Machine Gun Vendetta
Dishing out the tunes in tattered jeans and T-shirts, Machine Gun Vendetta is casual, confident and quite possibly very pissed off. Throwing up the F-bomb by way of middle finger, Aaron Hillis, the 23-year-old lead singer of this five-piece band, lets you know how he really feels.
Onstage, neck veins pulsing, his cheeks an angry shade of red, Hillis sings his resentment in a way that screams, “I’m a Reno-esque version of Bad Religion.” Atop his sweaty head sits a Suicidal Tendencies hat. Surrounding him are three other sweaty and somewhat similar-looking guys. There is one person missing.
“We blew out our bassist’s eardrums,” says Hillis as guitarist Lucas Alford, drummer Scott Bartolomeo and guitarist/backup vocalist Chris Ohm laugh alongside him. Although bassist Adam Dick is missing in action until he can hear again, Machine Gun Vendetta still manages to sound as though they’ve got a complete band. Take a dose of System of a Down and Slipknot, and mix it atop some Bad Religion. Then, throw in a dash of Anti-Flag, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good idea of what to expect at a MGV show.
“We’ve been a band for about three-and-a-half years,” says 23-year-old Bartolomeo, adding that Alford has only been a part of the mix for about three months. Could have fooled me—he’s caught up fast. Practicing in a hot and stuffy box of a room in a recording studio, with décor ranging from posters of women in red underwear to tapestries of Jimi Hendrix, this band is clearly not a fan of the government. Hillis sports an anarchist tattoo on his wrist, and Bartolomeo with his fancy Mohawk drum directly in front of an upside down American flag.
Who knows where Machine Gun Vendetta really stumbled across one another? For the most part, they came to know each other inside the walls of high school. And then there was that time at the “opium den,” jokes Alford, going on to explain that the guys “officially” came together in a “garage in northwest Reno.” It’s just like what you hear on MTV2, only more confusing.
Bartolomeo says that overall, the band aspires to do something that involves “not having to work at a normal job.” Sounds like heaven. Machine Gun Vendetta is planning a tour in August, hoping to cover the better part of California in the later summer months.
You know you’ll like this band if you enjoy fast, loud, punk-based music, with songs called “Kill Hate Destroy,” “Brain Slaves,” and “Eaten Alive.” At a live show, your blood will be frantically pumping, your heart rapidly racing, and you’ll be struggling to decipher the words that come out of Hillis’ mouth, while unable to sit still or do anything but rock out and enjoy yourself. The noise is a definite reflex-invoker. You can just see it in Bartolomeo’s face when he drums—there ain’t no foolin’ around with these dudes.