Year Of The Dragon
The Relax Bar
Los Angeles, CA
December 13, 2007
Review and photo by Antoine Perkins
Music’s appeal derives from the ability to define the human experience creating a bond between the individual and the universe. Naturally, an artist or a performer’s “gift” comes from their ability to connect with view points and experiences beyond their own. An abundance of proficiency with an musical instrument helps as well. We are no longer worshiping self-pitying drama queens who’ve become nothing more than co-opted, wannabe punkers. Audiences are no longer embracing phony bling-bling goons boasting about stock options. The nature of “Real Life” celebrity has made our world turn a blind eye to being unique, individualistic, and most importantly, talented.
The Relax Bar drew a modest crowd for this Thursday’s show, thanks to the cold winter air and rain. However, this didn’t stop me from bearing the elements to witness Year of the Dragon. The L.A. based five piece was established by founding Fishbone member, “Dirty Walt” Kibby. The band took an unusually long time to set up for their performance. This began making the crowd a little anxious. The group had to set up in front of the clubs small stage, to fit the drum kit. I could tell in an instant that intonation is number one priority for these guys. After a few small last minute adjustments, the group started their set. The band filled the room with a fiery of busy, distorted instrumentation, particularly lead guitarist JMR. His flashy guitar work was sharp and precise as the band cranked out the first song which was instrumental. Afterward, the group jumped into the incredibly catchy title anthem “Year of the Dragon” which had the audience going. Many rose to their feet dancing wildly, saluting the band with fist waving. Fans shouted the choruses in sort of call and response neo metal homily. Dirty Walt and lead vocalist, Rodrerick “Rodcore” shared vocal tag team duty on the stage. Roderick vocal qualities were on display in abundance although sometimes strained from exhaustion. However, the vocalist had supercharged stage presence bobbing and thumping bare foot in front the crowd. Kibby looking like black plutocrat, was stationed on the far left swayed and grinned between singing granting the band they’re chance at audience spectacle. Unfortunately, our hardcore funk musical collective took too much time to set up. I was left wanting more after only seven songs.