Red Line Chemistry at 910 Live, 7-23-11
Red Line Chemistry
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"This Phoenix show is by far the best we've done yet on this tour," admits Red Line Chemistry bassist Tom Brown, pushing his black-stripe-spiked mop of hair from his forehead after finishing his performance at 910 Live last night.
"But I don't know how you guys deal with these brutal summers. We just about died during soundcheck."
Misters blasting at full-force dampened a hot desert breeze coloring the air with tastes of dust, sizzling barbecue, Jager and cigarette smoke at the indoor/outdoor venue.
There was something in the air: anticipation, excitement and the occasional whiff of ganja. And for a crowd that ranged from emo young 'uns to blue collar regs to hard rock fans in their '30s, the air was about to get a lot thicker--with heavy guitar riffs, powerful vocals and double bass.
It was a full house throughout the sets of Burn Halo and Egypt Central at 910 Live before Kansas City-based Red Line Chemistry hit the stage around 11:45 pm.
Usually bands launch into their sets on the opposite stage immediately when the prior band finishes up at this venue, but tonight the timing seemed a little sluggish in between musical acts.
Finally, Red Line Chemistry took the stage. Singer Brett Ditgen wore pinstripe pants, an orange T-shirt, sunglasses and a leather jacket-- don't as me why in the desert -- and the band immediately launched into the more melodical than heavy "Dumb Luck" while the crowd automatically launched into a mosh pit up front.
As the band forged immediately into their second song, "Vicious Cycles," Ditgen asked the crowd to put their hands up and clap while mosh pits continued and the music spiraled into a heavier, more amped up energy.
The singer threw off his sunglasses as he ventured to the edge of the stage, practically straddling the chain-link fence that separated the drinkers from the younger-than-21 crowd. After asking everyone if they were staying cool, the band hurtled themselves into "Knock Down Drag Out," which was the song the crowd had been looking for--heavy, intense and headbang-worthy.
The energy started to pick up in the crowd, and on stage. Drummer Mike Mazzarese hit the skins so hard sweat was flying off his face, and guitarists Andrew Bret and Dave Fyten (both sang vocals, too) shut their eyes while their fingers flew over fretboards.
"When I say fuck, you say yeah!" Ditgen screamed.
"Now give it up for the bands who played earlier!" Ditgen encouraged as the song ended, rousing cheers and hollers from the sweaty, beer-drenched crowd.
After the heavy "Déjà vu," punctuated by the singer showing love for local radio station KUPD, while "You Don't Get It" proved to be a dance-worthy groove that had girls holding onto the chain link fence swaying and throwing their heads back to the sky.
"What Do You Want From Me" had the crowd chanting along with the chorus while a guitar solo shredded through the venue and the singer declared, "I need this shit! Do you need this shit, Phoenix? We need this rock and roll in our life!"
The band's song "Heavy," brought back memories of my first time seeing The Used concert. Ditgen had his back facing the crowd, the guitarists seemed to instantly relax and one even lit a cigarette. Whether it was the change to slow tempo or the need for a fresh beer, the crowd seemed to dissipate a little, and stayed thin through the next tune "Meds for the Hypocrite." But when the song "Home" began to play, the crowd threw up their hands.
This was definitely a highlight of the show, just boys playing their hearts out to heavy music and Pink Floyd-esque dreamy ending. The band had people fist-pumping in the air, chanting "hey, hey, hey!" while the singer pointed at the crowd and said that everyone should party since they've worked their asses off all week. The guitarists both closed their eyes and raised their heads to the sky, and heavy breakdowns gave way to more mosh pits, this time growing larger and larger in front.
Radio hit "Ultragigantor" ended the set list. With the fans running on adrenaline fumes, the singer introduced their new single "Jimmy Had an Accident," a true fusion of heavy metal with the twang of Midwestern rock, which truly made the night's show a satisfying experience for any rock fan.
Last Night: Red Line Chemistry at 910 Live
The Crowd: Very age-diverse, from emo teens sitting in corners to blue collar employees in their '20s to middle-age hippies and rockers.
Overheard in the Crowd: "That was truly a very primal scream," by an impressed-looking, sundress-clad girl from southern Florida who swore she was a country fan and didn't know why she was at the show that night.
Personal Bias: Being from Kansas City, I have to say that Red Line Chemistry is pretty badass, but it would be wise for them to start with their heavier hits.