In an stroke of genius, Nemesis Media, Inc. and Barb Rocks combined their booking powers to bring eight bands to the RockBar Theater – located just outside of Santa Clara, off Saratoga Avenue and Stevens Creek Boulevard – for a showcase of musical talent last Friday night.
The April 10 show, which featured bands that participate in Balanced Breakfast – a networking group for musicians, writers, promoters and artistic types on Saturday mornings – brought together an eclectic mix of music consisting of everything from beautiful operatic arias to mosh pit–fueled Viking metal, and that was just the start of what would become an epic six–hour, free event.
Opening with First Street Opera, who started the show with a rendition of “O Mio Babbino Caro” (“Oh My Beloved Father”), best known from the opera “Gianni Schicchi,” and – for the non–opera–loving generation – the video game Grand Theft Auto 3. Although the stunning arias were short–lived (a 30–minute set), the crazy kids at Nemesis and Barb Rocks backed it up with Viking metal from Valensorow. Yes, Viking metal. The thrashing and crashing had long–haired metalheads whipping their locks forward and backward while a mosh pit broke out in the middle of the dance floor – a far cry from the subdued, calming effect of First Street Opera’s performance.
Next up were a pair of rock groups, toning back down the chaos, but still keeping the energy elevated. Newly formed trio Black Cat Path, rocked it out with their alternative original tunes in a style similar to Audioslave – only louder and more bluesy. Female–fronted duo, Bad with People followed, reminding the audience that women might just do it a little better than men when it comes to being a rocker extraordinaire.
Amping up the sex appeal was Dr. Taco, whose dirty nurses (ala Bink 182’s pornstar cover of Enema of the State) gave the audience “shots” – literal syringes filled with liquor – during the performance while playing fake guitars and prancing around in sky–high heels. While the girls are a gimmick, they’re not needed, as Dr. Taco frontman Dan Schwaiger and crew brought the house down with a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name,” making them a tough act to follow.
After Dr. Taco performed, names were drawn for the absolute insanity that is rock lotto. Musicians – any musicians, not just the ones performing – placed their name into a hat and names were drawn, four at a time. According to Nemesis Media’s Robert Austin, Rock Lotto is just another way to keep bands networking. Any name drawn – it could be four lead singers or two drummers and two guitarists – becomes a band for a one–night only show that will be held Saturday, May 9 at The X Bar in Cupertino, resulting in either incredible musical feats or complete failures, but as Austin says, it’s about the creativity that flows between different groups and getting those groups to talk to each other with the intent of possibly combining bands in future collaborations.
With a bizarre mix of Halloween props clearly playing into the band’s vibe, Black Mast had the difficult task of setting up the final performances and riling up the crowd after the Rock Lotto break. Glowing–eyed crow and robot aside (although the props were programed to move with the music), Black Mast’s metal set did the job, pumping up the crowd, during the waning moments of Friday night.
As Friday turned into Saturday, The Driftwood Sinn performed. Self–described as “heavy melodic riff–rock,” (a description that works, as The Driftwood Sinn straddles the line between hard rock and metalcore), lead singer Patrick Hopkins played to the crowd and infused a youthful energy that was surely needed as the night ticked into the wee hours of the morning.
Closing the show was another hard rock band, Maxx12. The duo of “Rooster Mongoose” and “The Samurai” (yes, seriously) used the show for some serious promotion, with a table where CDs were handed out to anyone liking what they heard and wanting to learn more – a smart move to help garner a wider fan base among the eclectic group of fans in attendance.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Austin. “We have some amazing things in store in the future, including more shows, more networking and some special surprises that I’m dying to disclose. I want to encourage all bands, performers, writers, illustrators, graphic designers, artists and anyone looking to network to check out the Saturday morning Balanced Breakfast events. Everyone is welcome.”
Balanced Breakfast is held every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., usually at the Rockbar Theater. Admission is free, although coffee and food is available for purchase. Check out the Balanced Breakfast Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/groups/balancedbreakfastsanjose/ for more information.