An Evening with Project 86 at the House of Blues Anaheim

Posted: April 14, 2008 by Chad in Music Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

It’s always a privilege to see Project 86, a privilege I practice every time the opportunity arises. I caught them the other night in beautiful Central Orange County. More specifically, Downtown Disney where you can find people of all shapes and few shades. Yes, the center of commerce for the city of Anaheim, where you can get all the Legos, Build-A-Bears and bland mexican food (sorry, tortilla jo) that your heart desires.

Before entering the House of Blues, my cohort Jeff and I grabbed a burrito; and what did I noticed as I consumed my flavorless pocket o’ carbs? If you said “graffiti,” you win a burrito! “Now Chad,” you’re saying, “from how you’ve described Downtown Disney so far, it seems like a family place, I mean Disney is in the name, for crying out loud!” You needn’t worry faithful reader, the graffiti etched into the tabletop wasn’t anything to be afraid of. No racial slurs, other bad language or gang affiliations, just the familiar figure of mickey mouse ears. Some youth felt so strongly that the public had to be aware of this, he defaced a company’s property with their own logo. Forgive the horrible picture, I didn’t check the settings.

the face of insubordination

the face of insubordination

The first band up was The Becoming, a dance rock band that seemed to have a dress code (besides all black attire) of a sleeve of tattoos. Not two, just one, but everyone in the band had one. They had their act together and will fit nicely in the opening slot for their Tooth and Nail tours to come.

Up next was the anticipated Neon Horse, a band whose members were not disclosed to the public. Some smarty-pants detective type looked up public ASCAP records and found that all rights to their songs belong to Stavesacre frontman Marc Solomon. Under the pseudonyn Norman Horse, he led the group in a tight musical performance with more energy than their studio records do justice.

Neon Horse

Classic Crime filled the support slot and the crowd began singing along. Crime is a dynamic group with a charismatic lead singer that connected with the audience well.

The Anaheim show was the first on the west coast tour so frontman Andrew Schwab referred to us as “lab-rats.” I don’t know how much experimenting they were planning on doing because I didn’t see any. In fact, their stage props and opening intro over the PA were identical to last time they played here. Had I not known this was their first show on the tour, I would have guessed it their last. They seemed tired and the songs weren’t seamless.

Jeff and I were able to get into VIP, before Project started, a man in his 60s sat down next to me. Expecting him to say he had brought his son to the show, I asked the man if he was a big Project 86 fan. To my surprise he replied: “My son is in the band.” It turned out to be Mr. Torres, Randy’s dad and we had a nice talk about the bands history, recent tour of Australia and direction they are heading. Randy now lives in Seattle with a job as an engineer at Tooth and Nail. I jokingly asked if I could meet them after and he said he’d see what he could do (he didn’t have much of a sense of humor).

The most poignant time in 86’s set was when they played the much requested PS for the first time in years, complete with interlude in Japanese. The haunting guitar riff with dynamic swell into Schwab’s shrieks brought tears to my eyes.

As soon as they were finished and off the stage, Mr. Torres bolted, I think he was afraid I’d hold him to getting me a meet and greet.

The Breakdown:
Number of songs played “requested” by fans: 4
Number of songs played in encore: 2
Number of high school girls in mosh pit: 2
Number of seconds they lasted in the pit: 30
Number of men older than 40 in mosh pit: 2
Number of seconds they lasted: 2
Richter scale of bad burrito in stomach: 5.2
Number of $6 cans of beer bought at House of Blues: 0

  1. Nice review Chad!!! Reading it made me feel as if I was there with you. I would have had tears in my eyes over “PS” as well. Maybe I can try and bring 86 out to Idaho…if I do, you would have to fly out.

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