Concert Review: Atlas the Atom Smasher (CD Release)@ UML Fox Common

Artists: Atlas the Atom Smasher, Big Mess, Bella Birds, In the Direction of the Sun, and Crashing Cars
Date: Friday, March 2, 2012
Venue: UMass Lowell Fox Common (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Crashing Cars– Nice alliteration in the title! Crashing Cars is seriously a great way to describe this band, there’s a lot of aggression to their performance and they play driving, loud, fast rock music.  I definitely get a lot of early to mid 90s  grunge vibes and there is a lot of emotion in each of their songs. and the performance itself.  It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but they are undeniably talented musicians and I can imagine there is a decent amount of appeal for their angsty approach to this style of music. Check out their band camp page here: http://crashingcars.bandcamp.com/

Act II: In the Direction of the Sun– Unfortunately, much of the audience that witnessed Crashing Cars vanish in the time between Act I and II. Which is a  damn shame because these guys really rock hard and give it their A game … for just the four or five of us that are left standing there. It is a set full of tesosterone fueled, angry, death metal/hardcore blast after blast. Once again, this isn’t my kind of music, but I commend them for a charismatic and passionate performance, especially considering the sudden decrease in attendance. At times, I feel like it is the death metal version of Atlantic Thrills, which of course is a great “I don’t give a fuck, let’s just have fun and go wild!” attitude. The best attitude to have. If you’re big  into heavier, more diabolical stuff check these guys out here: http://inthedirectionofthesunma.bandcamp.com/

Act III: Bella Birds– Next up is Bella Birds, a charming folk duo with strong hooks and strong harmonies. A bit more people show up and it is cool to see yet another transition in genre/style/approach, which is a characteristic I always note about thse Fox Common shows. Their performance is engaging and they interact well with the audience, often with light humor and positivity. Here’s the link to their site:  http://www.thebellabirds.com/

Act IV: Big Mess– Ahh yes, the mighty Big Mess. Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, but Big Mess is a massive exception. This trio rocks and kills it at each and every show. The bands plays slow, haunting quasi metal/hardcore with an equal proportion of sludge and pop sensibility. The songs aren’t poppy, but all of them have incredible hooks that get stuck in my head on a daily basis. When I wear my badass, redneck esque snowboots “The Hook” instantly pops in my head, for example. If I worked out I’m sure Big Mess would appear on my playlist. During this performance I hear a lot of My War/Slip It In era Black Flag in their music.  The Big Mess on this evening is no different than the Big Mess on any other evening, but I walk away with those early hardcore/crossover metal, mid 80s-SST vibes. I see a lot of similarities in the two bands, though Big Mess is more in control in their musicianship, it’s less chaotic, but just as cathartic. I’ve seen them several times now and the sets are always familiar, but it never gets old, the songs are strong enough that it’s  always refreshing. http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act V: Atlas the Atom Smasher– Atlas the Atom Smasher is one of the hardest working local bands in Boston and tonight’s show is a celebration for the release of their latest CD, The Snowmiser Suite, a 12 minute punk epic about the impending apocalypse. Despite the dour subject matter behind the muisc, Atlas is infinitely positive and enthusiastic, especially drummer Tyler Bisson, and this is reflected in their music. They play loud, fast punk driven songs, but with a bit more variation and experimentaion than most bands that fall under that category. The sound is incredibly loud and much of that can be attributed to the Fox Common’s permanent ear damaging PA, but it certainly fit really well with the music. Their performance overall is impressive as is The Snowmiser Suite itself. Give it some much earned ear time: http://atlastheatomsmasher.bandcamp.com/album/the-snowmiser-suite