Live Report – Just Surrender – Who Left The Fridge Open Tour

1-20-09
Mixtape Cafe
Grand Rapids, MI
www.mixtapecafe.com

New venues are always welcome in the UTG book. However, Mixtape is actually taking residence in what was once Skelletones [R.I.P.]. This was the first show I’d attended since the re-opening and let me tell you, it was quite a night.

I only really want to touch base on four of the acts. It was a large bill, but the last 4 really took it up a notch. For starters, New York’s Kelsey and The Chaos, a band obviously inspired and taking notes from Joan Jett and Blondie, really took the energy level up in their brief set. The whole time, each note and the entire production echoed CBGB’s in it’s prime and the crowd [though small] was instantly taken by it. I’m not saying there isn’t work to be done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a lot more of them in the near future. I know a lot of people, in the wake of Paramore’s success, are a bit done with girl lead rock, but there’s something fresh here that screams to be heard.

Up next was a short lived set from My American Heart’s Jesse Barrera. He’s been apparently been writing a new MAH record as well as a handful of sad songs. In fact, he made a passing comment about only writing sad songs, which felt a bit contrived, but the heart in the music is undeniable. I wouldn’t say it seemed like it had much lasting power, but you could tell it was making girls melt. However, I think we’d do better with more MAH than solo material from another scene celeb with an acoustic guitar.

Second from last was the ever impressing Patent Pending. You hear a lot of band’s being called, “the hardest working,” but I think it’s truly deserved here. From choreographed dancing [in the midst of playing and singing] to straight up energy, this band took the audience by storm. Everyone in the room was lifted to a new level of excitement about the night and all with about ten 4 chord tracks. It brought back the feeling of summer to a below freezing night and really set the bar high for the headliner.

Just Surrender, though putting a great sounding show, could not hold a candle to what Patent Pending was able to achieve. They blazed through songs of love, loss, and teen angst, but the effort to bring the crowd in seemed a bit lacking. Each member seemed to be deep in their own world and the crowd didn’t really take heed to the music too quickly. However, I’ve never heard them sound as tight as they did this night. This was my fourth J.S. show and wow, they’ve stepped it up.

With a little work, this same tour could go out next year and play in venues twice this size. Every band brimmed with passion and energy just awaiting the proper amount of attention. Here’s hoping they get it.

*Written By: James Shotwell*

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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