Spitalfield / Saosin / The Bled - live in Cleveland (Cover Artwork)

Spitalfield / Saosin / The Bled

live in Cleveland (2003)

live show

First off this is more of an impression than a review, but call it what you will. I loved the old Grog Shop, full of grime, smoke, band photos, stickers and graffiti on all the walls and floor. It had the worst men's room I've ever used. The sound sucked, but if you stood in the right spot it was ok, I'll definitely miss this place, R.I.P. Now onto the new Grog Shop, which was relocated just up the hill. I walked in and all I could smell was fresh paint. The place has a nice layout, it's much larger than the previous location. As you walk in there's a longer bar on the right, you proceed past the game machines, and jukebox on the left and you see the stage. It's the perfect size for a 5 piece band. Much larger than the picnic table size stage the old location had. After approaching the stage, turn left and there's a side area with a counter for merch and two loading doors! The loading doors are a nice addition. There are plenty of stools and little tables, and trays next to the pillars throughout, and the bathrooms, well you can actually wash your hands and go #2.

Ok enough of that, as always the Grog Shop is notoriously late. This show slated for 7 ended up starting well after 8. This sucks, because they had a second show scheduled and this cut into the bands' time. Oh well, they could of played longer if the first band would have just set up, instead of waiting around for more people, I think 5 more people strolled in. The turn out had a whopping total of about 40 people (including 14 band members and the 5 Grog Shop employees). It was early, but come on Cleveland.

First up: the Bled. I was already a little annoyed with them just moping along setting up and hanging around. The sound guy tried to get them to start, they did about 20 minutes after he asked. This pissed me off, because now all the bands lost about 3-4 songs. Oh well. The music was fast, slow, scream, scream... It was ok. They sounded off to me, maybe it was their travelling, I don't know. They had great energy and got some of the kids moving a little. They had some good ideas, but just seemed off. I don't know any song names, because everytime the singer started to anounce the name, a guitarist would strum some annoying chord, I caught only the first and last syllable of most names.

Next: Saosin. I've heard good things about these guys. I heard one song previously and thought it was ok. Live, they are much better than their recordings. Full of energy, tight musically, and fun to watch. Imagine the character Puck from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream", dancing around with his mischievous smile wearing gymshorts and donning a Friar Tuck-sish hair style singing very high pitched melody and throwing in some hardcore screams. This was the lead singer. Definitely fun to watch, with the ballerina arm movements and all. I don't like high "prog rock" pitched vocals, but this singer's odd stage presence made it somewhat enjoyable. My only complaint goes to the sound guy: the guitarist on stage right kept moving his lips, but we couldn't hear a thing, it would have been nice to see a little contrasting vocals. They played songs off their EP, which I picked up after the show. The best song they played, however was the last one and it was new. If you like the EP, they sound much better live.

Finally: Spitalfield. I read Megan's review a few months back, downloaded their cd from emusic. Definitely one of the summer fun bands. These guys are tight. They are full of energy and despite the somewhat cheesy lyrics they had me wanting to bust out the moves. It sucked that the people at the show were all too "cool" to move up and jump around a little. I caught many feet tapping along, however. Super short but very enjoyable set. They only played about 7 songs, all off the new album. I couldn't help but laugh when someone behind me said the lead singer looked a little like that American Idol guy with the goofy ears, because of how he looked when singing and bobbing around. If you like their new album, you've got to see them live. But if you go, please give up your pretencious "punk coolness" and dance around a little!

Despite the late start, short sets, and a few sound issues, this was a great show. The sound at the new Grog is much better than the old location. We'll just have to wait for the paint fumes to clear and the smoke gets into the walls before calling it home.