First off, I'd like to thank Darren at Hopeless for setting me up at the last minute, and also for the free snacks and drinks upstairs in the lounge! I do love free shit! At the same time I would like to apologize for missing the opening act, Tsunami Bomb. I really wanted to see the T-Bombs but unforgivable forces kept me from arriving as early as I usually like to. That ought to teach me to depend on friends to pick me up and drive. Anyhow, I caught the last few songs of Crashcart. The audience's reaction (or lack thereof) to their final song led me to believe that I didn't miss much. Oh well, maybe next time I can judge for myself.
Next up was Hopeless Records' newest band, Thrice. I read an interesting article on this band, in one of the many local publications here in LA, that boasted them as "melodic hardcore" so that immediately got my attention and enthusiasm. As the band opened their set, I was swept away by the talent behind their musicianship and songwriting ability. However, I was rather disappointed by the lead vocalist. His style reminded me of AFI's singer a bit. When he sang their more melodic songs he sounded great, but then he would begin to scream the lyrics and that got old really quick for me. Don't get me wrong, this band is really good and a must-see if you get a chance! Their true talent lies within their 3-part backing vocals that are precise and on key and that was really an added bonus. Thrice's lead/rhythm guitarist really smoked and this also added more emotion and energy to their songs! His playing is definitely worth seeing live.
Samiam came up next, and much to my regrettable surprise, James Brogan (one of the band's original guitarists) was nowhere to be found. Apparently, after ten-plus years with Samiam, James decided to take a much-needed rest from touring. You will be sorely missed, James. Come back soon, like, before the next recording session? Anyway, Samiam ripped into their set playing favorites off all their releases on New Red Archives, Atlantic, and Ignition Records as well as songs from their new soon-to-be classic debut release on Hopeless titled "Astray." Sergie really held his own, making up for James's absence like a pro. Also, with Jason Beebout's mesmerizing voice, after the first few songs, you could hear James' spirit coming through Sergie's playing. After this tour, Samiam will replace James with their current bassist, Sean Kinnley, and bring in a new bass player to continue on with their dual-guitar style brand of melodic-punk rock. Keep it up, boys! It never fails! Every brilliant band loses a key member and it's all down hill from there. I beg you Sam, please prove this theory wrong!