Such a deal: Six bands rock on Ridge

Benvolio, Among The Fallen, The Wave, Faith In Failure, Body For Karate, Bad Karma
at the Music Resource Center
Saturday, December 4

 "If I had one of these to go to when I was younger, I probably..." is how the statement starts. I've heard it completed in a number of ways:

1. ...wouldn't have done so many drugs in high school.

2. ...would have never given up playing the (insert instrument here) so early.

3. ...wouldn't have had to spend so much money on therapy later.

4. ...would be much further along in my music career.

I'm sure other things have been said about the Music Resource Center, but since the place once known as "The Studio" moved to a new location at 105 Ridge Street in the old Mt. Zion Baptist Church, I've heard those words more times than I can remember.

I spend a great deal of time at the Center, hanging out with teenagers, producing music, writing songs and enjoying the freedom to just create. It's a job... and a blessing.

The place is a wonderfully outfitted recording/production studio with practice spaces, concert hall, and dance studio– totally nonprofit and available to any pubescent player or teen with a taste or talent for tunes.

Saturday was the Music Resource Center's first of (hopefully) many Band Fests to showcase a few of the groups that have either practiced or recorded at the facility since it took up residence in its new home. On the bill were six bands representing everything rock and rock-ish that I could possibly imagine.

Benvolio was up first, offering standard rock fare which included an interesting version of the Super Mario Brothers theme song over a surprisingly calypso-ish backdrop. The audience enjoyed every minute. Groups of kids stayed pressed to the stage for the entire set.

They had to back up from the stage for the next band, Among The Fallen, made up of only three people, but louder than any of the other bands on the bill. They brought in the heavy artillery when they opened with Metallica's "Seek and Destroy." Their set was the time for any parents in the audience to step outside and get some fresh air. Those who could stand the wall of sound and driving double distorted guitars got to enjoy some real hardcore. I love it.

Next up was The Wave, a trio of middle schoolers whose playing resurrects the spirit of the great classic rock gods. They boast an arsenal of cover songs and even have a few originals under their belts.

Faith In Failure was next. These guys are just nuts. It's not so much about the precision of the musicianship, but more how hard they can jam. The energy is awesome, the tunes simple. The rubber gas mask was alarming, their jokes crude. Fear them in five years.

One of my favorites of the young local breed is Body For Karate, a quartet of bass, keys/synth, drums, ukulele– and kazoo, Gameboy, or just about anything else they can find. They write intelligent original music but don't take themselves too seriously. Their set elicited a lot of energy from the crowd. I think it was the kazoo.

Finally, Bad Karma took the stage. The bass player pointed out to the crowd, nodding in thanks for the support, and then ripped through a few classic standards and originals. They even were bold enough to tackle Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb."

All in all the evening was a big success. After I ate my fair share of pizza and drank about five Route 66 Root Beers, I was tanked. Funny thing, it was only 9:30pm. Six bands in four hours for three bucks. What a bargain.

Band Fest