Cruisin’ For The Kids RECAP!

This was the biggest and best car show we’ve hosted!

A big thank you to all of the participants and sponsors for this wonderful event!

August 8 Review

Rock Reckoning

The show at The Oasis on Friday, August 8th was an excellent exhibit of the connection between music and emotion. I am not talking about “Emo” music, rather I am saying that all of the acts on Friday brought a particularly personal feeling to their performances. Enough rambling, let’s get to the good stuff….

Our show started off on the right note as the lovely Lauren Ruka took the stage and gave the crowd a solo serenade. Ruka’s music is pop sensibility served over bar chords. Unlike many artists now-a-days Ruka tells a real story with every song as well as offering a tongue in cheek commentary of the modern human condition. An example of this is a lyric of hers that goes, “No one let’s me down to my face anymore”, which I take as a comment on having (or trying to have) a relationship in an increasingly digital and impersonal age. Combine her song writing intelligence with incredible vocal range and control and you have a listening experience that transcends mere songs; they are touchingly personal narratives set to music.

Next up was the hard riffing band Americana. I have been going to shows for a long time (longer that I would like to admit at least) and I think Americana is the LOUDEST band I have ever seen. Which is good, because as far as I am concerned, they can’t be loud enough. Their sound is a combination of hard, driving rock like Motorhead, Hot Water Music-ish raspy vocals, and a good dash of southern metal groove. Not to mention, they are just so much fun to watch. One of their guitarists spent the majority of the set off the stage and in the crowd head banging with the best of them the entire time. This band is incredibly dynamic and does not easily fit into any one genre, but they are 100% ROCK!

Later The Smoking Revolvers played, and let me tell you if smoking revolvers is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Their sound is hard alternative rock with solid classic rock roots. Imagine fuzzy guitars with plenty of bluesy fills. Furthermore, all of the songs by The Smoking Revolvers are incredibly have their own personality while still being recognizable as their own. Listening to them will take you through fast fist pumping type songs to slower, sludgier songs all with a heavy foundation and deliciously catchy riffage. If you have a chance to see them, and you like music of the hard rock persuasion, don’t miss it!

Anchoring Friday’s show was the band BeatDown Radio. I don’t if they are a punk band that rocks or a rock band that punks, but I DO know is that I don’t care! BeatDown Radio delivers melodic punk/rock that doesn’t skimp on intensity. They are the best of both the worlds of punk and rock. Their music accomplishes a sense of melody in a way that bands like Rancid or The Casualties never could without becoming a pop band with Liberty Spikes like Simple Plan. Video may have killed The Radio Star, but it can’t touch BeatDown Radio.

Show Review: August 1st

August is for Rockers

On Friday, August 1 2014 The Oasis kicked off the dog days of summer in rocking fashion. It was a bittersweet occasion, as most things are, because the band Exit 2 Enter played their “college fair well show”. Luckily for all those in attendance that night, due to the sheer awesomeness of all of the bands that night the bitterness was short lived and the sweetness is still lingering.

Kicking off our show was solo artist, Dominic Dilanni. His performance was especially unique among the ranks of Oasis performers. Dominic played a set of classical guitar music that was absolutely beautiful. All of the musicians who play at The Oasis are talented, but rarely do we get to experience such technical prowess. As an aspiring guitarist myself, I was humbled to even be in the same building.

The second act of the night was alternative indie rock outfit Fett the Younger. Their brand of rock is the best of multiple worlds. Their songs have a certain pop sensibility that feels good on your ears and makes you tap your Toms (or Vans, or Converse, or whatever kids wear now a days). At the same time their music exhibits a kind of honesty and vulnerability that most (if not all) pop/mainstream music fundamentally lacks. If you like keyboards, walking bass lines, and heartfelt vocals, then this band is for you.

Next in line was Havenway. Havenway’s sound is hard to describe, and awesome to listen to. Their music and tone is heavy and dark like Hybrid Theory era Linkin Park, minus all the samples and rapping. But what really makes their music compelling is the tone of the vocalist’s voice. Her voice reminds you of artists like Norah Jones or Colbie Caillat but her delivery is much more like Paramore or even Heart. But don’t listen to me try to describe it, get on your various “smart”-devices and listen to them for yourself.

Finally, Exit 2 Enter took The Oasis stage for possibly the last time, and they did not disappoint. They play with energy and presence that you are hard pressed to see from experienced bands, let alone a group of guys who just graduated high school. Not only that, but for such a young group of musicians their musicianship and song writing ability is staggering and well beyond their years. They are young, loud, energetic, and gosh darn it they are just fun to watch. If you missed this show, just be thankful for smartphones and youtube.

