Thursday, January 22, 2009

Live Review: SNOT


The Roxy

Hollywood, CA


I admit it, I had my doubts when I heard that Snot was reuniting with a new singer last year. I had even more doubt when I heard that the singer was Tommy Vext, a pitbull of a metal presence whose recent resume includes a tumultuous stint in former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares' Divine Heresy and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, an appearance on the latest album from electronic mastermind Junkie XL. So I had my reservations heading into Wednesday night's show at The Roxy, on Hollywood's Sunset Strip.

Those doubts were decimated. Quickly.

Tommy Vext is nothing like Lynn Strait, but that's why he works so well alongside returning original members Mikey Doling and Sonny Mayo (guitars), Jamie Miller (drums) and John "Tumor" Fahnestock (bass). Time has done nothing to temper the band's core. If anything, the decade since the tragic death of their singer in a December 11, 1998 car accident has poured fuel on their fire. They've all been around in various incarnations, Miller in theSTART, Tumor in Lo-Pro, Amen and Noise Within, Mayo in Sevendust and Amen, and Doling in Soulfly, Invitro and Abloom. But nothing truly conveyed the attitude or quake that resulted when the four of them made music together.

The Roxy experienced that quake, and the packed club shaked. For an hour, the main floor was consumed by a pit that fed off the energy emanating from the stage. Not one of those lame pits with two cross-eyed, overweight and shirtless lugs in the middle eying down anyone half their size, but a pit that swirled and spun with the infectious fray of the blessed metal-punk-funk hybrid exploding from the stage.

Miller, long hailed as one of the seminal drummers on the modern heavy music scene, delivered a clinic in compact power and precision, his arms stretching high over his head and crashing down with deliberate ease. He looked like he was playing in slow motion, but constructed the band's backbone of sound masterfully. The wild-eyed and hair-whipping Doling was a study in contrast to fellow guitarist Mayo, who offered a more business-as-usual approach. Together, thunder and lightening shred from their strings. Fahnestock anchored the stage under a heavy head of hair and a heavier crunch of bass.

Where Strait was equal parts surfer and street punk, a whirlwind presence that wove between the members, Vext is more of a tornado. A Tasmanian devil bolted to the front of the stage like a junkyard dog with a chain that is a few feet too short. If that chain broke? God help us all.

That combustible combination is what made The Roxy the perfect venue to celebrate the band's new lineup. There was an element of danger in the air. Not a fear-breeding danger, but the danger that results when you combine a molotov cocktail of ingredients with giddy anticipation of the results. The hour-long set featured about half of the band's 1998 album Get Some, as well as new tracks "CouldaShouldaWoulda" and set-closer "The Band Played On," two heavy-metal heart attacks that plaster the band's syncopated rhythms and abrasive melodies with melodic thrusters set to stun.

Rest assured, Lynn Strait was looking down on The Roxy with a smile on his face.

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Snot Official Website

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