The Secret Machines @ The Viper Room, Los Angeles 7/27/08

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Aaron Fortin just went and saw The Secret Machines in LA and gave us this review to post…

Stepped into the venue kinda early. Local band IO ECHO opened. Caught the end of their set. The singer is a rocked out lady, and she was sure as hell rockin’ it. I stepped in the sidedoor to the band covering “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and rocked to the nines it was. Then her popular song “Addicted” which has been getting some airplay on Indie 103.1 lately. The only radio station you really need in the LA area.

Then we were treated to the reason we were all there. First off, the Viper Room is cozy. Its capped at 250 people, and I’d say even that’s pushing it. But it sounds great. The sound bounces off the walls the way it should and The Secret Machines delivered those sounds in force. The bar could go a little stiffer on the drinks but heck…


They played from 11:15 until 12:30 never really stopping the groove except for a few times to thank the crowd, which Brandon handled. They seemed very excited by the crowd’s reaction and energy. We were all attentive, some dancing, but mostly just an awe of the drums and the way in which Phil seamlessly has made his presence known in a big way.

The songs I know they played. “Fire is Waiting.” New song. Opened the show and went near 10 minutes. Drum heavy, and just awesome. Put the crowd on immediate “WE ARE NOT MESSING AROUND” alert.

The next hour or so was mixed with new and old. The highlight for me was “Dream in Dreaming.” This is their next big hit and takes the old Machines and brings it to 2008. It’s groovier, it’s slicker, and it’s got a nice bite too. Although I love “Nowhere Again,” this song has a thicker groove and the band knows what to do with the song and it shows. Especially in Phil’s playing. Love this addition, and it was placed right in the middle of the set. First time hearing it and I’m a big fan.

“Lightning Blue Eyes” was earlier on. Again, Phil is very good on all the old songs. He works so well with Josh it’s uncanny. They feed off each other and he works in these nice guitar licks layering over the beat of the drum but never invading it’s structure. It’s pretty awesome to watch. Definitely a different sound than Ben, more free it seems in taking the jam somewhere… I can only imagine what they are going to sound like at the end of the tour!

They ended with “Alone Jealous and Stoned” > “Nowhere Again,” which was a perfect closure to the night. “Nowhere Again” was straight up how it’s played on the album but with a little more jam. Nothing like the spaced out/psychedelic version I got the first time. Brandon’s vocals were a little higher in the mix this time, which I actually liked a lot more. That song is still the bread and butter…but I think “Alone, Jealous and Stoned” has a real chance to outshine anything the earlier versions can offer us. Phil seems to understand the direction of Brandon and Josh. Maybe I’m crazy…but this is the untz without the untz. It’s rock untz and it’s incredible and fresh.

Can’t wait for my next helping.

-Aaron
(phortin)

  • BRIAN

    This was my second time seeing the Secret Machines. Saw them at the Avalon in October of 2006 on the In the Round Tour.
    I was there with my two sons and some of their friends. My son’s Band ECHO BODY, has a somewhat similar sound, as he is a big Secret Machines fan. Their starting piece, THE FIRE AWAITS, was a commanding way to start out the set. Reminded me of the carefully chosen first songs Zeppelin used to start off when I saw them many times at the LA Forum. Their drummer reminds me of Bonham’s style. Anyone remember the Blue Cheer? They put out more noise than anyone in a three man band. These guys remind me of their volume, but Secret Machines are far more enjoyable and complex in their music. No comparison except for sheer volume!
    Looking forward to seeing them again. Had a chance to speak briefly with Brandon. Seem like a nice bunch of guys. Enjoy listening to their music while I work out. Probably not too many 53 year old cops enjoy their music. (Psych examiner said that I wasn’t their usual candidate..) Look forward to seeing them again next time out. By the way, Sad and Lonely was done spectacularly.

  • BRIAN

    This was my second time seeing the Secret Machines. Saw them at the Avalon in October of 2006 on the In the Round Tour.
    I was there with my two sons and some of their friends. My son's Band ECHO BODY, has a somewhat similar sound, as he is a big Secret Machines fan. Their starting piece, THE FIRE AWAITS, was a commanding way to start out the set. Reminded me of the carefully chosen first songs Zeppelin used to start off when I saw them many times at the LA Forum. Their drummer reminds me of Bonham's style. Anyone remember the Blue Cheer? They put out more noise than anyone in a three man band. These guys remind me of their volume, but Secret Machines are far more enjoyable and complex in their music. No comparison except for sheer volume!
    Looking forward to seeing them again. Had a chance to speak briefly with Brandon. Seem like a nice bunch of guys. Enjoy listening to their music while I work out. Probably not too many 53 year old cops enjoy their music. (Psych examiner said that I wasn't their usual candidate..) Look forward to seeing them again next time out. By the way, Sad and Lonely was done spectacularly.