Make Do And Mend, Sights Sounds, Heartless Breakers @ The Shred Shed 05.29

Posted June 7, 2013 in

Made Do And Mend showed that they love SLC by spending their day off from tour playing at The Shred Shed. Photo: Heather McGrath

After the first time I saw Make Do And Mend on tour with Senses Fail, I pledged to myself that I'd never miss a chance to see an MDAM show. I had the opportunity to catch them a second time in Seattle, celebrating the recording of their latest album, Everything You Ever Loved, and have been itching desperately for another chance ever since. When their latest tour was announced, I was one of many who were bummed that they were passing over Salt Lake City this time. I underestimated them, however, being proven wrong shortly after thanks to an announcement for their off date in SLC, coming all the way here just to play a show for us before catching back up with their tourmates for the rest of the haul. Make Do And Mend love SLC, and everyone that showed up proved that we love them, too.

This was going to be my first time at the Shred Shed, and at the suggestion of my SLUGger compatriot, we decided to pregame at the Pie Hole just around the corner. Also my first time at this particular pizza-based establishment, this was a decision that I hold in high esteem. With cheap and delicious pizza, several crazy daily specials and $1 PBR to wash it down with, it’s a great place to warm up for a show. Pizza is always good. Never turn down pizza.
Finally making it to the Shred Shed itself, I was completely blown away with how classy this place is. If you’ve never been there either, it’s an all-ages venue right across the street from the Heavy Metal Shop, and it’s a place to keep an eye on. I’m going to be jumping at the chance to score another show here. Covered in gorgeous street art (including a sweet SLUG piece behind the stage), high ceilings with fancy molding, huge speakers with a shitload of oomph behind them, this place has a warm, friendly vibe perfect for the scene. Calling it a venue doesn’t take into account how important it is to have such a nice, all-ages venue in the middle of the city, however, selling it far too short, and I feel comfortable calling it more of a musical oasis—this is exactly the kind of place that I wish I’d had growing up, and I have to shout-out to Jesse Cassar and the rest of the staff for their efforts in keeping this place alive through so much hardship. You’ve got something special here, and all of your hard work shows.
Opening the night on a damn fine note, Sights Sounds lit up the stage with a charismatic, incredibly tight sound. Reminiscent of other “The Wave” bands like La Dispute and Touché Amoré, fittingly enough considering those bands’ affiliation with MDAM, Sights Sounds puts on a hell of a show and I’m so glad that I got to see them. Unfortunately, that hell of a show came with some hurdles on this particular night, thanks to a tuning disaster that seems to plague every band that only brings one guitar to their performance. “Here's the part where we tune for 10 minutes and it's really awkward,” said vocalist/guitarist Alfonso, seconds before snapping a string and making things super awkward. Instead of a full 10 minutes of awkwardness and a canceled set, however, a kind soul from Heartless Breakers jumped in and gave these fine lads a loaner to play with, and the show continued. Once things got going again, their recovery was flawless, and I’m happy to say that they were just as tight as the first song promised. Check them out on Facebook, and throw them a couple bucks for a spare guitar. They’ll make it worth your dollar.
Next up was a special treat, the debut of brand-new local band Heartless Breakers, made of several veterans bringing some serious game. Their first single, “Bitter Melodies,” is a polished hit that I had streaming over and over in preparation for the show. Delivering on the promise of that single, Heartless Breakers is just as polished and incredibly talented as their curriculum vitae would suggest. Performing a catchy-as-hell pop-punk/emo combination with an edge, reminding me of Futures-era Jimmy Eat World with a little bit of Amber Pacific but with a flair all their own, this is still exactly the kind of music I need on my summer soundtrack. Having only a handful of songs so far, it was a short and sweet set, but it definitely hit the spot. Don’t pass up an opportunity to see these guys. For my part, I plan on nagging them for an album every chance I get.
Last but obviously not least, Make Do And Mend set up their gear and prepared for the rocking of faces. Opening with “Keep This” and diving straight into “Disassemble,” MDAM didn’t waste any time proving again why they are consistently one of my favorite live bands. They never fail to bring the passion, their mix of adult angst and the determination to kick its ass is an optimistic call to arms that you’d be crazy to ignore. James Carroll’s voice is a heat-filled croon that gives incredible weight to already-weighty lyrics, even despite being whipped to Hell by guitarist Mike O’Toole’s “flowing locks,” and I can’t believe how vicious Matt Carroll is on those drums. Holy shit, dude, what kind of budget do you have to have for new drum skins and sticks to keep that up? Apparently, there are recent scientific studies that say drummers are athletically on par with sports athletes—I want to see his scores on that. 
Taking the time out of their set to give their own shout out to the Shred Shed, the band thanked Jesse and the gang and their efforts, expressing their appreciation for DIY venues and for the crowd coming out to support their local venues. A lot of bands like to give face value to supporting scenes like this, but not a lot of bands use their days off to drive out of their way and support a scene themselves. Thanks to all the guys in Make Do And Mend for being such stellar dudes. I’m stoked to be able to support such an inspiring band, and I hope everyone makes it out to their next show here.
Ending with the one-two punch of my personal favorite, “Oak Square.” and the fan-favorite “Unknowingly Strong,” MDAM played their hearts out and finished incredibly strong. The fan next to me yelling along with every lyric would agree that it just wasn’t long enough, but unfortunately for us, we had to let these gentlemen continue on with the rest of their tour. Keeping them to play for us all night like musical pets was not an option, and we said our fond farewells. Thanks to the Pie Hole for having $1 beer and sweet-ass pizza, thanks to the Shred Shed for being a new, local landmark, and thanks to all of the bands for making this a memorable night.
Made Do And Mend showed that they love SLC by spending their day off from tour playing at The Shred Shed. Photo: Heather McGrath