Strhess Tour (Yes that’s how it’s spelled): pummels St. Louis
Ross Gordon
2/19/2007 12:21:15 PM

Dateline: Tuesday, February 6th, St. Louis. Billing: Dorothy Anne, Pilot, Heavy Heavy Low Low, and Fear Before the March of Flames. For many, this line-up had some of the best bands and could not be missed.

The first band to play was Dorothy Anne, a regional outfit outside of St. Louis doing small tours. With a sound almost exactly like Daughters, they played an all right show and kept the kids entertained.

Pilot, formally When Sorrow Fails, came up next. Being locals to the St. Louis area, this also brought a lot of attention to the line-up with supportive friends and a hometown fan base, culled from high school gym battle-of-the-band competitions.

Heavy Heavy Low Low seems to come to St. Louis during almost every few months, but this show was by far their best. The band was recently signed to Ferret Records, and released their first full-length album, “Everything’s Watched, Everyone’s Watching” back in September. Because of the shortness of each track, they were able to play almost the whole album, plus a couple old songs. They definitely played the craziest set of the night, considering half the crowd was on the stage at some point, or diving off onto everyone. They closed with “Tell Shannon her crafts are ready,” --definitely finishing off a good set.

Fear before the March of Flames is probably one of the best live bands around today, but for whatever the reason, whether it’s bad timing or the wrong venue, the crowd is never into them. Their first two albums were heavy as an atom bomb. Nothing was wrong with that music at all, but they’ve definitely started to head down a different path, experimenting in melody and lighter moods.

Their new album, The Always Open Mouth, definitely still shows traces of the old Fear Before, but it’s also full of lots of new ideas and direction. In the last year or so, FBTMOF has had a couple member changes, added a lot more electronics, and started to do more experimental stuff all together. The album is personally one of my most played CDs, but might need a few listens to get used to. During their set, you can definitely see the division between two camps in the crowd: The group up front, who loves the album, and the group who still thinks of (and wants back) Fear Before as the heavy, hardcore band.

Regardless, this night seemed to please everyone at least moderately, if not to total thrashing insanity. It’s clear that Fear Before have made a good choice with the path they are taking and will remain with brains and real art long after the purely aggressive bands are gone. Overall, they played a great set, playing almost all the songs on their set list from the new album, except for “Should Have Stayed in the Shallows,” from their second album Art Damage. They played a long set and finished off with “My (Fucking) Deer Hunter,” one of their more electronic songs.


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