Local band Crystal Desert may be fresh-faced, but they played expertly, with a sound that benefited from guitarist/vocalist Ryan’s ragged-sounding vocal and punk-grunge riffs. Born of Ghosts followed. With each performance this band seems to grow tighter and more epic sounding. Jonathan Schmidt’s guitar playing was a particular standout on this set, which ended with the usual “Joyful Noise” and requisite yacht captain antics.
Portland’s Vibragun was third up, and they didn’t seem excited to be there at all, delivering a low-energy performance devoid of positive emotion. It was the end of a tour for them, and it showed. Vocalist/guitarist Joel did get a few good screams in, however.
It must be noted that there were sound and lighting problems at The Cannery. Previously there had been a logo projected on the wall to the side of the band; this had been nixed in favor of two intense, blinding spotlights on the stage. These lights were a problem as several times throughout the night musicians asked that they be turned down or off, but it seemed that the venue was not able to do either (they were the sole lighting for the stage, save for a weird LED type light on the floor, which for some reason illuminated the bass drum). If an artist wasn’t in the spotlight, they were relegated to the shadows, which proved problematic for the drummers: you could hardly see them. As far as the sound went, there was fumbling with cables and cords throughout the night. One would have thought that any issues would have been ironed out during sound check, but apparently this was not the case. The good news is that the bands soldiered (mostly) merrily on.
Battleme, also from Portland, never disappoints. Matt Dee may look like the ghost of ’70s era Pete Townshend, from his physical antics to those blue eyes over a prominent schnozz, but his vocals blow Townshend’s out of the water (sorry Pete, much love). The band sounds nothing like The Who, however, and cites influences ranging from Patti Smith to Kim Deal to The Cars. Their sound is swaggery, psychedelic, and rock-tastic. It was quite the revelation to be standing in a small venue in the city of Everett with these guys as they crushed it.
The Grizzled Mighty has shown much love to Everett in the past year, so it was a no-brainer to have them close out the night. The problem was, well . . . the above mentioned problems, which made for an obviously frustrating performance for them; although it was still very enjoyable for the crowd. At one point, Ryan Granger’s vocals completely cut out, so he moved to the microphone at the drum set. It didn’t work, either, but it was sweet to see Granger and drummer Lupe Flores trying to work through the problem and laughing it off in the end. Flores is a new addition to The Grizzled Mighty since the departure of Whitney Petty, who left to join Thunderpussy. But if anyone at The Cannery had any doubts about how she’d do, they were squashed almost immediately. She was every bit as energetic as Petty, and the band interplay between her and Granger was something to behold.
Venue issues notwithstanding, the EMI curated an awesome rock lineup. Continue on, please. We are listening.