Groovephobia? Emphasize the bad-ass

Skyline Awake at
at Tokyo Rose
Thursday, June 26

I've always been fond of the underground venue. I'm not talking "We suck so we're underground." I'm talking actual subsurface locations.

When we're talking about that sort of venue, Tokyo Rose usually pops into mind. Tokyo Rose gives me the feeling that at one time it was a plushed-out opium den. Now it's an old dirty grandma of a venue keeping its youth alive by sucking the souls of young rockers all over town. Ahh... the novelty of it makes me all warm inside.

Extra cool points can be added to the Tokyo Rose strip mall because of the addition of Atlas Underground-­ an adult comic book and Japanese anime store located right next door. (Yes kiddies, they have complete Spawn, Preacher, Sin City, and Sandman collections.) Don't tell mommy.

So, Thursday night's foray to Tokyo Rose began in Atlas Underground and ended with some chick dressed in all black lifting her skirt and rubbing her legs all over my friend. Somewhere in between there was good music.

I admit, I have prejudices against music that lacks definitive melody. I like to leave musical experiences with something that I can hum or whistle. Thus I wasn't immediately impressed by Skyline Awake. But I quickly realized that their appeal isn't in the melody.

After about three songs, my blinded eyes were stripped of their discriminating cataracts by one simple fact: These boys have skills. Technically, each member of the four-piece ensemble is of extremely high caliber. The songwriting resembles mathematical schizophrenia that walks the fine line between digestible and annoying genius.

I'm talking gutter guitar riffs that hit you in the face for two bars, flip on you with a one bar turn-around, only to leave you dazed and amused in a barrage of heavily chopped power chords. Yeah, they have what I like to call "bad-ass tendencies."

My one criticism of the group (and I say this only because I think these cats have mega-potential) is that they seem afraid of the groove. That doesn't mean they don't have it, because it's there. Every time they locked into a bouncing rhythm, they switched too fast. I would almost rather hear them play the bridges of their songs as verse lines, and the verse lines as bridges.

Throw us a groove, even if it's heavy. Give the ladies something to move to. Trust me, one or two songs like that, and you're going places... and ain't no underground venue gonna be able to hold you.