Monk petals and tattoos

No bubblegum but plenty of sweet metal/punk at LaSalles

Chavez Jarrett of Red with Envy

Chavez Jarrett of Red with Envy

Photo By Tom Angel

Red With Envy, Shortie and Absent Society
Wed., Dec. 10

Metal doesn’t look like it used to. Long scraggly hair and tight, ripped jeans seem to be an optional, and often scarce, novelty these days. When Absent Society took the stage, clothed in such frat-friendly brands as Billabong and Volcom, I almost expected the musicians to croon Bob Marley covers, but the singer opted for a deep throaty growl and some echo-laced serenading instead. The Deftones immediately came to mind with this Bay Area band, who begged barflies to move closer to the stage and fill the gaping holes where a mosh pit might have been.

It seems high time that someone came up with a name to categorize the poppy punk metal infusion (Monk? Petal?) that Sacramento’s Shortie embraces—along with zillions of other bands that tend to appeal to impressionable high-school ears. Shortie isn’t very original, but it makes up for that with musical talent and an energetic stage presence. Its songs are heavily layered with stacks of fast, furious guitar riffs, easy-to-decipher lyrics, and a cheerleading squad of black-clad, baritone backup chanters.

Come for the tattoos, stay for the music. Red With Envy is the first band to grace the local Sacred Art record label, and judging by the size of the crowd it has a few public-relations people on its side. Fans crowded close to Chavez Jarrett, the lanky shirtless front man, and bobbed their heads to the collaboration of double kick drums and pulsing bass. Songs ran fairly long and were equally aggressive and melodic, and this modern approach to thrash metal combined well with Jarrett’s velvety, emotion-packed voice. Sweat-drenched and straight-faced, Red With Envy was 80 percent hardcore, 20 percent sweetness.