Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Signal Path & BoomBox in Detroit 2.13.11

A Throw-down in the “D”

Words & Photos By Brandon Picard

I’ll start with this thought: I was unaware of the intensity music lovers could bring to the table on a cold wintery night in Detroit.

With this show on my schedule at least a week ahead of time, I had a chance to really sample some of Signal Path's music. With any artist (if I’m a first-timer) I ALWAYS have an open mind. I enjoy seeing bands for the first time. It allows for me to make judgments I never knew I had. Boombox on the other hand I have seen before, and have tended to dislike their shows. Anyhow, this particular evening I decided to take my wonderful girlfriend Katie along for the ride. Being fairly new to electronic music (having really only been to Rothbury), Katie was skeptical to say the least.

Arriving around 9:30 (on a Sunday) the place was fairly desolate, as to be expected. The Magic Stick is basically a pool hall located next to the much larger “Majestic” venue. Having seen some extremely intimate shows at the Magic Stick in the past, I was excited to see what tonight would bring. A DJ… or shall I say a “team” of DJ’s were set up on the side stage dancing behind there already mastered tracks.

Approaching their booth every so often, in somewhat of a “popcorn” fashion, the DJ’s passed the controls to one another handing their headphones of as they finished (a clear sign to me who was on the table). They rocked some steady club jams as a modest crowd began to fill the room. I made my way around the venue and was happy to see some extracurricular activities going on. A couple booths located near the bar were selling some Detroit made products; this made me happy. Along the back wall of the venue stage center, an artist who I recognized from many other shows, splattered his mural with some aggressive strokes to an unidentifiable painting. On the main stage we could see Signal Path getting prepped for their segment of the evening, so we moseyed on over to get a better view. By now the place was filling up nicely and Signal Path was set to go.

Coming in hard right off the bat, I could see people in the crowd eagerly approaching the stage. With the three members of the band each adding their own twist on the track, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much instrumentation. A steady lead guitar with a bass and drum-kit, on top of some heady electronic jams, Signal Path was clearly on a well-defined course. For me, while attending an unfamiliar show, the first track of a set is extremely important. It sets the tone for the remainder of their slot. Initially, Signal Path reminded me a lot STS9, in the tangy sounds of the electronic keys. As the set continued, my opinion swayed. Signal Path was their own creature, creating sounds of individuality. As the first track came to somewhat of an end, I took a glance behind me to see the crowd of head boppers almost completely filling the decent size floor. People were pumped. The smiles on the faces around me were a distinct sign of the rave I had attended.

The throw-down ensued with intentionally un-ending jigs. I personally really enjoyed the small amounts of lead guitar that were added to the mix. For me, not being much of an electronic fan, I was happy to see the different variations.

By now, the place full. I was surprised to see how young the crowd was. Looking around I noticed seventy five percent of the hands were slashed with an “X”. But that didn’t matter, the party rolled on.

I never once lost interest in what was taking place on stage. Occasionally at shows I find myself spacing out when something that I’m not digging hits the speakers. This was not the case with Signal Path. The upbeat technicalities grabbed my attention from the get, and never let go. I was pleasantly surprised at the mix Signal Path brought on this particular Sunday.

As Signal Path finished up, people were pumped with the enthusiastic set. I was approached by a rather interesting fellow just as the music ended. He was extremely excited about what he saw, and as if I wasn’t there he asked me, “Did you see that BROOOOOW?” I responded with a laughable “No, What happened? I had my eyes closed.” With that, dude was gone and I had a nice laugh.

Boombox was next and crowd was filled with fluffy Kango hat wannabes. The generic sound of Boombox drives me crazy. However, people seem to love it. I came to a conclusion on this particular evening. When Boombox dropped into their first track, I noticed that the volume had been cranked to an inconceivable level. The loudness of the music instantly intensifies the entire situation and people lose control. I found myself asking... why didn’t Signal Path have the volume cranked? Would people have been going this nuts? I didn’t get an answer.

Having seen Boombox before I knew what I was in for; an infinitely long song that changes ever so slightly throughout. I could tell my girlfriend was digging it as she moved to the beat smiling from ear to ear. Not wanting to ruin her first experience, I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut and let her make her own conclusions. She seemed to be enjoying it. For me, it was just another simplistic set, with a pouting vocalist not helping the situation. But like I said before, people love Boombox. After about an hour of what I thought was the song they had started the set with, I had had enough. In leaving, I asked Katie what she thought. She responded with this… “Just when you think the beat was done dropping, it dropped again. I was cross-eyed.” I laughed my ass off and decided this was an integral part of my review.

For me, Boombox doesn’t do it. For others, it clearly does. I was really excited to see Detroit folks turnout like they did and really represent. I’m happy to be from Detroit.




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