Tuesday, July 17, 2007

FROM SA ROCKS - Band Review - Alter Ego with Brett - Soho - July 13th

Friday the 13th must be my lucky day. I was heading up to Soho to FINALLY see Alter Ego with Brett (formerly of Deja Vu) singing with them.

On the way, I stopped to get gas and this guy comes over and insists on pumping the gas for me. Said I shouldn’t have to pump my own gas. (I know, I thought it was pretty weird, too, and a little scary, but kind of nice.)

Then, when I got to Soho, I was met at the door by bassist Steve Elliott. I was like, ooh, quality service...greeting me at the door! (Ok, really he was coincidentally going out when I was coming in, but I can pretend it’s because I’m special, right?)

Then the whole Soho experience. There are two things I normally don’t like about Soho.

1) I never know anyone there. But, this time I DID! Robert and Tony (Tony, right? I’m so bad with names. Correct me if I’m wrong) from Deja Vu were there, so I actually had people to hang out with and talk to! Actually Jason from Deja Vu was also there, doing sound for Alter Ego, so the whole gang was there. It was like...well, deja vu.

2) The echo. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you missed it and have never been to Soho (or, previously, Lucky’s), the stage backs up to a big wall with mirrors on it and it faces (what, 20 feet away?) a big blank wall. It’s a freaking echo chamber. It can really wreak havoc on a band’s sound. But this time there was no echo! It sounded great. They accomplished this miracle by (hope I’m not giving away a trade secret or anything) precisely calibrating the angle of the sound waves to the surface of the...ah hell, they turned the speakers away from the wall, outward, diagonally. Hey, it worked.

Just to rant on this echo thing a little longer...skip this paragraph if I’m boring you...but what kind of nimrod decided that between two big walls was a good place for a stage? (Nimrod, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I called you a nimrod, but c’mon, seriously.) The place is L-shaped. Wouldn’t down at the end of the long line of the “L” be a better spot for a stage than right in the middle of it? Couldn’t the pool tables go upstairs? (I don’t even know what’s upstairs. I’ve never been up there.) At least take down the mirrors, put some fabric or other sound-absorbing substance on the walls.

Ok, I’m done. For now.Ok, where was I?

Gas pumped, met at the door, people to hang with, no echo. Lucky day. Ok, enough of that. On to the band.

First of all, they had this whole Friday the 13th theme going on, with Brett and Jason dressed up in “Camp Soho” shirts and Steve dressed up like Jason from “Friday the 13th.” So that was fun.
And they sound great with Brett on lead vocals. I’ve seen Alter Ego a couple times with Bruce singing, and Bruce was good, but Brett has more range and he is more of an entertainer. He’s more animated, goofing around, dancing, pantomiming the songs. He’s lots of fun to watch.
I also enjoyed him with Deja Vu, but I really like his voice for rock music, whereas Deja Vu was more 80's dance/pop. Alter Ego does a lot more rock. I think Brett and Alter Ego are a great combination.

Good song lineup. Starting with some Bush, Seven Mary Three, Everclear, Blink-182, Stone Temple Pilots, Robert Palmer, Presidents of the United States of America, Ramones, White Stripes, Sublime, Radiohead and Green Day.

Second set: Nirvana (does anyone else do Nirvana? I can’t remember another band playing any Nirvana. Good job.), The Cult, Cracker, Weezer, Audioslave, Social Distortion, Blur, 3 Doors Down, Lit, more Ramones.

Then finishing up with more STP, Foo Fighters, Violent Femmes, more Sublime and The Cult, Buckcherry, Wild Cherry, The Toadies, Tool, Collective Soul, Local H, Puddle of Mudd...I’m sure I’m missing a few, but that’s most of it.

Now, for some reason, the response from the crowd was sort of weak - not much dancing, etc. - and that bothers me, because I can’t figure out why. I know Brett was obsessing over the sound, but honestly, it sounded really good! And with Brett’s antics and Steve running around with his bass and his Jason mask, they kept my attention.

Like I said, the choice of songs was good...a good mix. Seriously, I don’t think it was anything the band did wrong or badly or whatever. I think it was just a mellow crowd. Whenever I looked around, I saw people watching the band, singing along and all that.

They just weren’t rowdy.There was a funny moment when someone yelled out “FREEBIRD!” and Brett gave him the bird, for free!

I had fun...good music + good people + good beer = FUN NIGHT!