UR Concerts and WRUR 88.5 FM presented a free concert featuring student bands Dictators and Fools, Who is Johnny Flavorjeans, Building on Fire, DeltaForce23, and Garrison on Friday, Nov. 9.

While the show was free, it was sparsely attended at first, but was later packed once Johnny Flavorjeans took the stage. After this band, the numbers ebbed to a handful of devoted listeners. The attendance, towards the end, was largely due to the quality and a lack of variety in the bands.

Dictators and Fools

The first band to take the stage Friday was Dictators and Fools. For an opening act, the band was surprisingly energetic. Doing Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix covers, Dictators and Fools pulled off some difficult guitar riffs.

While the singer was decent, he wasn’t great. The lead guitarist was the driving force throughout the songs, and captured the growing audience’s attention. One problem that the band faced involved their drummer.

All throughout the set, the drummer attempted to play a solo, drowning out the vocals and guitars. If he played more softly and knew his role in the band, then Dictators and Fools would be vastly improved, and more of a pleasure to listen to.

Vocals: 6 Drums: 2 Guitar: 8 Stage Presence: 6

Overall: 7

Johnny Flavor Jeans

While the band started slowly due to the absence of the lead singer until the second song, Johnny Flavorjeans was clearly the most entertaining band of the night.

With turntables, drums, guitars, a synthesizer, a trumpet and two rappers, this is clearly an unusual band. The synthesizer helped give a driving rhythm to the set and added variety to the songs.

During the third song, the lead guitarist attempted a solo, but failed to capture any notice ? it was largely confused and chaotic. Late in the set, the two vocalists jumped offstage and brought the show closer to the audience through audience interaction and break-dancing. With its unusual musical feeling and captivating audience participation, Johnny Flavorjeans packed the house.

Vocals: 7 Drums: 8 Guitar: 4 Stage Presence: 9

Overall: 9

Building on Fire

If Johnny Flavorjeans brought people into the May Room, then Building on Fire most certainly cleared the room. Building on Fire is a great band ? if you enjoy headaches.

The vocals were completely drowned out, and ? from the bits that could be heard ? the audience was lucky not to hear them. The constant screaming of the singer was so horrific that he stopped between songs to catch his breath, while he plugged CDs and show dates.

Sure, they could play quickly, but without any discernable melody or rhythm, Building on Fire is just a sub-par garage band. Basically, the only positive attribute of the band was its short set.

DeltaForce23

Another punk band took the stage shortly after Building on Fire, diminishing the audience to a select group of skaters. Again, guitar and drums dominated here, but, unlike the last band, there was some semblance of a rhythm and a melody here. The vocals were at least semi-coherent here, and the singer actually sounded decent, which would have been nice to hear, had the overwhelming guitar and drums not obscured them. The lead singer did have a bit of charisma, however, which gave the band a bit of style. While it was a vast improvement compared to Building on Fire, DeltaForce23 was nothing special.

Vocals: 4 Drums: 4 Guitar: 4 Stage Presence: 6 Overall: 4

Garrison

Finishing up the night, the third punk band of the night began their set. Despite being the headline band, Garrison was merely a mediocre band. While one could actually hear the vocals, the singing was merely average, as it mostly consisted of screaming. The guitar and drum playing were decent, although they were played very rapidly. Fortunately, this band did have a bit of energy, as they joked with the audience. Nothing, however, really separated Garrison from the rest of the bands, ending the concert on a bland note.

Vocals: 5 Drums: 4 Guitar: 4 Stage Presence: 6Overall: 5

The main problem with this concert was that it peaked too early. Dictators and Fools played a great show for an opening band, and Who is Johnny Flavor Jeans captivated the audience with its audience interaction and unique style. The last three bands, however, were all punk bands of varying talent, offering little variety for the diehard concertgoers. If Johnny Flavor Jeans had capped the night, and if Dictators and Fools had broken up the three-punk-bands-in-a-row streak, then this would have been a more entertaining concert.



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