Local bands seldom get the opportunity to open arena-sized shows in Sacramento. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions in the clubs (The Boardwalk and the Roadhouse both are good about mixing locals with nationally touring acts), but at the arena level, it’s a whole different story. Occasionally, one might find a local band on a side stage warming up the audience at 5:30 in the evening. But the main stage, for most local bands, is an impossible dream.
But last Friday night, that impossible dream came true for one local band, thanks in part to the show’s promoter, 98 Rock. Die-hard fans who had arrived early enough to fill the pit area raised a mighty roar of approval when Local Licks host Mark Gilmore appeared onstage and introduced the band, which was chosen from 134 contest entries. The rock was to ready to begin, and it was to begin with a local band: Deconstruct.
It must have been a challenging slot: a mere 15 minutes opening for Korn, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin and Skindred; a sea of music fans (few of whom paid the $35 ticket price to see a local band); and a stage far larger than the usual Sacramento club fare. Deconstruct played up to the occasion, turning in a solid set, but also one that underscored the difference between a club act and an arena-filling, nationally touring act.
The band’s music leans heavily on a harder, darker-edged Alice in Chains, with vocalist Skitz turning in a more menacing performance than he had in his previous band, the Beat Officers. Skitz, bassist Venessa, drummer Tom Frost and guitarist Joe Fraulob all turned in solid performances, complete with rock-star poses (particularly from Venessa) and the requisite leather and tattoos. Keeping in mind the size of Arco, the whole performance might have been more animated (particularly in terms of lead-man Skitz). But, then again, the band was able to get the entire pit to raise its collective middle finger and wave it in unison.
If there was a real problem at all with the band’s performance, it lay in the stage chemistry, for at times it seemed as if the four band members were strangers to each other. Chalk it up to nervousness or relative inexperience playing in these conditions, but, either way, it is something the band needs to work on if pushing for the big time. (A terribly distracting videographer wandering around the stage while the band was playing didn’t help the band’s professionalism, either.)
Deconstruct can be found online at www.deconstructmusic.com.
In related news: 98 Rock’s Gilmore has been a tireless promoter of the local scene, a job that is increasingly difficult when radio stations are gobbled up by corporate multinationals. Gilmore’s show, Local Licks, has provided a half-hour of local music at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday nights. I don’t think anyone would argue that the time slot is the best available, but, then again, at least some local music is showing up on corporate radio.
The good news is that Gilmore has successfully lobbied for both more on-air time and an earlier slot. Starting November 21, Local Licks will move to 9 p.m. on Sundays and will play for an entire hour. The special guest for the November 21 show will be local freaky punk band Didley Squat and will feature music from its new CD, Smile Box. Nice job, Mark.