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show review: In The Red, Casbah, 9/4/10

Casbah’s Back Room Gets In The Red

(with The Long and Short of It , Rats Eyes , Terremoto, Gloomsday and Burl)

Review and photos by Sean Ross

In the days of yore in the land of yon when bands were ushered through the rites of passage amid Christmas lights, low ceilings, and throw rugs—where admirers could get up close, sans stage, on the same level as the performers and feel the sin and musk that rock and roll was their mums had warned them about—is what it’s like to be in the back room of the Casbah when In The Red
is playing.

In The Red, a local San Diego band that resembles a cross-pollination of melodic rock and metal, something like The Black Keys and Motorhead, waged a powerful and intimate performance in front of pleased crowd that, yes, resembled a gathering in the basement of your friend’s mom’s house years ago (with the addition of a menacing pink panther over their shoulders, of course). To be sure, from the performers’ perspective, such close performances are perhaps the most difficult; to be eye level, sharing the breath and sweat of your audience, where every little nuance is observed and scrutinized (albeit under a beer battered haze) is a little intimidating to say the least. But it is also reason for performers, superconscious as they always are, to go beyond their normal threshold, pushed for the need to exceed critical expectations of an inebriate and cynical crowd. So, while brimming with observable anxiety (little shakes of the hand, sparse eye contact, and terse but humorous jokes), the bearded trio harnessed their energy and transformed the small room into a concert fit for, what else, but the main stage. This hirsute chinned entourage, clad respectively in pearl snap-aways, leather and handcuffs, and a kilt (indeed a motley crew) played songs that varied from metallic crunch to airy harmonies as each member, distinct in their individual appearances, contributed their own style of lyrics to the playlist.

Music has a tendency to gain momentum when two instruments couple and march through modal scales together, and when In The Red harmonizes with powerful scales, they sound larger than the trifecta portends to be. But just when things get going and our accustomed ears yearn for dramatic tension, that over the top, “oh my god, fucking unbelievable!” they hold back. But don’t doubt when you see this band in the near future, they’ll have already crossed the threshold and be raging on the other side, or perhaps, above you from the stage.

~SR

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