My Ticket Home with Sights Sounds, I Am King, Night Verses, I Am The Ocean @ The Shred Shed 08.07

Posted August 13, 2013 in
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My Ticket Home played like beasts. Photo: Matt Brunk

For SLUG's end-of-the-year wrap-up last year, I chose My Ticket Home's To Create A Cure as one of my Top 5 albums, and I've been watching the news for a while, waiting for my chance to hear them live. There's just something about them that I loved right away, especially after watching the video for “New Breed.” Plenty of bands do the heavy-and-light mix, but I thought there was a genuine passion in their take, an earnestness that stood out to me. Touring to promote their new album, Strangers Only, they finally announced a Salt Lake show in the second half, bringing along Night Verses and I Am King to round out the bill. I didn't know much about either of them, but it didn't take long for me to become a Night Verses fan as soon as I realized that Douglas Robinson (formerly the vocalist for The Sleeping) was rocking the mic. Lift Your Existence, their first full-length together, is simply amazing. Particularly lengthy, but without a minute of waste, it's great hearing Robinson's voice with so much bite and with so much sonic fury backing him up. Excellent stuff—I recommend it.

All of my Downtown trips since Make Do And Mend in May have included a stop by the Pie Hole for a quick slice and beer, and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon. Including tonight, where my girlfriend and I dined on the finest cheap grub this city has to offer. If you think there's something else finer, then I'd like to point out the fact that the Pie Hole serves pizza, and your case is now irrelevant. You can't beat pizza, and you can't beat cheap pizza. Incredibly excited to see the opening local band, Sights Sounds, and partially due to some bad information, we walked over to the venue about an hour before the show started, with plenty of time to enjoy the Heavy Metal Shop street art and muse about how valuable this street is to the city, tucked-away in the middle of things and full of so much music. 
Straight back onto the Shred Shed stage after a successful West Coast tour, I'm a fan of these guys and was stoked to see them on the bill for this show. If you like bands from The Wave, you'll definitely love Sights Sounds, although they've got a sound all of their own that makes them stand out. They've been playing a lot of new stuff lately, and I've been told that a new EP is being put together. Soft, sweet vocals erupting in passionate, La Dispute–esque yells and screams, consistently tight and intricate guitars—it's emotional stuff that sounds great on disc and translates amazingly well live.
The next band was the one that I knew the least about, Pennsylvania-based I Am King. Sporting a dual-vocalist screamer-singer combo, they're pretty standard stuff for the metalcore/pop-punk combination genre. I was also surprised that neither vocalist carried an instrument, as is usual with the genre, which swelled their numbers to a full six-piece. It was a little on the poppy side of the genre, which didn't fit with the very not-poppy lineup they were billed with, and stuck out quite a bit. I think they'd do fine with a group of bands more to their style, but on this particular night most people decided it was time to get some night air and cleared the way for the one or two headbangers still rocking the vibe. They gave it a shot, and good for them for coming to Salt Lake and living their dream on the road, but it was the wrong crowd and the wrong sound for the night.
Finally time for the first of the headliners, My Ticket Home took the stage. They're a fairly traditional-looking post-hardcore band, aside from Nick Giumenti, their singer and bassist. He looks born to be a rock star, with that classic 90’s-era, don’t give a fuck grunge look of somebody who roams the road from city to city in search of his next gig. That crazy hair, man, it’s a good look, like Kurt Cobain’s little bro. Anyways, they also play like fucking beasts, so it doesn’t matter so much what they look like. I was surprised by their sound, on account of it being a hell of a lot harder than usual. Instead of the back-and-forth between light and heavy, it was all heavy, taking out of the clean vocal interludes that I was expecting from their album. I don’t know if somebody pissed in their Cheerios or what, but they’re angry and it sounds fantastic. Surprised by the lack of singing, but not disappointed, not even slightly. They played a bunch of songs that I wasn’t overly familiar with, also previewing their brand new single “Spit Not Chewed” before it came out last Friday. I’m not sure what to expect from Strangers Only, even more now than ever, but I’m looking forward to taking a bite out of what they’ve been cooking.
I’m not overly knowledgable about how a line-up is created, but as a show-goer I’ve noticed that usually the headliner plays at the end of the night. It seemed to confuse the other bands as much as it confused me that I Am The Ocean was playing the fourth slot after My Ticket Home, as every band called out a different order and finally I gave up and assumed I’d see them when I’d see them. Apparently tonight was the Broship initiation for the Night Verses fellows, and I Am The Ocean was needed to anoint them in their holy rock 'n' roll oils. You ought to know who I Am The Ocean is already, as they’ve got a massive and incredibly loyal fan-base that they’ve earned with their impossibly charismatic, energetic and all-around fucking sick shows. I’ve caught a couple before, and the passion was as unabated as ever. I don’t know where vocalist Dreu Hudson gets all of his energy, considering all of his projects, but he’s one of the most consistently energetic and wild vocalists I’ve seen in SLC, and his bands never slouch either. I Am The Ocean fucking rocks.
Closing out the night, Night Verses decided to take things in a sexier direction with some sensual mood-lighting for their set. While not exactly conducive to photo-taking (and the reason why I don’t have any shots of their set), the one single light bursting free from the kickdrum looked sick and it made for an effectively unique experience. They opened with “From The Shadows Where I'm Low” off of their first EP, followed up by “Introducing: The Rot Under The Sun,” the opening track off of their new album. I Am The Ocean is energetic as hell, but Night Verses kicked things up another couple notches for sure. Screaming in fans’ faces, jumping into the crowd, embracing over-excited crowd-surfers—it was fantastic. A bonus highlight goes to drummer Aric Improta for being one of those delightfully stunt-happy drummers, standing up on his stool during a soft part to yell at the crowd before jumping off right as the breakdown hits.
Thanks to all the bands for playing their hearts out, and thanks again to everybody at the Shred Shed for continuing to kick so much ass at putting together these excellent shows. Don't forget to check out Night Verses' new album, Lift Your Existence, already available, and keep an ear out for My Ticket Home's Strangers Only out Sept. 9.
My Ticket Home played like beasts. Photo: Matt Brunk My Ticket Home frontman Nick Giumenti has hair that shows that he was born to play rock n' roll. Photo: Matt Brunk My Ticket Home kept the tunes all heavy. Photo: Matt Brunk I Am The Ocean's Dreu Hudson melting hearts. Photo: Matt Brunk Dreu Hudson of I Am The Ocean belting out some post-hardcore vocals. Photo: Matt Brunk I Am The Ocean frontman Dreu Hudson helps keep his band's set energetic and fun. Photo: Matt Brunk Sights Sounds features melodic vocal bits amid the heavy fervor of their music. Photo: Matt Brunk Sights Sounds exhibit tight, intricate guitar playing. Photo: Matt Brunk Though a bit out of place on the bill, I Am Kinge executed poppy post-hardcore with aplomb during their set. Photo: Matt Brunk