PHEW! This sold out show at the Ogden had a line longer than I’d seen for sometime, although I’m not sure just how long because I couldn’t actually see the end and didn’t have the patience to follow the trail endlessly. Instead I took my adventurous self to the Lounge on Colfax for a seat and the bar and a drink before I braved the waiting game with the kids and to meet Chris Cabatbat, our fabulous Kaffeine Buzz photo guy.
Once I arrived at the venue there was the guest list process and having to inform such photographer that despite my persistence the photo pass had not surfaced. You see the pesky politics had reined their head again, and although we weren’t there to shoot headliner Breaking Benjamin we needed their label’s permission to have a “real” camera inside the show (we were working with Virgin, Exies label). Luckily Chris had some fancy European camera that looked like it came straight out of the 1950’s and wouldn’t be detected. I felt like James Bond making sure my small, pen shaped incendiary devices were as well concealed as his secret picture taking tool.
When we finally made it in I became completely enamored by the crowd. It must have ranged in age from 6 to probably 65. As Breaking Benjamin started, I noticed a 10 year old, visibly tired and holding onto the rail, attempting to rock. Classic. From the “forbidden spot” by the Ogden bar (according to Greg the bouncer and my new buddy the security cop), I was in the perfect spot to divide my time between dissecting the music and the crowd while Kimme the bartender took care of me. I’m not sure which was more entertaining.
As far as the actual reason I was there, the music, I was truly disappointed that I missed the majority of The Exies show (damn line!). From a musical perspective they are probably the one band that had anything new to offer and I truly wanted to see them live. They were a bit difficult to corral after the show with a full schedule of signing autographs and cavorting with their fans. Eventually though, they were good sports as they posed for us like the hams they are……
The show was extremely crowded with Theory of a Deadman (TOAD) fans and for good reason, as they were incredibly tight. They made a concerted effort but failed to really incite the crowd with anything new to offer musically, other than the formulated radio crap that I try so hard to avoid. I did want to give them a chance since I hadn’t seen them before, so I solicited opinions from people I met at the show. One longtime TOAD fan compared them to Tesla. TESLA???!!! ‘Nuff said.
As far as Breaking Benjamin goes, I didn’t expect to be amazed and I wasn’t, but I was more impressed than I thought I would be. The sound was phenomenal (who would expect anything else from the Ogden?), they were tight and Ben Burnley’s vocals ranged from melodic to incredible screams. Their music is easy to listen to and I have to say that I joined the crowd in rocking out to the tunes. As Kimmie passed me another shot, Breaking Benjamin broke out with their new single “Sooner or Later,” and the crowd reciprocated with some hands-in-the-air, devil’s horns action. Maybe it’s just me, but I typically associate devil’s horns with bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath and the like whose lyrical content is a bit darker in nature.
In the long run this band may end up being great given that they work with people like Billy Corgan who push them to limits, but they do have some work to do to distinguish themselves from everyone else both lyrically and musically.
Photography, Chris Cabatbat