Bass Drum of Death / Left Arm / Roundheels / The Volcanoes @ the Firebird, St. Louis

Pictures and words by Duane Clawson
As I was reviewing the photographs from this show, I was reminded of a few things:  a. the lighting at the Firebird can be a photographer’s nightmare. b. the four bands listed above were moving too fast for me and my camera. c. I need some Earlove hearing protection for my ears.  The four bands on last night’s bill at the Firebird produced enough sonic energy to run a small city in Iowa.  Up first was Volcanoes, who were true to their name; they could go from boiling to an eruption at given time.  This St. Louis duo, a collaboration between John Ryan and Eric Peters, saw both Peters and Ryan switch between bass, synthesizers, and drums.    Volcanoes' Facebook page gives the best description of the band’s sound as “a blend of heavy electronic-dance and rhythmic drum n' bass which people don't know whether to mosh or dance to”.  Volcanoes did an excellent job of laying the sonic foundation for the evening.   For more on this band visit their page on Facebook.

The second band in this sonic arsenal was Roundheels, who has graced our publication for a second time.  I do have to brag on this band for just a second.  In conversing with the members of the band, I found out they have only been together for a year.  As you listen to the band, one would suspect they had been together for a considerably longer time.  I first saw and reviewed Roundheels in June of this year and I can tell you in the two months since I last saw them, there has been a vast improvement in their overall production.  Everything from the band’s stage presence to Brendan’s vocals has been worked on and the bands’ hard work is noticed and appreciated.   The band also did inform me some new material was in the works.  Roundheels have also been kicking around some different ideas for a possible new cover song to work into their set.  On a bittersweet sort of note, this was Brian Marek’s last night playing keyboard with the band.  Brian did go out with a bang by smashing his keyboard against the Firebird stage as the band wound down their cover of “Tainted Love”.   As always, you can find more on Roundheels at their website.

There were just a few minutes for my ears to recover before Left Arm took the stage.  Left Arm is a garage, punk, and rock trio out of St. Louis.  Unbeknownst to me, this band has been at it for awhile.  In my research, I discovered Left Arm has been at it, in one form or another, for nine years.  Left Arm brings it as no other local band can.  A raw, thick guitar played adeptly by Brad Evetts, provides the driving rhythms that are followed closely by Jim Stotts on bass and Jason Potter on drums.  Left Arm has an album floating around out there, Dissatisoul, on the TIRC label.  After hearing the album and comparing it to the band’s live show, I can tell you as raw as the album may sound, the band’s live performance takes any remaining polish that was on their sound to a grinding wheel.   To hear Left Arm, please visit their record label's website.

My unsuspecting ears were hoping for a possible break in the action.  Guess what?  Not gonna happen tonight.  The headliner for the evening, Bass Drum of Death, took the stage to perform for a modest but appreciative Monday night Firebird crowd.  BDoD’s music is a head on collision of the Ramones smashing into the White Stripes.   BDoD is a true rock and roll entity:  blue jeans, t-shirts, high-top tennis shoes, heads down, and hair whipping.  Tonight there was a second guitarist on stage, adding to the bands’ already full sound.   John Barrett (guitar) and Colin Sneed (drums) make up this band, and as for the extra guitar player, it was unclear whether he is a new member or was just a guest musician.  The band had very little interaction with the audience while on stage.  It would seem as the band subscribes to the old adage “we came to play”.  BDoD does have some excellent, free music on the net.  One session that is top notch is their Daytrotter session and, like magic, here is the link to said session.

Ladies and gents, I have rambled on entirely too long.  It would be my guess that the boss will trim great amounts of fat from this one.  I would like to thank Eric Moore of Roundheels for sneaking me in the back door and the Firebird for another great night of music.  Pictures of the show are below:

Left Arm
Bass Drum of Death

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Bass Drum of Death / Left Arm / Roundheels / The Volcanoes @ the Firebird, St. Louis Bass Drum of Death / Left Arm / Roundheels / The Volcanoes @ the Firebird, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 29, 2011 Rating: 5
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