« Review: VNV Nation, Whiteqube @ Bowery Ballroom 5.11.14 | Main | 10 Skate & Surf Festival Acts You Should Check Out »

Review: Trophy Scars, The Venetia Fair, Those Mockingbirds @ Slake 5.10.14

Trophy Scars recently released their new album Holy Vacants, and decided to hold not one, but two record release shows in the New York/ New Jersey region. The venue of choice for NYC? A new music nightclub/venue located near New York Penn Station called Slake. The one thing that seemed a little off-key for an event like this were the dancing cages placed against the wall. One photographer managed to used this to his advantage for some great shots throughout the night.

New Jersey rockers Those Mockingbirds, who also played Trophy Scars' New Jersey record release show the week before, arrived to New York City with a new member: guitarist Kyle Waters, former member of NYC band Ionia and brother of drummer Kevin Waters. Jonathan Gianino exited from the band last month, and Kyle was right there to fill his spot. Opening with "The Difference Between Love And Addiction", the long-haired guitarist definitely showed that he's a great asset. Over the last few months, the band have been constantly promoting their upcoming release Penny The Dreadful, and they played tracks that you'd always hear at one of their gigs:"Teen Fantasies", "How To Rob A Bank", and "A Ballad From Hell", a song that featured some hefty violin strokes from Tory Daines. Ending with "Loose Leather", frontman Adam Bird kept glancing at the cage projected next to the stage. With some intentions in mind, the vocalist shoved his guitar in-between the cage's bars and proceeded to take to the mic ala Barry Manilow for a moment. Feeling rather naked without his axe, Adam struggled to remove the instrument from the cage, but he managed to retrieve his pride & joy and capped off the set with some licks for a few new fans in the front row.

"We're gonna play two million songs and then melt into ooze," proclaimed The Venetia Fair frontman Benny Santoro before his band's set. The last time we saw the Boston band, they were heading out on North American tours with A Lot Like Birds and Get Scared. One would be so gullible to believe a couple months on the road would change the band's outlook on things. If you expected these men to stand on stage holding the heart sign like One Direction, you were immediately disappointed with copious amounts of middle fingers held proudly towards the audience. Obviously, it's all for fun. All of the usual antics were present: Benny twirling the mic around with such dangerous precision during tracks like "We Used To Worship The Moon" from their latest release Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We've Got In Our Brain and set closer "The Ringleader", keyboardist Mike Brown banging on the keys like a madman, and bassist Mr. Chark unbashfully wearing a shirt with his face on it. The band will be taking another bite out of the Big Apple again next month (actually, a few bites) with some appearances at the New Music Seminar and Northside Festival.

Trophy Scars frontman Jerry Jones sounds like a man that has been through hell and back and decided to go back to hell because he wanted to have another drink with the devil. On Saturday, he pulled double duty by having his Southern rock side project Super Snake open the show. Simply wearing a T-shirt and jeans, the frontman placed himself in the middle with guitarists on both sides as they went through tracks like "Frank Booth" and "Yes, I'm A Doctor". For Trophy Scars' set, however, Jerry decided to get extremely dapper for the occasion with a slick suit.

When 10pm hit, the band, along with a couple of backup singers, opened their set with "Qeres" from their new release. Jerry felt more like a traveled preacher than a singer that evening. His throaty vocals affixed with blistering organs almost made it feel like he was delivering a sermon inside of a burning church, and he simply wanted to go down with his surroundings. The band went through a handful of tracks from the new record, including "Archangel", "Crystallophobia", and "Burning Mirror".

The entire Trophy Scars discography has seen the band shifting from post-hardcore to their current psychedelic soul offering. There were obviously a few fans hoping for earlier Trophy Scars tracks such as the Alphabet. Alphabets. two-hit combo "Yes." and "No." and Goodnight Alchemy opener "Jerry's The Name, Sociology's The Game". While it would've been great to hear earlier material, Saturday's performance wasn't the appropriate time. Those tracks wouldn't have flowed properly with the downbeat aura projected from Jerry & Co. Ending things with "Bad Dreams" from their 2009 release Bad Dreams, Jerry thanked the NYC crowd, a crowd that the band rarely sees due to their sporadic show scheduling. While it's uncertain when the New Jersey act will make their way back up to NYC, their fans will be there waiting to hear what stories Jerry has to tell. (Terrance Pryor)