By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Senior Correspondent
Venue: Crowbar, Ybor City/Tampa, Florida–May 9th, 2022
After covering 12 death metal/dark metal/black metal/etc., I was ready to change things up! ( Brass Mug, Orpheum ) So I headed on over to the Crowbar for what promised to be a bit lighter night! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy metal of all types, but 12 bands in a row was enough, I like variety!
So Monday I was looking forward to going Up From Here, and indeed I did!
According to their Facebook, they are a three-piece pop-punk band hailing from Tampa, Florida. Danny on vocals/guitar, Tyler on lead guitar, and Bern on bass/backup vocals. You might have noticed there are four people in the photo above, I’m unsure whether he is a permanent addition or just along for the tour, but he was killing it right alongside of the rest of them! The band’s been together since at least 2017, but there was than two-year COVID catastrophe that interfered with their rise in the music world, but everything’s Up from Here! Well, except for the quality of my jokes, but then, you should be used to that.
Next up was Pet Rock, who may be known for the song “King Sad,” but seemed happy to be here! Also playing with Bad Luck, with whom they first shared the stage in the band’s first appearance on December 5th, 2021! Yes, though you might not believe it when you see them, this is still a baby band, less than a year old, playing a gig in their hometown with some of their idols! Of course, they’re not really new at this, I first met guitarist Mike Raimondi when he was with Hi-Beam, back just before COVID screwed things up in 2020! Great to see you back in action, Mike! And even back then he was no newbie, having played with The Avenue, In The Wake Of, Macrame Owls, and Empire Cinema. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them in the near future!
So you’re here and waiting for the next band, a band from New York called Taking Meds, what will you be expecting? Taking Meds is a band featuring two blonde boys, a wayward wolf, and a former employee of “The Simpsons”. They play songs with some bass and other guitars over drums. A man sings along with some other men. None of them know any languages other than English very well. Steel Wolf thinks he is cool and cultured but really he’s a stupid fucking wolf. That’s someone else’s description, but it sounds accurate to me. Want some lyric examples? “Turn a departure from the ego into an ego trip / Didn’t like what I saw when I pulled my head out of my ass / Photo evidence of a little pond; bloated, dead fish / When I bent over to make my retreat, the exit was latched / No remedy for push and pull / And now my leg is shaking / Still feeling heavy, don’t feel full / And now my phone is ringing / Somebody bludgeoned my left brain / And now congratulations / Robbed me and shoved me on this train / And I don’t want to take it / Shovel in a storm / Bucket in a flood / Pistol in a war, hanging fire from the mud / Turn a departure from the ego into an ego trip / Didn’t like what I saw when I pulled my head out of my ass / Photo evidence of a little pond; bloated, dead fish / Too late, the exit is latched / Float on, bloated little fish / Float on” from “Big Fish”, on the album I Hate You. Are you catching the vibe yet? If so, make sure you catch the band! After seven records and a demo, don’t you think it’s about time? Their latest release, Terrible News From Wonderful Men, won’t disappoint you either!
Continuing the weirdness (that’s a good thing!) we come to Dollar Signs. The band from Charlotte, describes itself as “an anxious pop band from North Carolina. Dollar Signs sounds like if every member of the Beach Boys had a Xanax prescription and worked at Best Buy. Dollar Signs looks like a bunch of people who record anime reaction videos for YouTube. Dollar Signs is a Big Dogs shirt come to life. Dollar Signs can poison your stepdad if you want. Dollar Signs is 20% lactose intolerant. Dollar Signs will always be there for you. Dollar Signs then. Dollar Signs now. Dollar Signs forever.” They also kindly provided individual self-descriptions, (apparently, they are fans of e.e.cummings):
erik button: lead songwriting, lead vocals, and some rhythm guitar. enjoys playing d&d, watching horror films, and a nice book. dog person. has three emmy awards. director/editor of documentaries. he/him. dylan wachman: bass guitar. production. art + design for dollar signs and many others. loves fashion, hip-hop, impulse spending. video work with erik. most hated and loved, just depends on who you ask. they/them. luke gunn: jack of all trades in the band; horns and keys and vocals. six languages. avid traveler and motorcycler. also in video. loves a good hike and a nice beer. knows the music theory. he/him. tommy mcphail: commander in chief of vibes. lead guitar. social media expert for your favorite films. corgi owner. perpetually training for a marathon. 100mg of caffeine in the bloodstream at all times. he/they. arion chamberlain: drums. speedrunning and 100%ing every game you’ve ever heard of. coffee is key. terrifying intellectual. chicken nacho enjoyer. was once ranked in the top 100 overwatch players in the world. he/him.
*Note: Rock At Night is neither responsible for the content nor accuracy of these descriptions. Seriously though, the band had me hooked from the moment they played a song request, well, actually, from the moment they apologized for playing it, saying all their songs are somewhat sarcastic.
Finally, we got some Bad Luck! But first, some clarification: Bad Luck is the name of more than one artist!
1) An emo pop punk band from Daytona Beach, FL who now reside in Brooklyn, NY. a.k.a. “Bad Luck Dudes.” That would be the band I’m talking about.
2) An indie rock band from Glasgow Scotland. Nope, not them.
3) An avant garde jazz group from Seattle, WA. Not them either.
4) A classic rock cover band, also from NY. Definitely not these guys!
5) A fictional band from the anime Gravitation, by Maki Murakami. Um, well, the anime might have stolen the idea, or not. This band is definitely real!
They also have a new album out, Summer of Pain. We’ve had too many of those lately, but maybe shared commiseration can ease the pain. And though the lyrics from their song “Cold Bones”
Get me the fuck out of Florida
Get me back to that parking lot
Let me dwell in my run off thoughts
I’d be better off but not anywhere
I need wet feet and harsher air
Divorced Mothers and bedrooms where I can lay my head
And the fact that I had even tried
To change myself erase myself from stories that I wrote
(Led to fictional)
Traits to fit a state that I know
Was opposite but possibly home
But this place isn’t home
would seem to indicate that Florida will never be home for them, they seemed to be having a great time! The crowd definitely was!