The Scene: The scene at the Fox Saturday was fairly typical. While it was a bit younger than I expected with an average age in the mid twenties, the crowd was a good mix of dready hippies, the tatooed punk element and preppy college kids with the occasional graying music fan thrown in. I was suprised that the show wasn’t sold out when we walked in a little after 10. Maybe the dark psuedo-psychedelic rock of the Secret Machines just doesn’t fit into the mainstream enough to pull the kids away from the weekend parties.
Secret Machines: With no opening band, Secret Machines took the stage at about 10:30, and what a stage it was. The band has been travelling with their own stage, lighting rig and sound system for this tour and they set it up smack in the middle of the Fox. In a room that usually holds about 800 people a full stage set up takes up some serious space. No one in the room was more than 20 feet from the stage and it really made for an intimate environment to see a band with this much energy.
From the first note of the first song they pulled out all the stops. The sound was up to usual Fox standards (even though it was their own rig) and the lighting rig was enough to blind just about anyone. The three band members faced the center of the stage and you could watch them as they played off each other all night. The lights in the center of the stage acted as footlights and lit each member from below giving a earie effect when it was desired and then as the music built the stobes and banks of LEDs would come into play in seizure enducing bursts. It was a spectacle to say the least.
The jams were tight, the drums loud, and the guitars screaming; just as you would expect from a band that has earned comparisons to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Rush. I am not extremely familiar with their music and honestly I went primarily to see how they were going to pull of an “in the round” performance in such a small venue. They did of course play crowd favorite “Alone, Jealous and Stoned” from the new album but the highlight of the evening came during the powerful “The Road Leads Where It’s Lead” as the crowd sang along in unison to the chorus of “blowing all the other kids away!”
They may not have wowed me with their music but as far as production values go, these guys are “blowing all the other kids away.” The have set a new bar in terms of small venue shows. I will never look at the Fox in the same way after Secret Machines took control of the venue and made a great room even better.
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: A+