BY DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine
I was very excited to shoot this show as the bass player for Badmotorfinger, Matt Manning, is also my guitar instructor. Four exceptional acts and all of that for ten bucks. I haven’t gotten so much for my $10.00 since my last drunken visit to a Taco Bell at 1 a.m. The Waiting Room Lounge could have easily gotten away with double that price, maybe even triple.
First band up was Rose Garden Funeral, or as they are affectionately known, RGF. I must admit to not having seen this band before, but my photog buddy Tawnya, who was also at this show, has been buddies with members of the band since their high school days and she promised me I would not be disappointed. Well, not only was I not disappointed, I was down-right impressed. The band is made up of Mark Mefford on drums, Barry Engle, Guitar, Scott Orsi on Bass and Jzun controls the microphone. Jzun moves about the stage as if he built it. For the length of their eight-song set, he completely owned it. Some of their best work came in the form of “You’re Not It” and “Spanish Orange”, but their best moment was when they decided, since it was a “tribute” show, to pay reverence to the Stooges (NO!!, not those Stooges) and cover “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. Possibly the song of the night. This band reminds me of Them Evils. A band I really like, who can maintain a classic rock feel, but put a modern spin on their music. A great job by a great band. I cannot think of a better opener. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a band have so much fun on stage.
Rose Garden Funeral’s Set List:
THE ANSWER – SUCK FUMES – FIRST TIME HELL – SECOND CITY – BELLY CHAIN – YOU’RE NOT IT – SPANISH ORANGE – I WANNA BE YOUR DOG
Dan Medeiros (vocals), Spencer Ross (Guitar), Derek Austin (Bass) and Drake Lindsey (Drums) collectively make up the Deftones tribute band The Defnotes. Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, this band boasts a large following and that following was in full force at the Waiting Room. In typical Chino Moreno fashion, Dan comes out showcasing a flannel shirt and blue and black striped knee-high socks with a pair of Converse All-Stars. Their love for the Deftones is obvious as they take great care in ensuring they are paying tribute to the band and not simply just covering their songs. The lighting, the sound and the showmanship were all top-notch. The crowd was totally engaged from “Diamond Eyes” to “My Own Summer” as well the ten songs in between. A perfect set list, for a perfect tribute band. The last time I saw a band have this much fun on stage, was earlier in the evening when RGF was on.
The Defnotes’ Set List:
DIAMOND EYES – YOU’VE SEEN THE BUTCHER – ROCKET SKATES – KNIFE PARTY – DIGITAL BATH – CHANGE – MINERVIA – HOLE IN THE EARTH – SEX TAPE – BEAUTY SCHOOL – SWERVE CITY – MY OWN SUMMER
Mike Kirk is the lead vocalist of Badmotorfinger. He is a professional’s, professional. He studied vocal performance and music technology at UNO and can call upon techniques, like belting. This helps allow him to become Chris Cornell. If you close your eyes and just listen, I don’t honestly think you’d be able to tell the two apart. Maybe a professional like Mike Kirk could, but I certainly can’t. As awesome as Mike is as a vocalist, Chris Schrom is his guitar equal. Chris eats frets for breakfast, he is a real deal guitar player whose diversity and style is indescribable. I would say he is a little of everything, but the truth is, he is a lot of everything. He and his Les Paul create passion and energy that can be felt through-out an entire venue. Every band must have a timekeeper and for Badmotorfinger it’s Lowell Owen. He is a precise drummer who appears to have a built-in clocking mechanism. When the band needs a little something to help them with the beat or rhythm, they look to Lowell and he fills their prescription.(see what I did there?) On bass is Matt Manning, as I mentioned earlier Matt is my guitar instructor and for the past 2 years, he has made learning the guitar fun. Some of you may be familiar with his other band, Banjo Loco. This band is a duo of banjo players, who play all the classic banjo songs, but also throw in songs like Metallica’s, “One”. Matt may be the only person on the planet who not only plays a double-neck banjo, but also built one. (see link). Double-neck Banjo . For tonight however Matt stuck with bass playing. If I’m not mistaken this may have been his first gig with this band and Matt sure did have a great time. He enjoys being in front of people and at times can be a bit of showman. As for the show itself, yep they played all the hits. They even had fella come out and do some spoon playing during “Spoonman”. I personally am a sucker for “Fell on Black Days” and Badmotorfinger did not let me down, Spot on tribute. When the first notes of “Black Hole Sun” were struck the crowd couldn’t contain themselves as they sang along as loud as they possibly could. When they were done with their 10-song set-list, people were begging for one more, but alas, there was no more to be had. If you’re a fan of Soundgarden or any of band of that genre, catch Badmotorfinger as often as you can.
Badmotorfinger’s Set List:
OUTSHINED – SPOONMAN – FELL ON BLACK DAYS – BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE – WORLD – HUNGER STRIKE – RUSTY CAGE – BLACK HOLE SUN – SLAVES AND BULLDOZERS – JESUS CHRIST POSE
To close out this amazing show was Alice Unchained. They claim to be the ultimate Alice in Chains tribute band, and I’m not here to argue that. They have the look the style and most importantly the sound. After a short wait, the house lights dimmed, and the room erupted. Cheers, screams and applause greeting the band as they came out. “Them Bones” was their first offering and it set a blistering tone that never let up the entire show. Jay Corigliano on drums, Mike Ruby on guitar, Rich Cantrell on Bass and Matt Nyberg on vocals are Alice in Chains personified. Alice Unchained fed the hungry crowd a perfect mix of old and new. Each member did their best to not only sound like the band, but to look like the band. The stage show was a tribute in itself and the members offered everything from a perm to sunglasses. During “Again”, the bull horn was brought out and everyone went ballistic. The band just tore through the hits. Songs like “Dam That River”, which is off “Dirt”. “Dirt” is an album that is on nearly everyone’s short list of must have LP’s. “No Excuses”, “Rooster” and “Bleed the Freak” were all featured. The show closed with “Man in the Box”, which of course prompted the house into a loud sing-along. If you’re thinking of starting a tribute band this is the band to contact for advice as they do it right. They make sure you get the entire package of the tribute and that your ears and eyes make you think you’re seeing the real band.
Alice Unchained’s Set List:
THEM BONES – DAM THAT RIVER – RAIN WHERE I DIE – WE DIE YOUNG – JUNKHEAD – DIRT – NO EXCUSES – AGAIN – NUTSHELL – IT AINT’ LIKE THAT – DOWN IN A HOLE – ROOSTER – WOULD – BLEED THE FREAK – CHECK MY BRAIN – MAN IN THE BOX