Saturday, December 10, 2016

Concert Review: Red Fang @ Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA 12/02/16

The song The Sound of Muzak, written by Steven Wilson, speaks of music being engineered to fit demographics to optimize sales while at the same time dulling critical thinking and homogenizing society. Lately this doesn't seem like a too far fetched sci-fi horror. Bands like Red Fang come from the proud heritage that down to Earth and down and dirty rock intended to be hand delivered to a ready audience on the level of the ones creating the music.

I watched an interview with Gene Simmons saying the fans killed rock and roll, the rock and rollers dressed like bums and are not rock stars anymore.  The only guy embracing the roll as an arena rock and roller these days is probably Dave Grohl. He delivers the goods genuinely for that matter. Down here with the real people though, There is a lot of damn good music being made by copious bands with the guts to not compromise their work or disrespect there audience with subpar out put.

When I was offered this show I jumped at it because Torche KICKS ASS! But I'm not here to talk about them but I will say don't miss these guys if they're in your area. They may be the happiest guys playing some seriously heavy and tightest music you can hear. I only heard  Red fang two weeks before Fran told me about the show. I liked them immediately.  I just don't own any of their music yet. I boned up on some of their songs on you tube. I cant believe I hadn't heard of them! Some one described then as a Queens of the Stone Age type of band. I'll bet QOTSA doesn't have as much fun as Red Fang. RF also channels harder punk like GBH into their brand of rock, to my ears anyway. They do not sound like either band in any way there are just reminders here and there. Then there are the minions. Red Fang fans are like Slayer fans as far as I can gather in terms of their loyalty and propensity for excitability.and they're tall. Except, they're not assholes. Before the band went on  they lumbered along happily drinking beer.

I spent Red Fang's set in the back of Underground Arts. This move was mostly to protect my teeth and Fran's camera. I had a cherry spot at the front of the stage to snap a couple of pics.  As soon as the first note roared out of the guitar amps, there was an explosion of expensive beer and I was kicked in the head. I made haste to the back of the venue before I went on a killing spree. Back here it was as I expected; I couldn't see a god damned thing getting any pictures was an impossibility. The trade off though was Red Fang sounded great back there. These riff rocker type bands' wall of fuzz, army of killer bees sound needs room to spread out. Up at the front and middle of the place your head and gut swims from the bass frequency. At the back the mass of tone dissipates and clears out and you hear the band for what they are. Red Fang is not all fun and games. They enjoy banter with the audience and laugh freely between and during songs. Yet, they are all business when it comes to their delivery.  They are well rehearsed, precise and have their game cold for their performance. I figure if you have the songs down to this extent the band has an opportunity to take in their own material and react with the audience and have a blast playing. Its apparent Red Fang love playing live. This type of music shines brightest in this setting. RF is lumped into the big riff type bands. Most of those bands have a loose jammy kind of quality to them. They have an opened endedness that if the band chooses, they could stretch out and experiment or drone on if they wanted. I like Red Fangs juggernaut delivery. These songs are straight forward with a beginning middle and end. They're somewhat short, punchy and are of the type of music that will never go out of style, straight up rock and roll! I couldn't tell you what they look like, and I have no set list so speak of the songs individually. I got home and immediately waded through what I could on YouTube again trying to find songs that sounded most familiar. I can tell you they played mostly from their new record Only Ghosts and a decent mix from their past releases.

I'll mention briefly of the Whores. I don't know why they remind me of the Melvins. THEY SOUND NOTHING LIKE THEM. Maybe a little and BLAST. Great band though. I was transported to the Brighton Bar circa 1998 again, going to see Monster Magnet or Atomic Bitchwax.

Rock and roll is not dead if Red Fang has anything to do about it. Over blown arena rock and high heeled boots be damned. There mission makes me think of how Bruce Springsteen was credited in the 70's with saving music from disco and easy radio fluff of the days. Its a good fight to take up.

Keep the windows down and your eyes on the horizon!


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