wading my way through the bar-star-studded crowd) the intensity and presence of the GP’s drummer; images of Billy Bibbit pounding out pent-up aggressions behind the kit came to mind as the band ripped into selections from their self-titled 2005 debut. Based on what little I saw, the band demonstrated a compelling focus that coalesced in their frontman. Echoes of Maynard James Keenan rose in the screams that punctuated the band’s thundering final number. Truly impressive work all around, boys - I just wish I’d gotten there earlier.
Next up (and recently back from a cross-Canada tour supporting their latest album Swords, Souls, Secrets) were local glam-core darlings Incura. I really wanted to hate these guys, and actually cringed several times during their performance. I think I may have also let a couple of muffled ‘F-bombs’ drop, but after talking with vocalist Kyle Gruninger I eased up considerably on the little dudes. I may not understand Incura’s particularly flamboyant brand of prog-metal but that doesn’t mean it’s bad; on the contrary, the band’s comprised of highly talented musicians, including master keyboardist Jim McLaren and percussionist Jeff Zul Arnold (whose orthodox stick technique is noteworthy). I must admit my head did move a little during “Here To Blame,” so maybe I need to get over myself and stop pining for the days when I could pull off a little eyeliner.
After slamming back a shot of Jack Daniel’s to put some hair back on my chest, I returned to a newly expanded stage. Stand Down’s techs had installed an arena-worthy set earlier that day and were now busy scattering polystyrene skulls about the stage. Make no mistake - the night clearly belonged to the Stand Down Militia and the gloves were off. “We’re not just some ordinary band out of Vancouver - we’ve paid our dues,” declared vocalist Ken Goode. “Now we’ve got the time, the effort and the people helping us to put it all together.” Goode and company assumed their positions as the rumble of heavy artillery detonated in the background. The veterans were primed, and owned the stage while decimating the crowd with cuts from Villains Parade. A mohawked Justin Lacey bore down into the album’s title track as new addition Chris Payne raised his bass in salute. Mr. Goode could have almost done away with his mic at times, as his vocals soared effortlessly above several astonished heads. Providing a glimpse into the band’s future, Stand Down graced us with a freshly-penned encore. Stand Down is finally getting some well-deserved credit where credit is long overdue.
Holy fucking Hezzakya! I’ve had “Soul Collector” snaking its stealthy way around my brainpan for the past month! While many upstart bands around town are cutting their stoner rock teeth, the mighty Hezzakya are grinding some serious stoner metal. These would be saviors of doom rounded out the evening perfectly and took command as soon as their boots hit the floor. Summoning the forces of Chris Cornell and Cregg Rondell (Boy Hits Car), vocalist Rob Krys had me utterly transfixed. Obvious Sabbath, Bloody, Sabbath-era Ozzy Osbourne influences aside, this godsend to all things groovy is not to be ignored. At times it felt like I wasn’t a member of a rock audience at all, but rather a disciple worshipping at the altar of kaleidoscopic awesomeness. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that last shot of JD after all.
Posted: May 26, 2008