By Lisa Burke
February 24th 2017, Troubadour, West Hollywood CA: Variety is the spice of life and when it seems that too many venue doors are closing in our faces as of late, it is refreshing to see some smaller shows happening at larger venues at least. On Friday February 24th 2017, I visited the Troubadour to attend a show with headliner Legal Tender, with support by The Deaf Pilots, Fallen Suns, and Gutteral Riot. The Troubadour is a great space and stage, and in my opinion it needs more heavy metal shows. This night was quite the odd line up mix actually, but Fallen Suns and Legal Tender were both compatible as well as capable.
I caught the tail end of Gutteral Riot which was basically your average punk band, but I was not really a fan of the sound in general for this set. There really is no more story to tell there, so moving on to a great new band Fallen Suns, who out of the ashes of Ascendancy created a new genre of metal that proved wildly successful. The vocals have that Chris Cornell vibe but in a much heavier metal way at times, and the guitar ranges from doom to thrash to classic heavy metal. It resonates so powerfully with the listener as its own genre that seems to spawn from the nineties but still carry a modern torch. To have the grunge era mean something to a modern audience is not an easy feat to accomplish, but Fallen Suns did so with flying colors. The harmonies between the lead vocals and the guitarist’s backing vocals were a success as were the creative guitar solos. Not only is the lead singer well trained in voice, but his presence is extremely professional, inviting, and entertaining as well. The bass player happened to be sporting a Legal Tender shirt which is always nice to see bands supporting each other instead of fighting with each other. This is definitely a quartet full of musicians dedicated to their craft, and it pays off well. They played a cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Zero’ which was one of their heavier songs and they made it the perfect amount of metal to modernize it as their own style. It may even have been the most interesting part of the whole set although they had some great original material too. I am excited by the direction they have taken from their previous band Ascendancy which was more thrash, to this mix of doom and nineties grunge era alternative. I am excited for their future and you can be sure to catch me at their next show.
Then the odd balls of the night in more ways than one, The Deaf Pilots rallied the stage. Their brand of alternative rock was not at all my cup of tea since it seemed to come from the hippest coffee shop on the Boulevard and I just wanted Lipton straight up from the 7-11. This trio however proved talented in what they do and the music was quality. There was also a moment where the drummer decided to come up to the front of the stage and skip in place for the audience during a jam and that was mind blowing in a confusing sort of way. All in all, they would have been a great addition to another show perhaps opening for today’s Red Hot Chili Peppers etcetera, but this line up was vastly out of their comfort zone, unfortunately.
Moving on to version three that I have been a witness to for Legal Tender, they put on a great set as a trio, except for when Gustavo the singer of Fallen Suns joined them for a hit. Frankie Linda is now not only the mastermind behind the guitars but also the vocals as well. Even with all these tasks at hand he still managed to find time to run around the pit with his guitar during the set. The conclusion here is that he is full of talent and clearly a jack-of-all-trades as well who can accomplish whatever he puts his mind to seemingly effortlessly. Although they are primarily thrash oriented in a similar way to that of Metallica, their special cover was Black Sabbath’s ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and the guitar was better than Zakk Wylde in Zakk Sabbath. They are quite the impressive band even without the talents of their two previous singers. Fallen Suns and Legal Tender certainly brought their A-game to this show and I am happy to have been a witness to the magic at hand.
The stage at Troubadour is great for punk and thrash or any heavy metal for that matter, as it is medium sized and has an old school vibe with two floors for viewing, so you really can’t go wrong. The moral of this heavy metal tale is that sometimes re-inventing the wheel is the right path to follow to get the point driven home the way you want it. Also, never giving up has to come with its rewards.
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