Any show during the middle of the week is always a tough gig to sell. Tonight was no exception. As a lover of music, I want to say that if you were not at this show, you missed out. Unfortunately, I can’t say that. I’ll start from the beginning. When I get to a venue early, I look at the door to see if there is a line to get in. Usually if there is a line it is because it consist of people who are ready to bang their head and rock out to some great live music, a good indicator it is going to be a good show. Tonight, there was a mini line so I thought that theory would hold true. We were inside a half hour before the first band and looking around I noticed a majority people where wearing gear supporting P.O.D and Southern California. Looked like a similar crowd that you’d see at hed P.E. shows.
Now time for music, starting on time was Portland’s very own When Vanity Kills. These guys take the stage smiling and eager to play. When Vanity Kills consists of Heidi as lead vocals, Chris as lead guitar, Randy on bass and John on drums. Their music is good and clean, reminds me a bit of Evanescence with their melodic/symphonic sound. I wish I could have heard Heidi’s voice a little more, it seemed to get lost in the powering guitar. They threw out bracelets during their show and Heidi made sure you knew the name of the band. Every member looked like they were having fun so you couldn’t help but smile. When Vanity Kills ended their set with their first single “Can You Hear Me” off their debut cd Never Saw It Coming they had won the crowd over. That song is worth looking up on their YouTube channel.
Up next was another Portland local band Amerakin Overdose consisting of Cody on vocals, Pete on back up vocals, Freeman on guitar, The Human on keys, Starbie on bass and Brick on drums. I am a big fan of these guys and I love seeing them because each time they get better and better. This time was no different. Even though their keyboardist, The Human, was MIA tonight, the band remains solid and moved like a well oiled machine. The dynamic duo of Cody and Pete is unstoppable and a force to be reckoned with. They played my personal favorite song “Cyber Superstar” which definitely gets the crowd jumping and of course their hits “Medicate” and “Cunt” which if you haven’t checked out their video for either song on their YouTube channel, you should. You won’t be disappointed. Amerakin Overdose brought the house down! AOD sounded great, put on a kick ass professional show that they grabbed the attention of band members from the national acts there. I could see members from Islander peeking from the back to check AOD out watching their set. These guys are going on tour with Mushroomhead so if you didn’t get the chance to see them tonight, maybe they will make it to a town near you.
Next up was South Carolina band Islander which consist of stable members Mikey on vocals, J.R. on guitar and touring members Joe on drums and Ryan on bass. This is my second time seeing Islander and they don’t disappoint and still put on a great show! Although, just like last time I saw them, I feel the audience does not give Islander the energy back that they deserve. Every member in Islander looks like they give it their all on stage, having a good time and wanting to put on the best show and they do. Middle of their set, they played “New Wave” which is their version of a power ballad, inspirational and up lifting. I was hoping on my favorite song “Criminals”, Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D would come out and do his guest vocals because he is the featured artist on that song for Islander’s CDViolence & Destruction but he didn’t. I gotta say I was bummed about that. Islander finished their set with their hit song “Coconut Dracula” which has the perfect balance of heavy nu-metal sound and a touch of hip-hop. I really enjoy Islander live and their music because it has that old school sound but positive meanings in the songs, but their live show is so in your face you can’t help but have a good time.
Finally, it was time for the headliner, Payable On Death more popularly know as P.O.D. from San Diego, California. These guys have been around since 1992 so some of their songs are a bit nostalgic for me. Waiting for them to take the stage, I can feel my anticipation and excitement rising but as soon as they walk on during their intro and start into “Am I Awake” it was like the wind was taken from my sails. The sound quality was just awful. It sounded like this great band was playing with at least two blown speakers. Everything sounded muffled from the vocals to the guitar and bass. I was hoping I wasn’t the only one that noticed this and that the sound guy (who seems like a new addition to the venue) would fix whatever was wrong. But looks like I was the only one that wanted to cover my ears because I looked around the half full room, people were smiling and headbanging to the incoherent music. P.O.D. which consists of Sonny Sandoval on vocals, Marcos Cruiel on guitar, Traa Daniels on bass, and Wuv Bernardo on drums. They played some of their hits off their new CD The Awakening such as the song that kicked off their set, “This Goes Out To You”, “Speed Demon”, “Revolucion” and “The Awakening.” I’d like to say that these new songs sounded great but it was hard to tell with the blown speakers, my ears could only focus on the static noise. I was excited to hear my favorite songs from their 2001 album Satellite such as radio hit songs “Youth of the Nation” and “Set it Off” but with that sound quality, they just sort of sounded like songs I knew. I would totally see P.O.D. again but at a different venue just to hopefully see if there is a difference to the live show.