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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Hardcore bands absolutely shook Gary’s Place last night

    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
    Tyler Kawada, center, of Alaska picks away at his guitar during the third set of the night at Gary’s Place at 125 W. Ventura St. on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Alaska, a Las Vegas-based band, started their 64 day tour on Sunday and describes themselves as “screamo Beatles.” Photo by: Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat

    I drove up to the building that my GPS guided me to and worried I had entered the wrong address into the search bar. I saw a few houses, some large buildings and the very occasional light post. There were some people standing outside, but none that I knew. I drove around the block a couple times before I parked and sat on the curb to watch the blood moon. The time drew closer to 8 p.m. and I decided to give this place, Gary’s Place, a shot. Why not?

    Gary’s Place is a small venue in Tucson for local and “DIY bands” to come and share their music. The venue itself looked like it used to be a home renovated into one large, empty room with semi-soundproof drapes hanging on every wall.

    I won’t lie, this place looked sketchy. There were holes in the ceiling, the bathroom door was basically nonexistent and it looked overall grungy. But I knew not to be so quick to judge.

    The people were very sweet as I settled in to watch the first band. Bird Violence, or one-man band Jayne Rose, was a last minute add-in to the show. He started the night saying, “Hey, I’m gonna make some noise.” And he did.

    It was an interesting mixture of musical moments and noises such as bird calls, whistles and dragging his microphone against the ground. He manipulated not only his instrument, but other technology and material to create his “ambient drone” sound.

    “I like to keep my sound very organic,” Rose said after his set. “When I write, I try not to really think.”

    Next was the band, I Thought You Were the Hero, a relatively new and local Tucson screamo band.

    I Thought You Were the Hero’s gig at Gary’s Place was just the band’s second show, as they’ve only been playing together for about a month. The band was pretty good, considering the amount of time it has been together.

    There were a couple musical moments, but for the most part, it was simply loud screaming. It has a lot of room to grow as a band, but I Thought You Were the Hero is starting off very well.

    Band members Valentine Mortensen (guitar and backup vocalist), Ivo Pranjic (guitar), Will Dean (drummer) and Raul “Tomar” Portillo (vocalist), gave a huge shout out to Gary’s Place and said they are very excited to be gaining momentum with their motto, “Book us or cook us.”

    After listening to a lot of “loud,” I was expecting more of the same as Alaska took the floor—literally the floor; there was no stage. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the Nevada-based band began to play.

    They were incredibly crisp and far more musical than what I was expecting. I could hear every individual piece of the band and they mixed together extremely well. Its music sounded like indie, hardcore metal to me because not only was the band really intense, but it also gave you the feels. Alaska’s music was in-your-face, but pleasing to the ear, as the band was able to transition, break and grow all together without missing a single beat.

    The band kicked off its 64-day continental tour at Gary’s Place very well. Be sure to look out and catch Alaska on tour if you can, and if you can’t, find them online just about anywhere.

    The energy at Gary’s Place continued to build the entire night, but Tucson-born Fair Trial really took it to the next level. The audience was jumping, kicking and even moshing to the emotionally-charged, raw music Fair Trial willingly dished out.

    The band was just as energetic as the crowd and they just about blew off the roof. Fair Trial’s musical talent shined through its ability to garner such broad use with minimal instruments and equipment. It was a bit frightening—I didn’t want to get punched—but still wonderful to see people so passionate about their music.

    The final band of the night was Blueshift Odyssey, another local band. This band’s music was the most interesting of the night because it evoked both metal and almost jazz-like influences. It was still very hardcore, but it was easy to tell every band member possessed jazz experience, a hunch I later found out to be true.

    All four band members were well-versed in their instruments and knew exactly what they were doing. This was their first night at Gary’s Place and they “loved it.”

    Gary’s Place seemed to give the band members a special feeling. “It’s really personal. They’re all good people, all good energy and an all-good vibe,” said drummer Lyric Williams.

    Although I was thoroughly impressed by all of the bands, Oscar Hernandez, the manager of Gary’s Place, impressed me the most. The instantly likeable man is obviously passionate about music.

    “I could make this into a career, but I don’t know. I do this for the love of it, but it can get tiring. It is a lot of work,” Hernandez said. “But at the end of the night, if the people are having a good time, or a band puts on a great show, or even if I make a new friend, I know it is worth coming back to.”

    Gary’s Place and the idea behind it, is one of the few places that makes musicians like myself feel like dreams are possible, and that is all worth it in the end. I very much enjoyed listening to and meeting all of the bands and hope to return to Gary’s Place soon.

    Check out these local bands, see them live, and experience Gary’s Place for yourself.

    Follow Thea Van Gorp on Twitter.

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