Monday, March 9, 2009


I had a pretty eventful Spring Break kick-off weekend: a basketball game and a rock show.

Friday Yale nuked Dartmouth, and my old suitemate even did what I believe is called a "breakaway" (twice), one of which ended in a dramatic dunk (The crowd, guy at left, included, went nuts). I usually get incredibly nervous when he gets the ball, partly because he himself looks quite nervous, but he's certainly improved.

Saturday was the season closer for basketball, vs. Harvard, but I had pledged to support The Sandy Gill Affair at The Space's Battle of the Bands. I discovered I was on my very last page, so no better way to close out a sketchpad than with rock-inspired art.

So here's a gallery of the night's competitors.

Up first was Twas Windmills.

I thought I might as well tag on a little score next to each band along with brief comments, so here's what I wrote for these guys in my sketchpad:

"Excellent guitars, weak vocals"


Dying to Live

This duo was comprised of neophytes giving it a go, so hats off for getting up there, which is always worth congratulations.


NoG Jam

"Insane guitars and vocals."

These guys really got the crowd going, and the lead singer's often bored persona was in perfect contrast to the electrifying music.

The lead singer even stopped by to check out the sketches, pretty neat, nice guy.

These guys should have won...asterisk.


The Sandy Gill Affair

"Bluzzy vocals"

I know what they're capable of, but their vocals, which should have been a selling point, killed them for me.

You can have high energy without blasting--I could enjoy Novus Dae's music and vocals, screaming included, because they controlled their sound so well that nothing buried anything else. TSGA just jolts right up to eleven, not just musically: they start jumping around right off the bat. Build up. Establish ethos before going nuts. Once it's understood you're great and don't care, then go crazy.

One of your strongest weapons is your lyrics, but the vocals are always so utterly lost amid the blaring music, to the point where sometimes you wonder if there are even vocals buried underneath it all!

On the slower sections of say "Mothers and Lovers" (?), the vocals shine, but it really helps to lure us in even during the medium to faster parts. The vocals are always robbed: seek the clarity of NoG Jam: fast and heavy at times, but both music and vocals share the stage evenly without one obliterating the other. I'm rooting for you guys, but tape yourself and study your live performances in comparison to other bands.

I went to a My Chemical Romance concert last year and it was incredibly difficult to follow what they were blaring out, but they had the entirety of Madison Square Garden singing right along because their songs are already etched into our brains. When a band is starting out, they don't get that kind of leniency.


Mike Falzone and the Peppermint Trick

"Beautiful songs but fuzzy vocals, cleaner than TSGA"

I saw this dude in a cool military jacket, and I'm like, I'm going to draw that guy! As soon as I get to his shirt, he discards the jacket...thanks. Anyway, these guys were great, especially Mr. Falzone's infectious laugh, but I did enjoy NoG Jam more.

The group won the audience draw spot, a bye which I don't believe is fair. Theoretically, Dying to Live could just pack their local high school buds and their families into a caravan and earned a spot. It makes sense for the venue, since fannies in the seats means more money, but artistically, I disagree.



"Mostly merely presentable, nice guitars though"

These guys had some obnoxious fans, man. Another downside to the audience draw award: if you bring a bunch of people, vying solely for that bye to the next round, will they show equal respect to all the acts?

Ambrosia had the look of a real emo band, but the music couldn't back it up, unfortunately. The guitars were alright, but the vocals were pretty weak, and overall they just weren't too engaging.


Novus Dae

"Pro quality...last song sounds like Radwimps"

The great asterisk of the competition. My comments were scarce because these guys were so obscenely good, I was speechless, textless, and almost sketchless.

The only weird thing was that their last song sounded a bit (coincidentally, I'm sure) like this song's chorus by the Radwimps.

But in any case, it felt like these guys were way too good to be in this competition, so while no one questions their winning the critics' choice award, I do question their entrance; these guys should easily be touring the country right now.


So assuming Novus Dae didn't enter, the top two were easily NoG Jam and either Mike Falzone and the Peppermint Trick or The Sandy Gill Affair. All in all a great show. And Harvard beat us, so the rockshow was definitely the better place to be.

And my sketches even got a few visits from people. One guy asked if I was a pro. Haha! I have been paid a few times for my work, actually, but I'm still as new at this as most of these bands are at their craft. But nothing beats drawing to great rock music.



Kelvin said...

I just would like to say that I'm really impressed with this gallery of art work. There is nothing like visiting a blog to see a display of weekly art work to refreshing the mind of soul of the talented artists out there. Good work.

Mike Falzone said...

AWESOME drawings....and kind comments.

you are awesome.


Scott said...



Ryan said...

Can't say I've had my likeness sketched before... but totally rad dude. Bad ass!

Thanks for the comments as well. We'll be there again on the 11th of this month. Should be good times.

- Ryan