Radio Moscow, The Flying Eyes, Max Pain and the Groovies @ Urban 10.22

Posted October 25, 2011 in

Radio Moscow. Photo: Kyle Aaron Lacy
The doors opened to a meager crowd at ten, and the general feeling was a little bit quiet and sparse. Nobody was really setting up, so most patrons just started the night with a few drinks while the venue played us some tracks from the new Radio Moscow record. About an hour later, people really started streaming in--and as Max Pain and the Groovies started setting up the stage, the attitude in the room felt more exciting. Though nobody braved the dance floor, all eyes were on the local quintet.

All the while, a couple of mysterious folks were tinkering with a lo-fi art installation, using overhead projectors to cast swirling liquid art onto a sheet hung over the back wall of the stage. When I asked the man mainly responsible, he introduced himself to me as Lance “The Mad Alchemist,” who apparently learned his craft from the “Brotherhood of White.” I was skeptical, but Lance's mad alchemy resulted in some truly awesome visuals that bobbed and surged with the first few notes of the show and on into the rest of the night.

By the middle of the first song, hardly anyone in the place could sit down. Everyone migrated to the dance floor and started doing the warm-up shuffle, eventually sliding deep into the bluesy psychedelic jams of Max Pain and the Groovies. Vocals ranted and wailed through a powerful ensemble of kinetic riffs and bright melodies. Everything felt exceptionally precise and well played. Even with a more experimental sound, they never failed to get people up and dancing, inspiring a very positive atmosphere in the steadily growing crowd.

Over the course of the first set, the Urban Lounge got a lot busier, and the crowd gathered near the bar started into their second and third drinks, a few of them stumbling around happily as The Flying Eyes discreetly began setting up. After the sound check, the crowd took a moment to turn around and take notice. Starting off a little slow, the band eventually crafted their bluegrass-inspired intro into a heavy, fuzzy desert doom vibe that shook the place up. Dancing gave way to a little thrashing and headbanging, but it was all in good fun as each song crescendoed into fast, rollicking riffs reminiscent of Kyuss' early stoner doom career.

As the music of The Flying Eyes receded, Radio Moscow fans gathered at the edge of the dance floor, waiting until the absolute last minute to rush the stage. Most of the crowd headed back to the bar, and the rowdy party vibe took over. Everyone seemed to be having fun, some talking about previous Radio Moscow shows they'd attended, most looking over their shoulders at the stage. The setup was comparatively brief, and the crowd started pushing towards the front before the sound check was even finished.

From note one, Radio Moscow killed. Parker Griggs' guitar playing was unearthly groovy, his funky flourishes and hoarse, soulful vocals combined to make him a powerful stage presence throughout the show. His body rocked back and forth with the power of his mighty guitar, while Zach Anderson and Cory Berry backed him up with an unflinching, nonstop rhythm. Wild melodies spurred some truly crazy crowd antics as fans pushed eagerly towards the front, turning the stagefront into a wildly waving frenzy of scrambling, dancing fans. If you could even call it dancing--people were moving to some deeper beat in the music, that classic psychedelic rock vibe that gives Griggs' music its cycling, hypnotic quality. Beer spilled out of hands all over the dance floor, and by the end of the night everyone had a bit of sweat, filth and alcohol stench to them. Lance's alchemy was applied in full force during the set, cycling through warm reds and oranges as it spun against the stage lights showering the crowd in bright red light. Radio Moscow's material was impeccably performed and sounded somehow larger than their three-man ensemble. As the final song ended, the band walked offstage, clearly indicating to the crowd that they weren't going to come back on for an encore. The disappointment was momentary, however, as the dance floor swarmed the merch booth after the show, where the band offered signings. All in all, Radio Moscow put on a great show, and I saw smiles all around as everyone journeyed off into the mild October evening.
Radio Moscow. Photo: Kyle Aaron Lacy