Soundmankillz & There is No Us With Special Guests At Joe’s Grotto

Coverage/Photos By: Brandy Isadora

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On August 13, 2016, Soundmankillz and There is No Us put on scintillating performances at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix. Joining them were several other talented bands. Setting the tone for the evening was The Astral Light. Consisting of members Mykk Hannan (bass & space), Steven Parent (drums), Shawn Welsh (guitar/BG vocals), and Damon Myers (guitar/vocals/synth), the band had a dark groovy vibe, somewhat like the music from the Portland metal scene. Despite the fact that The Astral Light started early in the evening, there was already a crowd intrigued by this Prescott four-piece band. Myers vocals were lyrical and meshed well with the gritty and heavy music.

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Next up was a debut performance from Ciphered Existence. Things got a little faster and heavier with this four-piece band. Tanya Deri (lead vocals), Dwight Dixon (drums/vocals), Michael Quintana (guitars), and Zech Ariah (bass) were clearly no strangers to performing. Even with some minor technical difficulties, everyone put on a solid performance. Deri, clad in blue, black, and sparkles, mesmerized the audience with her powerful vocals and thoughtful lyrics. Throughout the set, she brought two women to interpret the music, using props for the first song and later dancing alongside her. The rest of the band members also held their own, and no one would have guessed that this was their first performance.

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While She Waits were primed and ready to rock when they took the stage. Formed in 2012, the band currently consists of members James Cole (lead vocals), Vincent Martinez (lead guitar), Tim Rooen (rhythm guitar), Dave Vessels (bass), and Aaron Belk (Drums/vocals). They are no strangers to opening for national acts that come to perform in the valley. While She Waits is known for their high energy Southern rock sound. Despite the fact they had a noticeably different sound than the other bands, everyone enjoyed their show. All of the band members put on solid performances while clearly having a good time on stage.

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As Las Vegas metal band There Is No Us took the stage, the already sizeable crowd seemed to swell in number. Good friends Andy Gerold, Jim Louvau, and Amy Abramite founded the band in June of 2015. Their music is a heavy dose of industrial metal and social activism. The band is not afraid to point out the weaknesses of the human race. Louvau’s lyrics were unabashedly insightful. Yet, despite the seriousness of the performance, Louvau was personable and immediately bonded with the crowd. The guitars were crunchy and the bass and drums created an electrifying beat accentuated by bright lasers and billows of smoke.

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Soundmankillz was the perfect band to follow There Is No Us. They maintained the momentum of the night with their high energy and electronic metal sound. Though the band has only existed since 2013, all the band members are seasoned musicians. Though grounded in metal and electronic rock, Soundmankillz writes music that pushes the boundaries of every genre and style. Guitarist Elo Killz always maintained precision despite running all over the stage. Drummer Bobby Blades, guitarist Maus, bassist N, and vocalist J-Kill also put on solid performances. As charismatic, talented, and driven as this band is, it’s no wonder that these guys are staying busy. On September 24th they will be opening for Trivium at the Marquee Theatre.

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Closing the night was a local four-piece band called Syde Project. Their music was solid and loud rock n’ roll. Compared to Soundmankillz and There Is No Us, Syde Project was way more mellow. However, they were no less interesting to hear and watch perform. Vocalist Zach Grimes, guitarist Jeremy Grimes, drummer Russell Gargula, and bassist Donny Rosko played with confidence and cohesion. Though their style was different from some of the earlier bands, Syde Project’s music was a good release after the intense performances from Soundmankillz and There Is No Us.   

Every band that played that night made a lot of sacrifices to put on the best show for their fans. As music lovers, it’s so important to support our artists. If you couldn’t make it out to see these bands, be sure to check them out.

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