By Avinash Mittur, November 8th 2012, Whisky A Go Go, Hollywood CA: For decades the bay area has been world-renowned for its contributions to music. From the psychedelic rock of the ‘60s to the ‘80s thrash movement to the amazing traditional and black metal being put out now, the bay area has consistently offered quality rock and roll music to the world. After attending the Whisky-a-Go-Go show last Thursday night, now I can add heavy rock to the list of great styles of music that the bay area has cranked out. Though it was much too brief, I was able to witness an hour of solid hard rock courtesy of the Revivalution Tour.
The Revivalution tour package began with Zed, a hard rock quartet from San Jose. Having spent about 5 years living in San Jose, I bore witness to a vibrant and active community of young punk, metalcore and deathcore acts; seeing an old-school rock band hailing from that same city was a trip to say the least. Greg Lopez’s wah-infused soloing was a treat to listen to, while Pete Sattari’s phlegm filled wail proved to be the highlight of the set for me. I also enjoyed their grimy and heavier take on Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Part 1”- it fit surprisingly well into the set even though the original bore little resemblance to Zed’s sound. Zed’s set was enjoyable, and a good primer for what was to come from the successive act.
Next was SpiralArms: the group has been playing the occasional show in the bay, and now I finally got the chance to catch the group here in Hollywood. I was expecting a dose of classic hard rock, but I was completely unprepared for just how heavy SpiralArms would be. Even the ZZ Top-like stomp of “Later On” from 2010’s Highest Society had a muscular punch that went straight for the gut. A little B-3 organ never hurt a set that I’ve seen, and SpiralArms proved to be no exception. As guitarist Craig Locicero had told me in our interview earlier, Brad Barth’s B-3 keys provided a really earthy element to the songs- it added just a touch of grit and soul to the heaviness at hand. Even after checking out songs from Highest Society, I really didn’t expect SpiralArms’ set to be so unrelentingly heavy. “Bottom Rung” from that album was the closest thing to a break in the set, and even that song still rocked pretty hard.
My favorite track of the set had to have been a new song though, “Dropping Like Flies.” Craig and vocalist Tim Narducci were the centerpieces of the performance, with Tim even putting Craig into a friendly headlock during the track. Craig gave just as much energy and vigor into his performance as he did the last time I saw him with Forbidden, though he opted to lay off the breakneck headbanging as one might expect. “Dropping Like Flies” was also anchored by the immense drumming of Ron Redeen, whose hard-hitting style reminded me of Clutch’s Jean-Paul Gaster. The new songs were noticeably heavier than the ones from Highest Society– if these tracks were any indication of where SpiralArms are headed with their next album, Freedom, we have a hell of a record to look forward to. Sadly, SpiralArms’ set ended much too soon. No more than 25 or 30 minutes had passed by before Tim gave the Whisky a “thank you, good night.” This was a fantastic set that was truly much too short.
Unfortunately, my night had to come to an end upon the conclusion of SpiralArms’ set. Sadly, school is still a priority for this metalhead and staying out late to see a show the night before a Differential Equations midterm just isn’t the best use of my time. That being said, I don’t regret catching what I did get to see at all and I know I’ll be first in line for a ticket the next time SpiralArms rolls through Los Angeles. For only ten dollars, patrons of the Whisky were treated to at least an hour of top-class heavy music, if not more assuming that the final act of the night, Swerver, did their job well. I would have liked to have heard much longer sets from the touring acts on this Revivalution date, but what I did hear was of a high standard and I know that attendees of this tour will find something to enjoy whether they’re into classic rock, old-school heavy metal or something in between.
Related: SpiralArms video interview