Show Review: 8/2/14

To all those genre sticklers out there The Oasis hosted what would be considered an “Indie Rock” night on Saturday, August 2. Now I simply do not understand this tag. Doesn’t “indie” stand for “independent”? If so, I am pretty sure that independence is a state of being, not a sound. Anyway, in the interest of writing something productive I will get down from this particular soap box and describe the awesome bands who played.

To kick things off Yonderly took the stage. They kind of reminded me of U2 minus all of the effects, but with the same spacy vocals and overall ambient feel.

Next, Sweet Talk came all the way from Green Bay, WI and delivered an awesome performance that had a decidedly darker feel. To get an idea of their sound imagine old Jimmy Eat World, add a hint of AFI circa Sing the Sorrow, and pepper in some “Whoa-oh!” choruses and you have yourself a scrumptious batch of Sweet Talk. Now who can resist that?

Third two Canada Schmanada brought their bluesy surf tinged brand of rock. Their sound featured bright over-driven tones, foot tapping tempos, and vocals reminiscent of Jello Biafra. I don’t know if these dudes really were from our northern neighbors, but I DO know they rocked.
To close out the night soloist Quotation took the stage. He offered his unique brand of emotionally charged spoken word verses with sing song choruses that boast intensely personal lyrics. If you have never seen a Quotation performance it is like the emotional equivalent of watching Sophie’s Choice.

Show Review: 7/26/14

A Breakdown of the Breakdowns

On Saturday, July 26 The Oasis had the honor of hosting a mix of out-of-town bands along with some awesome local talent.

If I had to sum up Saturday’s show in one word, it would be HEAVY. There are a lot of genre sticklers out there who like to nit-pick the lines between metal, hardcore, metalcore, death metal, moshXcore and the like. So I am not even going to try to categorize these bands by tagging them with a genre. But what I will say is that they all rocked. So without further ado let me breakdown all the breakdowns from Saturday.

To kick the show off we welcomed back Veins of Malice. Their set got off to a bit of a rocky start; their drummer got caught up (drummers, am I right? ☺). But without missing a “beat” VOM’s guitarist stepped up (or more accurately sat down) to take over the drums. To me this is a testament to true musicianship. Eventually, their drummer showed up to finish the set, which was brutally heavy and rocked in every possible way.

Next up were out-of-towners I, The Colossus. Brandishing matching wind breakers the members took the stage and didn’t let go for 30 solid minutes. Anyone who is a fan of heavy, melodic music that doesn’t skimp on the breakdowns, this band is for you. Then to cap off an awesome performance the members walked around handing out their demos and connecting with the people who just watched them. And to me, that is exactly what local music is all about.

Our third band was a group of heavy riffers from Wisconsin called Unbibium. After their set I was gabbing with one of the guitarists who told me that they played The Oasis a year or so ago and were not very happy with their performance. Well, take it from me; they more than made up for it. Both guitarists were rocking 8 string guitars and played so many sweeps, I didn’t even have to clean up at the end of the night. Plus their vocalist didn’t even perform on the stage, instead he stood in the crowd and delivered an intense performance sure to touch the heart of even the most disillusioned MetalHead.

Minnesota band Fail to Decay took the stage next. Their sound is dark with massively heavy breakdowns. And the vocalist’s range was incredible, his style incorporates low growling vocals and higher barked vocals reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder with clean shouted vocals similar to Folly. Fail to Decay’s performance was exactly what the name suggests. Start to finish they produced a high energy punishingly heavy performance that…well…”Failed to Decay”.

Fifth was Armageddon Awaits. In all the years I have been going to shows and supporting local music I have never seen a band put so much production value into their performance. They arrived wearing black grease paint on their faces like war paint, and that was only the beginning. Their set started in total darkness with an eerie sample of storm sound effects. Then, they hit the strobe light. Their set was dark and moody and their sound features ambient samples under shredding guitars with a pummeling rhythm section. Some people may see their theatricality as a gimmick, but I for one think it is awesome to see a band put that much thought a preparation into their live performance.

To close out the night our friends Shallow Graves took the stage. Their profoundly personal performance reminded me why I love local music in the first place. The vocalist passed around the mic and made every member of the audience feel like they were in the band. Their sound is heavy and chaotic and their attitude is 100% DIY. Furthermore, they are collectively some of the nicest and most respectful bands I have ever had the privilege of meeting and listening to. If you like heavy music and you like being a part of something bigger than yourself, then Shallow Graves is the band for you.

Show Sponsored by Joyce Campbell State Farm

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