RacecaR RacecaR & Sparks Fire

Here’s the problem with some local shows: you get some bands together and they all advertise the show. The show starts at 7:00 and that’s when all the people show up. Then they leave after the band they came to see plays. So the last band – arguably the biggest of those playing the show – plays for their wives and parents. This is especially bad if the headliner has traveled far at all.

I don’t know if it’s the same thing where you’re at, but to me that says our local scene isn’t very healthy. It means people are going to support their friends (a good thing, always), but don’t care enough for the rest of the music to stick around. I know you only paid $5, but when I was in college and didn’t have a lot of money, I’d want to be sure I got my money’s worth and see the whole show.

But this isn’t a blog post about the sad situation of my local music scene. Last night I played a show and the headlining band decided to do it a little different. Instead of playing last (like you’d expect), they played second to last.

I can’t blame them.

The opening act was a band called Racecar Racecar. I’m sorry, it’s RacecaR RacecaR. It’s a palindrome. I think I’ve heard of them before, but I’m sure I’ve never actually heard them.

I have to give them props for using … well, props. All four guys started the show wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles masks. They didn’t last the whole set. I’d imagine it’s hard to sing or really rock out on the drums and worry about your face falling off. I think little things like that to unify the band visually go a long way. Even if you sound like a high school garage band, you at least have put a little thought into some little gimmick you (and your fans) and build on.

Left to right: Either Jett Fesler or Joe Dean, Guitar/Vocals; Sheldon Legris, Drums; Brandon Casper, Bass/Vocals; either Joe or Jett (whichever it wasn't before - it's amazingly hard to find actual information about this band) Teenage? Not physically, but still so in other ways I think. Mutant? Probably not. Ninja? Doubtful. Turtles? No.

Left to right: Either Jett Fesler or Joe Dean, Guitar/Vocals; Sheldon Legris, Drums; Brandon Casper, Bass/Vocals; either Joe or Jett (whichever it wasn’t before – it’s amazingly hard to find actual information about this band). Teenage? Not physically, but still so in other ways I think. Mutant? Probably not. Ninja? Doubtful. Turtles? No.

Musically, I think they were sound. I mean, they’ve been around since at least 2009 (I tried to find out, but I’m not really sure) and so they’ve been playing together for a while. I was not in love with the singer. They are very much “pop punk rock,” a genre not generally known for their amazing vocalists. And they fit that mold. They are something I would have expected to hear 10-15 years ago. Much teenage angst. To be fair, I couldn’t actually understand what they were singing about, so considering their musical skills, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on their lyrics & vocals. That’s actually a common problem I’ve had at Mojos; I can hear the vocals, but I can’t understand them. Which makes me wonder if anyone else can. Do they want to? I do.

They did cover Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know.” And I think I liked their version more than the original. Although I don’t really like the original, so that might not be a hard feat. They tried to do something interesting with it, and while it wasn’t really my cup of tea it wasn’t just a boring, straightforward pop punk cover. Actually, it was something I’d expect to hear on one of those Pop Goes Punk cover albums.

All of that taken together, they’re better than a lot of other bands I’ve heard. And you can hear their set, too, courtesy of Mojo’s. Here’s the first half and here’s the second.

From left to right: Alex, guitars & back up vocals; Jer, drums; Candy, vocals; David, bass & back up vocals.

From left to right: Alex, guitars & back up vocals; Jer, drums; Candy, vocals; David, bass & back up vocals.

Sparks Fire is kind of an enigma to me. On their Facebook page they say their influences are “Pat Benatar, Green Day, Coheed and Cambria, Anberlin, No Doubt, Rise Against, Weezer, Paramore, Linkin Park, Gotye.” I’m surprised they didn’t list Evanescence. That’s the closest comparison I could draw. While Sparks Fire has a healthy dose of pop punk, they’re also more alt. hard rock than RacecaR RacecaR. And I don’t really hear any Pat Benatar, No Doubt or Weezer in their stuff.

Their front lady isn’t very tall, but she has a lot of attitude. At least on stage. I didn’t really talk to her off stage. Their guitarist and drummer are really good. Their drummer is so good, I think he’s actually too good for the rest of the band. He should either tone it down a bit or be in a prog band. Oh, and they have a bassist, too. Unfortunately for him, I think he suffers from the same thing a lot of bassists suffer from. At least he didn’t stick out for a bad reason.

You can listen to their entire set here and here. I think the highlights are their opener, the song they played between about 15 minutes in. The last song is also alright. All in all there were good parts but I wasn’t impressed by the overall performance.

In case you care, The Beam Me Up Ska-T’s set can be viewed here and here.

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