Going to an Open Hand show is a lot like witnessing a mediocre bar band. If you’re all liquored up and not really paying attention, they sound great, but if you’re somewhat sober and actually there for a show, you’ll notice there really isn’t much of one to begin with.
As people exited the Troubadour into Januarys brisk night air, those who
actually came to see Open Hand were probably asking themselves why they didnt
just save the gas money and listen to their CD instead.
Playing up their modern, indie rock, the members of Open Hand are a handful of
talented musicians whove received praise for their solid musicianship on
the 2005 release You and Me. Yet, the band has consistently remained just under
the radar. Perhaps it has something to do with its lackluster attempts at wowing
Even if the band had made a few new fans through the duration of its set, youve
still got to wonder why this group was headlining worthy. Maybe in a different
setting, playing with different bands they may have been, but unless youre
Avenged Sevenfold, it would have been nearly impossible to outdo the utter chaos
that is Bullets and Octane.
Frontman Gene Louis is like a wild beast, just let out of captivity. Before the
band had a chance to play two full songs and before beads of sweat from the bright
lights even had time to form, he was drenching himself in water, ripping off his
shirt and unleashing the animal within.
Even certain members of the audience began to turn from composed and mild-mannered
to raging sexual stallions. Evidently it had something to do with Louis
captivating performance. As the band pumped through its set list with favorites
such as "Save Me Sorrow" and "Pirates," from 2004s The
Revelry, and new material "Going Blind" and "My Disease,"
from the upcoming In the Mouth of the Young, Louis quirky, amplified Scott
Weiland-esque movements made it easy to forget that there are actually other members
in the band. Even so, the bands music has its way of seeping under your
skin, working you up into a frenzy, and letting out the rebellion in you.
Its that power, the way the band commands your attention and the overall
debauchery of its stage show that makes it hard to compete with.
So, when Open Hand took the stage it was as though they knew they had already
been defeated. Without even as much of a "hey, how you doing" or "are
you having fun tonight," the band began playing, song after song in one of
the most subdued, lifeless performances seen in recent memory.
Frontman Justin Isham rarely veered from behind his microphone stand, not that
it mattered because his vocals could barely be heard through the overpowering
music. The only member of the band who seemed even remotely excited to be there
was Breanne Martin, the only female member of the group, whose actual musical
contribution to the band is questionable. Oddly enough her moment center stage
for "Take No Action" was the most memorable of the bands set.
If Open Hand learns to work the crowd a bit better, tune down the music and up
the vocals, they just might have the opportunity to move out of the shadows of
so many other bands in their genre and have the spotlight shine on them for once.
Music: Live Show Reviews [Open Hand]
Open Hand/Bullets and Octane: Jan. 11 @ Troubadour
By Kym Parsons
Article posted on 1/23/2006
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