Mar 5, 2012

Chevelle - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

CHEVELLE / JANUS / MIDDLE CLASS RUT

March 5, 2012

Baltimore, MD



If you are not familiar with all of the bands listed on this billing then you clearly wouldn't understand WHY this billing was 100% perfect.

Chevelle hand picked openers for this tour which fit the same genre and each band complimented what Chevelle does. Each band had their own vibe & sound yet each band had the same formula for their music which was all rhythm, limited breaks & NO solo's!

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7:30 PM hit & Chicago based Janus took the stage for a short set that was a mix of pop, hard rock & just a touch of metal.

In ancient Roman mythology Janus is the God of beginnings and transitions, gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past and it's interesting that the band used that name because their music fits that description pretty well.

The bands guitarist looked the part of a modern rock/emo musician while their bassist was bald & came off a bit more grunge-styled.

Musically Janus has a soft side that's layered with samples, heavy guitar tones & what the band sadly suffered from was opening band syndrome.

When I saw "opening band syndrome" what I mean is the sound was limited which made the vocals muffled in parts, the stage space was limited which hindered their movement & the crowd was clearly there for Chevelle so they waited patiently for the openers to finish.

Janus played a good set & the band gave a shout out to Maryland because they are originally from Cecil County, Maryland. For those who are not familiar with that area, it's a rather....almost backwards area when you consider this is 2012 and I say that because the area used to be the place where the KKK was based out of in the state of Maryland and in that general area you have a very narrow minded population that's part redneck, part hillbilly & they don't take kindly to those who are different.

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Janus had nothing in common with most references to Cecil County, Maryland which is probably why the band relocated to Chicago! The band did a good job of warming up the crowd & you might not know it BUT they have 3 full length records out...they've been around a while & this tour is definitely helping them get the word out!

Next up was Middle Class Rut.

Middle Class Rut are 2 guys...vocalist/guitarist Zack Lopez and vocalist/drummer Sean Stockham. They formed in 2006 & this California based duo impressed the hell out of me with their dark, moody, at times atmospheric set that mixed The White Stripes with Janes Addiction quite well!

Zack's guitar pedal board was massive & the band definitely had some samples & loops playing under their music to fill out the sound a bit & I'll tell ya, this was the set that made me stop, look & pay attention and it's simply because Middle Class Rut were something different that I didn't expect on this bill!

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The duo played music that was all rhythm based and they definitely are in the same genre as Chevelle in that there's no solos, the rhythm is everything & the songwriting was interestingly amazing!

I could have left after Middle Class Ruts set and it's simply because I felt fulfilled on a musical level after seeing MC Ruts set...they were great!

The big stage was cleared & the large Chevelle backdrop was displayed prominantly...it was a large cloth backdrop that had blacklight images on it and depending upon how the lights or black lights were used you saw different colors, different visuals & on a design level the backdrop was sheer perfection!

Chevelle brought a large rock show to a mid sized club with a giant set o' lights that stood infront of the backdrop & the lights reminded me of a highschool football game at times because the lights were intense, they moved, they did random tricks & they made some songs BIG rock while others were trippy & spacey!

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Chevelle are back to being a 3 piece once more...the last time I saw them they had a 2nd guitarist onstage BUT on this tour it's just one guitar now & what I'll say about Chevelle is simply this:

I saw Chevelle on their very first tour, they played the 2nd stage at Ozzfest & the band they were back then is STILL the same band they are now!

They have the grunge attitude, the anti-rock stage presence & they basically get up there, do what they do & then they leave...no frills other than the backdrop & lights!

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If you hit up the merch booth you knew that the band offered a VIP deal which was: For $100 you could watch Chevelle's set from the side of the stage & then you got to meet the band immediately after the show. The VIP packages for this night were only sold at the merch booth & they sold out quite fast!

What can I say about this show other than all 3 bands complimented each other well & the show was very memorable because all 3 bands played solid sets!