Damn, that's a lot of wires. The thought continually ran through my mind as Herra Terra (herraterra.com) made their way to the small stage and filled it with triple-decker keyboards and an insane amount of cables which inevitably sealed their fate, as their set was cut in half due to technical problems. A projection screen displayed some trippy images to accompany soaring, electro-melodic cuts from their 2010 full-length Quiet Geist ("Ejection Seats" is a beast). Singer John Tonelli has vastly improved since their Rock Hunt semifinal appearance at Jerky's last year, and drummer Brad Caetano hits harder than just about anyone I've seen, but as a judge next to me noted, "The last three songs were all pretty good, but they all sounded exactly the same."
LAND OF THE LOOPS
The random order of bands performing at the Rock Hunt Finals happened to be in the exact order of each semifinal winner. VulGarrity (vulgarrity.fourfour.com) won the opener at Newport Grand a few weeks back, and being chosen as the opening band at the Finals could be deemed a kiss of death.
"Yeah, we were a little bummed, but it didn't affect our performance much," Shawn said. "When we get on stage, we get into this zone regardless of what's going on around us. We've always been confident in what we do."
>> PHOTOS: "WBRU Rock Hunt with VulGarrity, Herra Terra, Last One Out, and The Death of Paris" by Richard McCaffrey <<
They were slightly bummed but clearly not fazed judging by their airtight set of dance floor-friendly cuts from their horror-infused sophomore release Dance 2 the Grave (equal parts Queens of the Stone Age and Love Gun-era KISS), including "Freakshow" and "Boogeyman." Their trademark on-the-fly song construction of feeding riffs through loop pedals never gets stale, particularly when observing first-timers watch these two in action. Shawn even fed some vocal phonetics through the loop grinder for the new cut "Party Like a Mother******." At one point Shawn was singing while playing bass and keys and never missed a note. Tracy, sporting a sleeveless "What Would Wendy-O Do?" T-shirt, took control of the rhythm and everyone in the room when she slid behind the kit for a cover of C+C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now," rapping along while older brother Shawn nailed the falsetto chorus (his vocals channel Josh Homme and Paul Stanley like no other). The room was in full-on dance mode, while judge Trevor Gould (of 2009 Rock Hunt winners Fairhaven) turned to me with a look of disbelief: "They are just incredible musicians, it's so difficult to do what they're doing, and they make it look so easy."
Shawn touched base just prior to deadline and announced that the duo (and merch overseer Vully the Vulture) will work in a few regional mini-tours this year, and are currently in the early stages of plotting a European tour for next year. In the meantime, head to the Ruins at the Colosseum on May 13 for the VulGarrity: The Series premiere party and live show.