Saturday, September 18, 2010

i know the breakdown

tell me again, i'm wide awake now baby...

-Tantric, 9-8-10 @ Bar Lex, Lexington. Kentucky-

To preface this blog, i must admit that i do not write as a completely unbiased, objective journalist. But then again, this is just a blog, so who says that I have to follow all those silly rules of "ethical" journalism anyway? Well, I guess I do...because here I am, admitting that I did not view the show in the most professional of manners. But that is actually the best part of the entire thing--more than just getting to see an awesome show that i can't wait to tell you about, I got to experience the entire thing just like i was part of the band (well technically part of the crew, but whatever, close enough). So, because of this compromising of my journalistic integrity, i can write this little review however i want, and say screw you to sounding all professional and such, and i don't even have to capitalize anything! so here goes:

When i told most of my friends i was going to see Tantric, they gave me a look that clearly said, "I don't know who in the world you are talking about, but you look really excited, so that's awesome!" I do admit that not all of them have the amazing taste in music that an aficionado like myself has, but still, i was a little surprised. And you, you reading this, unless you also are awesome or listened to rock radio at all between now and  2001, maybe you're confused too. Let me help ya out.      

Tantric is that band that you have heard on the radio who sing that song that gets stuck in your head that you memorize every word to, but you don't realize it until the next time you hear it. So what's that song for Tantric? Sing along with me now-

"I know the breakdown
Everything is gonna shake now, someday
I know the breakdown
Tell me again am I awake now, baby
You can find the reason that
No one else is living this way
Living this way" 
Or just watch the video. They can probably sing it better than my inner mind voice anyway. 


Remember it now? I thought so. Anyway, back to the exciting, objectivity-clouding part, aka the good stuff. My friend had worked for Tantric earlier in the year, and he decided to come visit at the show in Lexington, which was really convenient for me because i live here. So let me break it down for you, or actually for myself, because i honestly just like telling the story! Friend who might as well be "with the band" + kelli who for that night was with the friend = kelli is with the band. This concept isn't so new to me, since i have basically only dated boys in a band since i was a freshman in high school (that sounds bad, it's really just two boys, who were/are in the same band, which probably doesn't make it any better, but whatever). I always love every second of being backstage before the show, side stage or front row for the show, or on stage afterward when they make me carry equipment.

But this, this was different. This was no little local band (chasing layne, you know i love ya still). This was a platinum album-selling, world-touring, certifiable rockstar national act--who have a tour bus! So aside from watching them play, because i honestly really do like their music, i had one other dream for the night: hanging out with the band on the bus.

And my dream came true! Almost as soon as i got there, friend and i climbed up the steep steps of the bus and i shut the surprisingly heavy door, and there i was- living out the daydreams i have been having most of my life and crossing off two things from my bucket list: party with rockstars and get on a tour bus with said rockstars!

I'll keep my tour bus secret happenings to myself (mostly because i'm sure what you are imagining is much more exciting that what actually happened). Plus, i won't lie, it just sounds cooler that way. Here is where i would post pics of this part of the adventure, but taking pictures at the time would have made me felt like an asian tourist/13-year-old fan girl, so i refrained, quite unvillingly. I'll just leave it to you to imagine the awesomeness :)

But, i suppose i should actually talk some about the show, since the purpose of this is to serve as an "unofficial" review of the show, not the mode of transportation the band used to get there. From here on, it is professional real talk, seriously unaffected by my non-hoebagish-semi-groupie-wannabe status, i promise <3 

The band Adema was one of the openers for Tantric, and i knew i had heard of them, and i knew at some point sometime ago i had liked one of their songs...i just couldn't remember what the heck it was. So, thanks to the trusty myspace, i later looked them up and remembered that "Giving In" was the song that made them famous back in 2001. I really like that song so I was mad at myself for not watching their set (as i was busy with other things, like SITTING ON A REAL MOTHER FREAKIN TOUR BUS!), but then the next song came on the myspace music player, and i connected some of the dots of the night.

I did, in fact, see part of their set when friend and I were inside the bar, only i thought they were just a fairly decent local band who had been influenced a little too much by Korn. When I turned to the source of all information that is usually mostly true, wikipedia, to find out when they had actually been relevant, i figured out why Adema's singer sounded like he could have been a brother to Korn frontman Jonathan Davis: it's 'cause he is (well, technically just a half-brother, but it still counts. and an mtv news article confirms the kinship, in case you had any doubt in the wikipedia).

Anyway, the bit i did hear from them left me less than impressed. There are few things that lead me to be as disappointed in a musician than knowing that they are where they are mainly because of daddy (or in this case, brother).  They sounded just like Korn, and the live show just did not draw me in. The drummer was awkward to watch, plus he wore headphone/earmuff things that i just don't respect either. There was probably a big, important reason behind him wearing them, but still. Isn't there a saying that goes something like "if it's too loud, you're too...." well, you know how that one ends. You're in a rock band, hun, and those are not rock.

When Tantric took the stage, a large group had finally gathered in The Roxy at Bar Lex. They kicked the show with a few songs from their latest album, including the title track "Mind Control." The set flowed just like you would expect from a seasoned, experienced rock band. Energy was flowing from the entire group, with singer Hugo Ferreira belting out the songs just like they sound on the cds (which is always a relief when seeing a band for the first time). It was impossible to miss the musical chemistry between him and bassist Erik Leonhardt as he backed up the vocals. And violinist Marcus Ratzenboeck brought that sound that sets Tantric apart in songs like "Down and Out," all the while playing some pretty sick-looking violins.

I always had liked the music of Tantric. "Breakdown" is a really, really good song, and more recent releases like "Coming Undone," "Down and Out" and "Mind Control" have gotten pretty substantial radio play and are really great songs, too. I wasn't really familiar with their older songs, especially those from their first self-titled album. Seeing them live really gave me a much stronger appreciation for them, though. They are a solid band with their own sound that do not get the credit they deserve. Seriously, they should be a lot bigger.

Check out their music on (and make sure you listen to "Mourning," one of my new favorite songs, on Tantric). Download the songs (legally!),  buy a cd, or even better, catch them out live.  It would really be worth your time to finally put a face and a name to that band you keep hearing and loving on the radio.

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