A bad day for America



Roseville is not exactly known as the intellectual Mecca of the Sacramento area. That’s not to say that it’s intellectually vacant; certainly, there are intelligent, well-informed residents in the area. But these are not the people who were at Shady Brady’s on Friday night, nor are they, apparently, fans of G.L.U.G.

It was an evening of rap metal, a three-band bill composed of the aforementioned headliner, Kut-Chord and Groove Monster. G.L.U.G. was of particular interest, mainly because of a quietly vitriolic “press release” from former manager Ana Marie Sotuela that appears on the band’s Web site (www.glugmusic.com). Sotuela’s statement essentially accuses the band of not taking its role in their partnership seriously enough and, at the same time, taking themselves much too seriously.

What is interesting about Sotuela’s statement is that there is no mention whatever about the quality of G.L.U.G. as musicians—a surprising stance considering the band’s Friday night show demonstrated a fundamental lack in this department. The rap-metal scene (if one is willing to place G.L.U.G., at least for the sake of argument, into this category) relies at some basic level on a sense of musical timing. The bands must be right on the mark, flawlessly moving through the changes. The better metal acts in the area feature superb musicianship coupled with extremely tight playing. On Friday night, G.L.U.G. displayed neither of these characteristics.

To the band’s defense, it should be noted that lead guitarist Josh Lawson was suffering from, as lead singer Colin Stambusky put it, “a filleted finger.” Nonetheless, Lawson seemed the most capable member of a generally sloppy band. To make matters worse, the sloppiness did little to lift G.L.U.G. out of the genre’s clichés: a standard mixture of trite shouted phrases punctuated by long, low-register screams that would make Satan proud—if he weren’t laughing so hard.

The stage presence of the band also could use improvement. Stambusky puts on a show (even if, again, he relies heavily on clichés of the genre), but Lawson came off like a head-banging Gram Parsons. “I need the full experience,” one audience member noted. “I want makeup and tattoos, and I want to be afraid. These guys look like they just got off of work.”

G.L.U.G. could use a clear sense of direction (and, apparently, a new manager). Some attention to its live performances would vastly improve its sound, and developing material that does not rely so heavily on the shout-shout-shout-and-now-scream-like-Satan approach could breathe life into the band’s music. In the meantime, it’s been done, and it’s been done so much better.

Better decide for yourself, though. Log onto the band’s Web site and check out G.L.U.G.’s 9/11 anthem “Bang Bang Baby (A Bad Day for America),” featuring the lyrics “You crash our plaines [sic], tare [sic] our buildings down / I’m gonna love to watch you fry.” A bad day for America, indeed.