Thursday, May 24, 2012

Janus rules the roost with appealing blend of 2000s style alt rock

When I'm scanning concert calendars for local music venues, I typically have a good idea in mind of what I'm looking for. But when I saw Janus was playing at The End Wednesday night, it gave me pause. I did a review of their Red Right Return album way back when I was DJ'ing at MTSU. I didn't find anything particularly life affirming on that record, but it was a nice blend of hard rock and metal with uplifting vocals. And the veteran quartet out of Chicago certainly didn't mess anything up on that record. So for $10, why not, for old time's sake?

Janus singer David Scotney makes his point at The End Wednesday night.

Janus's sound draws parallels with Taproot, Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin, who I always thought of as three of the better bands from the 2000s alt rock era. Janus has always made great use of melody, and with the release of the new album, Nox Aries, it seems they've gotten a bit heavier as well. Numbers like "Promise to No One" pumped more intensity than I recall hearing from their previous works. Bassist Alan Quitman could regularly be seen hunched over, delivering thick and propulsive bass lines, while frontman David Scotney wowed the crowd with a frenetic performance.

Question the Chaos's Michael Ashley pours his heart out.
He had great energy, often tilting up his microphone stand and hopping into the audience. Which is why it was a shame that his sound wasn't better. Scotney's vocal style has long been one of Janus's defining characteristics, so I was a bit bummed because he could barely be heard over the din of the band behind him. Technical issues aside, I can't fault the effort of
the band. I still didn't find anything life altering, nor did I expect to. But they did their best to put on a good
show, and it was generally successful.

The act before them was equally impressive.
Nashville's own Question the Chaos formed from the rubble of Forgotten Fable, and they made a great case for not being forgotten anytime soon. The musicianship was fantastic, Tim Gleaves orchestrated some great guitar solos, and vocalist Michael Ashley showed off a great voice with superior technical ability.

Punk/rock/metallers Pretty Orphan kicked off the night with a spoken word monologue about abused children at an orphanage which came across as rather cheesy. It seemed like everything Janie Doll learned about fronting a band was pulled straight from a high school drama class. Freshman year.

Her stage rants urging the crowd to get drunk, and flipping middle fingers into the air came across as rather sophomoric. Also regrettable was J-Rok's decision to try to play guitar behind his head, when clearly no one in the band had the chops to make that look convincing. However, the instrumentation itself wasn't bad, and Doll displayed some real rancor in the first few songs to get the crowd up and going.

Pretty Orphan had a few things to get off their chest.

Also check out - my original review on Janus's Red Right Return!

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