As three touring vans and loads of instruments filled the cul de sac behind J.A.M. this past Saturday, students and musicians alike prepared for a concert of epic proportions, not to be easily forgotten by the four performing bands or the awaiting audience.
The local ensemble, The Teapot Dome Orchestra, bore the task of starting off this show by first hammering out a few sound issues for the venue and then opening the growing audience up to the musical feast they were about to receive. Although the audience sat in clusters on the floor, the beckon of Teapot Dome’s promising array of guitar, bass, drums, violin, and cello soon brought the concert attendees to their feet. The Teapot Dome’s set featured almost all new songs, which focused on the unique mix of timbres within the group, and even a guest vocal appearance by a friend in the audience. As it goes with new material, the band plugged through their performance with a mixture of brimming energy and rapt attention to their new parts. While this format may not have allowed the Teapot Dome Orchestra to find their most comfortable grooves, it did allow the group to find a fresh, provocative edge. Most notably, the Orchestra’s set laid the premise for the concert, upon which each band added a new and different block, each constructed with a distinct style.
Taking the stage next, Nakatomi Plaza led a one-band punk uprising against the extended, atmospheric jams of the other performers. Yet Nakatomi’s fiery, intense, and unafraid style did not subvert the connection between all of the bands that played, instead the Brooklyn outfit channeled their riff and shout-filled sounds through more introspective, delicate songs as well as the traditional fare of all-out punk. From the near-ballad of “Bike Rock Revolution,” with the band’s only female member, Al, taking the lead vocals, to the short, impassioned burst of “Consider This a Hostile Takeover,” set apart by irresistible dual guitar and drum freak-outs and Oscar’s, the other singer’s, screams.