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Shake It Like You Know How To Dance: Hollywood Undead @ Le National, Apr. 22

Posted by Jenny / April 24, 2009

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The first time I saw Sonny Moore live was in early 2005, as the then-17-year-old frontman of the post-hardcore band From First To Last. Three band members were sporting completely un-ironic Slipknot t-shirts, and all had enough hairspray in their do's to burn a hole through the ozone layer. Performance-wise, FFTL were ferocious, destructive, and not to be taken as anything other than seriously. The band's debut album dating back to that time, Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count, is still a fan favourite and probably their best record to date.

Fast-forward to 2009: having undergone surgery to fix his vocal cords and parted ways with FFTL, Sonny has just released a digital EP, Gypsyhook, and plans to have his solo full-length out sometime later this year. The new dance/eletronic-infused tracks sound nothing like the kind of music he made before. There is only one way to put it: Sonny's solo material is infectiously, irresistibly catchy.

There's no denying that the surgery has left Sonny with a much higher-pitched, shrilled voice than before. But those who have issues with men with falsettos, I say: look no further than Coheed and Cambria's Claudio Sanchez. If you've got it, let's see you work it. And work it is exactly what Sonny and his tourmates did last at Le National last night, much to the crowd's delight. The set comprised the three songs off the EP, "Gypsyhook," "Copaface," and the latest single "Mora," as well as a few rare songs that were previously available as acoustic demos on his MySpace, like "Concentrical" and "Signal." The sound still has a dark, unsettling edge to it, and yet you couldn't help shakin' it. All I know is, I cannot wait for a party to DJ at, if only to play Sonny's new songs.

Next up, Chicago alternative-bordering-onto-pop-punk rockers Madina Lake pulled off an energetic set filled with giant balloons filled with confetti, and twins Nathan and Matthew Leone's bouncing all over the stage. All of the band's music is centered around a concept: the fictitious town of Madina Lake and the turmoil it goes through when its famous socialite, Adalia, mysteriously disappears. Or so it's supposed to be, because there is no evident narrative in the lyrics, or connection between the songs on each record. Whatever the case, although perhaps a little ill-fitting on the bill, the band pulled off a sick live show.

Before I go on, I have a confession to make: prior to last night's show, I had no clue who the headliner, Hollywood Undead, was. All I knew was that Sonny was opening, which was enough to certify my presence. So imagine my surprise when a crew of masked dudes hit the stage, and the sound on the menu turned out to be... rap-rock.

Soon enough I realized that even though I had not heard of Hollywood Undead before, I had heard them. (You probably have, too.) Frankly, it wouldn't be a far stretch for them to make an album cover out of a magnified "Parental advisory: Explicit content" sticker. I was hoping that perhaps, eventually, maybe the language would stop. Not even close. (And I listen to hardcore--you'd think I could take it.) So, you know, while tunes about bitches and hoes is not my cup of tea but, in the words of Hollywood Undead's own merch guy, one Chuck Haile, "their songs are catchy." It may be hard to respect them as musicians, but you've got to give them credit as performers.

There are nights when you head home after a show overwhelmed with impressions, excitement, and awe. Other times you are simply disappointed. After a night like yesterday, it was hard to figure out what to feel at all.

Discussion

10 Comments

Myriam / April 26, 2009 at 11:15 pm
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Reading this made me happy! I went to there only to see Sonny, but I think Madina Lake and Hollywood Undead gave great shows. But Sonny's show was amazing, he is so full of energy, it's incredible! He is also the nicest guy ever.
dywan 200 x 200 / July 1, 2015 at 10:43 am
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Coz mozna napsiac po przeczytaniu tak swietnego tekstu…?
Chyba tylko albo az tyle, ze byl ZNAKOMITY !!!
Davydov / December 23, 2015 at 09:16 am
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I was looking everywhere and this popped up like nothing!
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