Sounds of the Underground: Bungler, The Traditional, and Skylime at Basement Transmission
Witnessing the beauty in the destruction of a drumkit.
Ever since I started watching videos of Nirvana live performances on YouTube back in high school, I've been dying to see a band demolish their drum set at the end of their show. I'm surprised it's taken this long, but on May 10 at Basement Transmissions, it finally happened.
I spoke with the drummer of one of the opening bands, Bungler, after their set. He told me that they chose their band name because "It basically means to f--- shit up" – and that's exactly what they did on stage.
Bungler played one of the wildest and most extreme sets I've ever seen. For those not in the know already, they're a three-piece band made up of a vocalist, a drummer, and only one guitarist – who ran his axe out of two separate amps. As soon as their first song began, they became a chaotic whirlwind of energy, and they never relented. The drummer beat his kit like he was trying to actually break it, and the frontman rolled around on the floor continually smacking himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. It was kind of like watching a PG-version of GG Allin.
At the end of their last song, the vocalist started to grab the cymbals and toss them across the room while the drummer knocked over his snare and bass drum and continued to beat them until the last guitar chords stopped ringing out, allowing my inner punk spirit to be at rest having finally witnessed the demolishing of a drum set.
Up next was The Traditional.
Other than the fact that their emo fused with indie rock sound reminded me a lot of Taking Back Sunday, what stood out most to me about them was their perfectly balanced leveling of their instruments. Usually in a small place like Basement Transmissions, most of the sounds coming from the amps and PA system are mashed together in a sonic melting pot. But The Traditional sounded like true professionals. Both the rhythm and lead guitars could be heard clearly and complimenting each other, the bass guitar was powerful but not overbearing, and most importantly, the vocals weren't drowned out by the instruments. The Traditional's set sounded as close to a recording as a live performance can without lip-syncing.
If there's one band that truly deserves the title "unique", it's Skylime. They play an admittedly weird combination of metal, pop-rock, and ska, and according to their vocalist their new music is going to get even weirder.
Despite combining styles that are complete opposites of each other, Skylime was an extremely entertaining band to watch. One minute they'd be hammering out a mosh-worthy breakdown with the ferocity of a Norse god, and then instantly transition into a smooth progression of clean, groovy jazz chords. They also undoubtedly had the best participating crowd of the night, with a large group of kids moshing, dancing, and "skanking" along with them.
There were a lot of mixed genres at this show, which I usually find to be the most fun. Bringing musicians in from all ends of the musical spectrum together in harmony are – to me – what places like Basement Transmissions are all about – even if not all the drum sets live to tell the tale.
Tommy Shannon can be contacted at TommyXShannon@Gmail.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @txkx.