March 4, 2011

U.S. Royalty @ Mississippi Studios

Last night at the U.S. Royalty show, it quickly became clear that as good as their album, Mirrors, was, the band was even better live. Songs like the opening "Monte Carlo" (mp3) rocked harder and the overall set sounded more cohesive, with their varied influences blending together into some fantastic rock 'n roll. It's as if they took their album and just cranked the dials. The songs seemed to pop and sparkle. Heavy rockers like "Hollywood Hollows" and "The Desert Won't Save You" were particularly exciting, as the giant riffs exploded over a pounding back end. It was a pleasure to watch a true lead guitarist step into a blistering yet retained solo and see a singer own the stage, his soaring howl hitting the high notes like a young Roger Daltrey. To top it off, they nailed a cover of Stevie Nicks' "Wild Heart," providing proof that the Fleetwood Mac comparisons were justified.

Sofar DC: U.S. Royalty - Wild Heart from Nick Fitzhugh on Vimeo.


Danger Dan said...

Seconded. They shattered my expectations of the hum-drum, lo-fi, morose, folksy, testicles not descended yet vocal stylings of so many other oncoming bands of late.

Instead, we got a lead who knew his voice (a deeper, more confident, adult one at that), very tight instrumentation, and a snappy sound - with a purpose.

US Royalty provided me a welcome invitation to believe there are still smaller scale bands out there who take what they do seriously enough to treat it like work.

Their timing, dedication and focus brought their sound together into a finely wrapped package - I've got the image of the second drummer on the African cylinder soaked in my memory as he meshed so cleanly and crisply with the other leads.

If only more RSVPs to work as hard were delivered from Portland bands, I'd be out on more show floors.

There's merit to DC work ethic, particularly in musical pursuit. Try harder Portland.

awmercy said...

Ha ha. Hear that Portland? Time to break out your figurative gray flannel suits.