Identity crisis: Pick a genre, any genre

The Angry Red Planet
Orbit Billiards
Saturday, June 14

Nature, being the bitch/holy mother that she is, seems to be conspiring against Virginia, in the form of end-of-the-world-type weather. Five minutes before I was set to leave the Tokyo Rose, where fellow Hooker James Graham and I had been energetically conversing on plans for the upcoming music issue, utter downpour.

But no umbrella and a looming cold weren't going to stop me in my crusade to provide you, the avid/sometimes/seldom/I'm reading this right now? reader with the up-to-the-minute show reviews you thirst for/wait for/openly mock every week.

The Angry Red Planet's performance at Orbit Billiards was my goal, and through the waves of water that cascaded down from the heavens I maneuvered my ark (a 1989 Toyota Camry) down to the Corner, where a quick dash brought me inside.

Finally, after a 20-minute wait, the group came on stage but seemed to be trying to contact someone with extreme urgency– I suspected this might be another band member, to add to the trio's number; in the end, another soul never appeared. The Angry Red Planet is composed of three gentlemen from Charleston, South Carolina, who get down in the standard rock format– bass, drums, and guitar.

Quickly after strapping on their instruments the group got started with a song I believe was called "Delta Red," if my ears were not deceiving me. This tune was fairly Zepplinesque, with the repeating slide-filled riff of the singer/guitarist a nice bit of bluesey style to combat today's common guitar doldrums.

The melody, on the other hand, was plainly not as well thought out, for though the singer/guitarist wailed on his instrument like few people I've seen in person, his skills stood in distinct contrast to the three note vocalizations that issued from his mouth.

The next tune, a slightly Ska number in the style of The Police (especially their song, "The Bed's Too Big Without You"), was a nice turn-around for the singer, possessed with a catchy melody and a solid chorus ("Shake, shake, shake, till the break of dawn"). I have not talked about the other two members of the group so far, but rest assured their instrumental (and in the case of the bassist, back-up vocal) work was right on target.

From what I heard of the group's material, they seemed to be experimenting with a number of styles during their set– besides the two mentioned above, there were forays into Faith No More-style funk/rock, and also into more generic present-day guitar pop/rock that teems on the airways. The Angry Red Planet was pretty good, though they might want to figure out which genres they are best at, and stick to them in the future. Just a little suggestion from your friendly neighborhood critic.