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Sno-Core Tour 2003

with Sparta, Hot Water Music and Dredg
March 21st, 2003
Roseland Ballroom - New York City, NY

Click Here for more pictures!!! AnnaMaria Andriotis
Contributing Writer
Marissa Rafuse
Contributing Photographer
Sno Core Tour

To be blunt, the Sno-Core Tour 2003 had as many highs and lows like the local junkie. It was just three years ago when I attended the annual tour; this year, standing amidst adolescents and their parents it was clearly evident that the tour line-up has lessened in quality and diversity. Whereas my Sno-Core experience consisted of four bands with completely differing sounds, ranging from Puya's Spanish metal to System of a Down's funk and rants, this year's tour can be summed up in one word - rock.

Not to say that there's anything wrong with plain old "rock", but the lineup's monotonous musical genre made the bands work extra hard to stand out. The opening band Dredg holds great potential for either developing their already intriguing sound or falling into the unidentified mass of today's nu-metal influenced rock. Dredg's vocalist creates the melodies as he swoons and changes his breathing patterns right into the mic. The band's drums and bass creates an almost trip-hop sound as a track's ultimate echoing blends into the following song. The instrumental fusion of the trumpet, saxophone, and zither sprinkles the riffs and bass thereby suggesting a promising sound. While many would be quick to label Dredg as innovative for their multi-instrument incorporation, authentic musical artistry comes with the ability to successfully create a sound where such instruments can co-exist while complementing the final product. Dredg have reached the state where their instruments can co-exist. Now it is up to them to create the original sound that will define them. But even if their musical potentiality is reached, Dredg will not be able to headline a tour without working on their stage presence. No one is saying to jump around like monkeys, but when the band members stand in the same position for the entire set, without even a single nod of the head, the crowd will get sleepy all too quick.

Hot Water Music's lively stage presence picked up the crowd's enthusiasm, or so I thought. While I curiously absorbed the band's stoner rock influenced riffs and melodies it became apparent that the majority of the crowd was as bored as could be. Bland, expressionless teenage faces overwhelmed the venue as fifteen-year-old boys began eyeing the crowd for girls. Hot Water Music easily blew away Dredg and the following band Sparta, but they did not receive their much-deserved appreciation because their music is clearly way too different and mature for the average adolescent. This band should be playing for a college crowd and opening for stoner rock bands Fu Manchu and Queens of the Stone Age. Hot Water Music's guitar riffs and bass complement each other as the drums tighten the band's all-too-rock sound. The band's two vocalists create a successful chemistry of melodies and screams. Whereas Dredg's music shows the potential to develop a working sound, Hot Water Music displays the tightness and cohesiveness other bands wish to one-day exhibit.


The overall excitement that overtook the crowd once the Texas band Sparta took the stage prepared me for a riveting performance that I would not forget anytime soon. Instead, halfway through the band's set I found myself in agreement with the annoying teenage boys sitting next to me yelling, "Get the fuck off the stage!" followed by "Glassjaw! Glassjaw!" While Sparta can teach a lesson or two to a lot of bands that claim to be "rock", this band lacks great innovation and has absolutely no stage presence. Sparta's riffs produce a marginal and somewhat monotonous sound while the vocals create a crossover between indie rock and emo. While the band lives up to what true rock should sound like, I was shocked that the two former members of the critically acclaimed At The Drive In (ATDI), Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar, now play far less original music. In fact the only songs that caught my attention had riffs reminiscent of the much-missed ATDI.


The first time I saw Glassjaw was March 1999 opening for hardcore band Indecision in a small Portuguese hall in Long Island. I was impressed enough to download some songs off Napster and catch them two years later headlining a benefit show for The Movielife at CBGBs in New York City. Now, with "NO WAR" taped onto a speaker, Glassjaw headlined an annual tour and took the stage to what appeared to be a suddenly packed venue. As the band pumped out their raw beats to vocalist Daryl's screaming spasms the floor erupted into a sea of flying arms and jumping people. Glassjaw opened their performance with tracks off their second album Worship and Tribute and continued with a series of recent songs. The band gives off a bitterly beautiful essence as melodic vocals that complement the rather calm riffs quickly transform into harsh yelps with chaotic playing. Glassjaw's tightness is a result of the band's capability to align riffs, bass, and drums with Daryl's constantly morphing vocal range. Their fans are clearly well schooled as they spit out lyrics in sync with the vocalist to tracks from both the new and debut albums. The band definitely outdo themselves when it comes to stage presence as they move to their beats and Daryl jumps into mid-air splits; Glassjaw make the crowd partake in their music through the energy and the excitement they emit from the second they step on stage.

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