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Old 05-05-2006, 11:56 AM   #1
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Secret Machines in LA Last Night

I caught The Secret Machines at the pretty tiny El Ray Theater in LA last night.

These guys are going to be huge, mark my words. I mean, U2, Led Zep, Pink Floyd huge.

The El Ray theater is probably the size of a small movie theater with a high ceiling and a small balcony area, maybe holds about 800 people tops. The last time I saw a show there was in late '03 for Killing Joke.

Walking in, right off I knew this was going to be something unique.

The stage was in the round, set up the middle of the floor, which because the floor isn't much bigger than a large living room, means the stage took up the entire floor, butting right up to the soundboard near the back of the room. This meant people only stood at the furthest, maybe 20 feet back from the stage, in fact people could stand on the regular elevated stage most acts normally use for shows here. They had the speakers and lights on a circular rig over the stage that I'd guess was about 25 feet in diameter and all their guitars, amps and gear was rather haphazardly stacked on a few risers under the rig with each of the three members facing each other with their back pretty much to the audience. In a way, there really wasn't a perfect spot to stand, but there really wasn't a bad spot either. Throughout the show, I stood right next to the drummer, right behind the singer/keyboard player, and lastly, moved over near the guitarist, all within about 5 feet of the players at all times.

They played a pretty balanced mix of the best material off their 2 albums, leading off with their current single, "Alone Jealous and Stoned" followed by "The Road Leads Where It's Led." Most of the songs were extended beyond the album versions with long, drawn out passages and although there was a point mid set where it kind of dragged a bit, I really can't fault the set overall.

Musically, the three are faultless players and really tight considering this is the start of a major tour. Their drummer is perhaps the most rock solid and just plain impressive time keeper I've ever seen. The guy sounds like John Bonham reincarnated and is really the lynchpin of the band.

The bands sound is pretty much what you'd get if you had Led Zep's Bonham, The Edge and maybe a grittier, more talented (and less pretentious) version of the singer from Coldplay in a band (although Martin's not really a good example).

The only thing I could say against the band at this point is that they really don't relate to the audience on a personal level at all and have almost zero stage presence, a fact exacerbated by the way the stage is set up so that they face each other and not "up front" on a stage facing the audience like a typical rock band. Still, the set up was like being in someone's living room watching 3 guys on the cusp of something really amazing playing great music for themselves with the audience as intimate bystanders.

The audience was definitely on the quiet side although always into the show, but the always respectful crowd really suited the music perfectly. This wasn't a "rawk" concert.

They had a crew filming the show so maybe this'll show up at some point on a dvd or something.

Seeing tonight's show, I felt the same as when I've seen other bands like Jane's Addiction, U2 and Guns n' Roses just starting out in tiny settings in the 80's, just knowing that I've seen something pretty damn special. Even though they're kind of a throwback to trippy acid rock like early Pink Floyd maybe, it's still nice to see and hear a band taking this kind of music to a new level.

After being a bit disappointed with the new album that just came out a couple weeks back, I thought they could potentially fall into a kind of lukewarm "Coldplay meets Pink Floyd" commercialism in a couple more releases, but frankly, after seeing tonight's show, I think these guys have a great future charting new territory that will defy categorization.

T.B.
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:04 AM   #2
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Hasn't the Edge mentioned this band? I wonder if perhaps the Edge could have slipped in during the show unnoticed?
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:24 AM   #3
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Nice review, Partyslammer. I'm looking forward to catching them on this tour after missing them last time they stopped in their old home of Dallas.

If any of you folks haven't heard these guys yet, do yourself a favor and check them out. One of my favorite bands these days.
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Old 05-08-2006, 08:05 AM   #4
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Originally posted by inmyplace13


If any of you folks haven't heard these guys yet, do yourself a favor and check them out. One of my favorite bands these days.

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Old 05-08-2006, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carek1230
Hasn't the Edge mentioned this band? I wonder if perhaps the Edge could have slipped in during the show unnoticed?
They opened for U2 in Mexico earlier this year.
Good band
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:31 PM   #6
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I am seeing them Saturday. I can't wait!!
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:41 PM   #7
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"1,000 Seconds" is epic, epic, epic stuff.

More bands need to reach for the stars like this tune.

The world would be better.
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:57 PM   #8
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"1,000 Seconds" is epic, epic, epic stuff.

More bands need to reach for the stars like this tune.

The world would be better.

It's definitely my favorite off the new record. I seriously fall more in love with it each time I listen to it. Great song, one of my favorite I've heard in a long, long time.


They're playing ACL so I'm glad that I finally get to see them.
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:49 AM   #9
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I will check them out. Sounds like a great show.
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Old 10-05-2006, 12:22 AM   #10
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Resurrecting an old thread... being a good B&C member


Just got back from seeing these guys in the round... awesome, epic stuff. To say I was blown away is an understatement. These guys represent the possibilities of live shows... just the instruments and musicians, great tunes, and incredible music... (Not to mention that they are also awesome guys... they did a meet and greet for all the fans afterward )

If you haven't seen these guys in concert yet, what are you waiting for?!
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:19 AM   #11
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They kicked ass at ACL.
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