Taphouse - August 4, 2006
Live Review by Michele Fair
Norfolk was once a fairly booming scene, particularly for punk rock in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when great dives like the Kings Head Inn and Cogan’s were prevalent in the area. Today, most Norfolk venues typically host events that appeal to older crowds who can enjoy a cold beverage while they watch live bands. The Taphouse is one of Norfolk’s most well-known and popular venues, and while they do host out of town bands on occasion, it’s not unlikely to see one of many local bands playing there on any given weekend. On this Friday night, the regulars were in for a real treat when some bands from other Virginia cities (Richmond, Fredericksburg) came down to play for the Norfolk crowd.
The opener, Noise Cinema (pictured above), is a brand new two-piece band from Richmond, Virginia, and this was their first live show. The lead guitarist, Tony Fantozzi, had been in other Richmond bands such as Transmissions from Jupiter, but this was the first time his newest venture had been on stage. A guest appearance on bass & vocals by Grayland/Myotis’ Jason Beeken was a stellar addition to the lineup. Noise Cinema started off with a revamped Transmissions from Jupiter song called “Time to Go.” The crowd immediately gained interest when Fantozzi began pounding on his guitar, and the sound was incredibly loud. Noise Cinema’s second track was a cover of Sebadoh’s “Happily Divided,” and with the band’s already commanding presence, it gave the song a whole new meaning. Throughout the set the band remained on point, showing off some great guitar fuzz and a lot of energy. Added noise sessions really kicked up the momentum. Their next to last track was a cover of Sonic Youth’s “Mildred Pierce” with Obit’s Jake and Adam Purcell joining on guitar and tambourine, respectively.
Fredericksburg’s The Offering have gained real momentum as of late, and had played a live show in New York City the weekend before the Taphouse performance. The band uses a drum machine in lieu of a live drummer, making their sound really pinpointed and adding a lot of impact. Combined with keyboards and a passion for new wave bands like Joy Division and Kraftwerk, The Offering presented a whole different dimension to the show. Their performance was tight and captivating, which was a refreshing change from the norm, giving everyone a taste of some great shoegaze/industrial sounds. The set was really polished and created a real sense of ambiance for the venue. The Offering will be featured at the Walls of Sound Fest in Fredericksburg, VA on September 23rd, again alongside the evening’s headliner, Obit.
Obit comprised of two brothers, Jake (guitar/vocals) and Adam (drums) Parcell, along with bassist and vocalist Chris Anderson. Their set was in classic indie form, with a lot of fun atmosphere and great reaction by the audience. “Lapse,” which is reminiscent of some older Lowenstein-style Sebadoh, was played with a lot of fervor. Obit had a great stage presence throughout their set, riling up the crowd and getting everyone involved in the performance. About three songs before the end of the show, the vocals went out, but the band kept at it until the very last song, ending with Dinosaur Jr’s “Freakscene,” and prompting some people from the crowd to get up on stage and sing along.
It should also be mentioned that it was Noise Cinema drummer Son-E Marston’s birthday, so there were birthday hats, noisemakers, and balloons everywhere. Obit seemed to get the brunt of the balloon chucking, but they didn’t seem to mind. Overall, the lineup from these other Virginia cities proved to be a brilliant and welcome change from the usual Friday nights around the Norfolk bars and venues.