**This show review is an archive from my blog Johnny Ringo Reviews. This show review is one of my favorites due to the reaction it got online from the art gallery crowd, and from the local music scene. The day I put this up, I got to see the first flame-war started from something I created and I couldn’t be prouder.**
For this week’s show review I decided to hit up the August Downtown Gallery Crawl which took place in Art Alley in Monroe, La. The Downtown Gallery Crawl is by far, one of the coolest things that takes place in this town in my opinion. The Downtown Gallery Crawl is and event hosted by the Downtown Art Alliance which takes place in downtown Monroe & West Monroe that’s designed to bring attention to the various local galleries, restaurants, and live entertainment that Monroe/West Monroe have to offer, and this one was particularly special to me because two of my favorite local bands The Heritage and Mailbomber were playing.
*Update* If you’d like to view a point of view of the show from The Heritage, check out this tour diary.
When I first showed up, the band Murder Of Crows was performing a pretty listener-friendly mix of classic rock and blues and set a pretty relaxed atmosphere perfect for perusing the artwork available in the different galleries. Next door to all of the art galleries, however, is a place commonly referred to as “the practice room”, which is basically a huge warehouse that features various rooms where local bands hang out and practice and whatnot. For the Gallery Crawl, they set up a P.A. in the parking lot of the practice room and allowed a few local bands to play. The first band I saw was Paralycircus who are a band new to the local scene. They are all very young and you could tell they have alot of potential. The next band to play was The Heritage. This is the second time I’ve seen them with their new vocalist Garrett and I think the deeper vocals suit them very well. While watching The Heritage play, I noticed alot of random passers-by dressed up nicely in dresses and suits and polo shirts and whatnot, and every one of them had a disgusted look on their face, which I thought was just adorable. Despite being asked to turn down, and even an attempt to shut their set down by an angry gallery owner, The Heritage were able to finish their set and get out of dodge.
When The Heritage finished, Mailbomber began setting up, and even while doing a soundcheck Dave was asked to keep his amp turned down, in fact his vocals were set at an inaudible level before they even began playing. At this point, you could tell by talking to random people perusing the art that they were incredibly upset at the loud, raucous music they were being subjected to, something that made me chuckle. With the impending threat of being shut down before they even got to play, Mailbomber started their set. Mailbomber is a band with an incredibly heavy doom influence courtesy of guitarist David Fluke and when they began, his sludgy, toxic riffs infiltrated the air and slowly began to bring about a total bummer. The funny thing about this show was, despite the fact that all of the people dressed nice and ready to look at art were super pissed, this was definitely the largest crowd Mailbomber has ever had for a show in Monroe, there were even some folks who didn’t appear to be metalheads watching them and approving. Eventually they were asked to cut their set short, but the damage was already done in my opinion.
Monroe is one of those towns where underground music isn’t really encouraged or given the opportunity to flourish, as evidenced by there only being one venue (Tsunami) in town that promotes underground bands instead of acoustic covers of Nickelback and Seven Mary Three. Therefore, I think it’s kind of awesome that two heavy local bands got a chance to play to a crowd that would normally never come to one of their shows thanks to an effort from the Downtown Art Alliance. Though the heart was in the right place to get these bands some much needed exposure, hopefully there will be a more concerted effort next time to get these bands in a venue more appropriate. With that said, the reason I found it funny that everyone got so upset about these two local bands impeding on their event one heavy riff at a time is because I’m a firm believer that music should be dangerous. I’m a huge fan of genres like punk and grind where music is used as a weapon against the mainstream and the fact that a couple of local bands were able to stir up a frenzy at a city sponsored event was kind of awesome to me and felt very much like something Black Flag or The Dead Kennedys would do back in their day.
Once the metal bands were done for the day and Murder Of Crows were done, I noticed some weird noises coming from that tent, so I decided to investigate. What I found was local photographer Jeremy Thornhill beatboxing with a local rapper, when the drummer of Murder Of Crows, Trey Lemoine, and Chris of The Flying Humanoids began to jam with them. It was definitely nice to see something completely improvised sound so awesome.
Overall, thanks to the awesome atmosphere of downtown Monroe as well as the awesome galleries in Art Alley and the mixed crowd of metalheads and art aficionados, I’d say this is one of the funnest events I’ve attended in quite a while and hope more things like this happen in the city in the future.