February 1, 2010

A Night Of Metal - The Broke and Down, Born in Winter, Less Than Under

(Reprinted from www.ColoradoMusicBuzz.com)

How many Metal bands does it take to scare away a hippie? As it turns out, three. Granted, I’m no hippie, but spending a Friday night surrounded by Metal-heads sure made me feel like one. On January 8th, I went down to Toad Tavern in Littleton, specifically to see the second band, Born in Winter, because … well, the things I do for love.

The show began with The Broke and Down. Color me surprised, because I actually enjoyed them! To start, the singer had a great voice, reminiscent of Serge Tankian of System of a Down. He held his own as a Metal singer, as well, occasionally dropping his voice to a husky, unintelligible growl. But it worked, and it worked well. In addition to System, the band clearly gathers inspiration from Slipknot, from their coveralls and face-paint to their melodic choruses. They put on a great show, especially considering they were the first band in a line-up of five, all together.

There were a couple of aspects that bothered me, however. In addition to System and Slipknot, there was another band that seemed to provide inspiration to Broke and Down: Limp Bizkit. Yeah, I hate to say it as much as you hate to read it. Some of the songs were very similar to those of the nineties Rap-Metal movement, with scratching records and tag-teamed raps. In 10 years, that style of music will be considered retro and cool with teenagers. But until then, well, it’s not pretty. Rapping aside, The Broke and Down is definitely a band to watch for.

Next up was Born in Winter. I was curious to hear them since they are so well known in the local music scene. Having recently lost a guitarist, they are now a four-piece band. (Why can’t every band be a four-piece, I wonder?) With the change-up, the band’s sound has vastly improved (or so I hear). Each instrument stood out better; each musician’s skills were more evident. At times it was hard to discern the bass line played by Forest, yet she played extremely well and was able to do more without the second guitar to block her sound. The singer, Nicole, was a pleasant surprise. Her stage presence and performance were memorable (especially for the many drooling men around me); her voice was pleasant while still being worthy of Metal.

The third band was Less Than Under. Less than under what, you ask? I still don’t know. They ranked less than under the other two bands, from what I saw. Let me reiterate here: I am not a Metal fan. I prefer banjos over electric guitars, tapping on spoons over banging the drum like you’re trying to kill it. Metal is just not my thing. So, Groovey, I welcome your expertise on this … feel free to interrupt at any time.

Less Than Under seemed to appeal to the crowd, for sure: the mosh pit was kicking like it was 1994. But between songs about “tasting the back of my hand” and the singer’s ability to make every other spoken word unfit to print, I realized I was too old for this music. Not Metal, but this music, in particular, this angry-for-the-sake-of-being-angry, makes-me-want-to-punch-someone music. By the end of the set, my ears were buzzing, my eyelids were twitching, and my brain was ready for bed. I’m sure the following bands – Nemesys and Ransom – were just lovely, but I will never know (thanks a lot, Less Than Under!). As I left with my tail between my legs, I realized that this was a matter best left to the experts.

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