|Stan Says:||Jodi Says:|
|I love the happy accidents we keep running into. When an opening act is so impressive that we are just stunned, it’s a great night. When it is topped by a great new venue to us, everything is wonderful. This was what happened when we caught Angwish at Smokey Joe’s CafĂ© on October 28th.
This night they were a two piece band. It was their first night as a two piece and I don’t know what happened to their bass player. Drums and guitar, with the guitarist singing and either playing bass pedals or having bass lines pre-recorded. However they were doing it, I didn’t hear any issues with it, nor was it a distraction or a detraction from their sound. Though at the time I thought that I’d like to hear them as the three piece they were billed as, that need waned to the point that I encourage them to keep going as they are as it worked that night and worked very well. Definitely they’re a bar band and have been around for a while. Seeming to be very comfortable on stage, even with the issue of the missing player, they worked great together. The drums were set up in a sideways manner and the guitarist faced out to us. This arrangement worked also as they were not just playing to us, they were playing to each other and when a band does that it seems to make more sense to me, as they’re more cohesive that way.
Upon us walking in, the song they started into was a cover, the old Yardbirds song, “Train Kept A Rollin’” that was then made more famous by Aerosmith. The version Angwish played was a nice middle ground between those two known versions. I know the song is much older than that though. The guitar was distorted at first it seemed to overcompensate for the missing bass player, then it got toned down and changed, so it must have just been for that song. Then they played an original. The song sounded like they were covering a Beastie Boys song, minus the annoying rap parts. Â In other words, it was a good song. Their songs all have a great riff to them, especially on one named “Hope You Rot In Hell.” Their choice of covers is fantastic. They added power to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song, “I Need To Know” – a power I’ve not heard since the Stevie Nicks cover of that song done live at Red Rocks on her first solo tour (which I have on VHS, did not get to see it live). Then they went into a new song, “Magic Penguin”, and I swear Bryan channeled Kurt Cobain on that one, though it’s more than just a tribute to Nirvana, it has its own identity too.
Then they closed the show with “Whole Lotta Love”, complete with Theremin solo and echoed vocal effects. It’s like they knew I was going to show up. This is a band that is now headed by Bryan Bielanski and though he signed the setlist for me, I can’t get or even find the name of the drummer. I do want to say that his drumming was fantastic, anyone who can pull off doing anything John Bonham did gets a positive vote by me. And Bryan’s guitar is a work of art, it’s the one that was designed by Kurt Cobian, the Fender Jag-Stang. It’s a combination of the Fender Jaguar and the Fender Mustang. This instrument has vast sound capabilities, from a distorted grungy sound to a clean ’70′s feel and Bryan plays it to fit the songs perfectly.
Angwish is a band that we’ve known about for a long time and are sorry we haven’t seen earlier. This show being their first as a duo really showed me that even with a missing band member they’re on the top of their game and are a great band. Like your music with a harder edge? This is a band for you. Not a deep heavy metal band, just a good rocking band that has an edge. The most amazing thing is how varied their sound is and yet still remains distinctly theirs.
|According to sources, Angwish is Bryan Bielanski and Rachael Malmberg, however, on this night, we saw a drummer possibly by the name Kevin, and Bryan on stage. Â We didnâ€™t know that Angwish was playing this night, so we were pleasantly surprised to find someone on stage when we arrived. Â As we listened I did note that this arrangement didnâ€™t seem like it was missing anything. Â I was told in passing that Bryan had somehow looped bass sounds to his guitar controls, in some manner which I do not understand. Â Even so, Iâ€™m sure that they have a much different sound normally with Rachael there.
Bryan played a wide range of songs this night, several cover songs along with several original songs. Â While we listened to Bryan, it became apparent that he has a very wide vocal range and a lot of talent. His style is similar to grunge with very interesting guitar riffs and vocally the similarities in style between Bryan and Kurt Cobain is remarkable. Â Some of the cover songs included â€śI need to knowâ€ť but with much better vocals than Tom Petty, â€śTrain Come a Rollingâ€ť, and â€śWhole Lotta Loveâ€ť. Â During the Led Zeppelin cover, I noted that a few folks came inside from smoking to see who was on stage because it really did sound like we had Led Zeppelin in the room with us. Â Bryan also played a small thereman during the song, which was done well. Â
I also enjoyed his original work, though I do not know any of the song titles he played. Â I would definitely catch Bryan again, no matter what arrangement the band happens to be in at the time. Heâ€™s someone to keep an eye on as his talent really shines during his performance.