A Proven Formula
Oregon has long had a thriving underground metal scene, and some of the bands have even gone on to be relatively well-known, like YOB (who, incidentally, have reformed with a new bass player). Perhaps Proven will be another Oregon breakout band. The band’s first two EPs were produced by Biohazard guitarist and vocalist Billy Graziadei, and the band lists Biohazard as one of their primary influences. Proven is now recording again, in Portland, and if the songs on their MySpace are to attest to their future, the thrashy punk metal edge that Biohazard made famous is their primary drive. Proven got a lot of attention in the press when those first two EPs surfaced, leading some critics to place the future of the hardcore metal genre in their hands. Let’s hope their new material propels them back into the spotlight.
The rest of the night’s lineup gives Eugene metal fans further proof that the genre thrives here. Eugene hosts metal in all of its many forms, but especially represented on this night is old-school thrashy metal, with fast, heavy breaks and vocalists who sound like they eat gravel. It’s music that’s a little bit slow, a little bit up-tempo, but always crushing.
Proven, Monday with a Bullet, New World Sinner and Dark Iron Legacy play at 9 pm Friday, Dec. 19, at the WOW Hall. $8 adv., $10 door. — Vanessa Salvia
Tickling the Ivories
The appeal of Portland’s Break As We Fall is found in the flourishes they add to their songs. It isn’t so much the noteworthy instrumentation or the groovy pop rock tunes they create as it is the tickling of the ivories that skirts across the background of various tracks. And while the funky Maroon 5-ish sounds of tracks like “Solve Yourself” are catchy, it’s singer/guitarist Evan Churchill’s journeys into the highs and lows of his vocal range that catch your attention. In short, the band is entertaining, but they are most interesting when they do something outside the box, so when Churchill trades his ax for a trumpet on the gorgeous “Static,” you might very well stand up and applaud such creativity.
The band released their self-titled debut EP earlier this year and plans to release a full-length in the spring, so they are off to a prolific start. From toe-tapping to head-bobbing and all kinds of gyrations in between, these guys have the chops to play music that will make you do just about anything. This solid band is finding its feet fast, and catching their live show should be a great way to spend a night out.
Break as We Fall and Tyler Fortier play at 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 18, at Cozmic Pizza. $5. — Brian Palmer
Seamstress of Melodies
Seattle singer-songwriter Tai Shan has been snagging good reviews with her soprano voice, emotional lyrics and intricate guitar compositions since she came on the music scene a few years ago. Now Tiny Planet, Shan’s first full-length solo album, offers a deeper view of a talented young musician.
Shan’s thoughtful and sometimes raw lyrics are in line with the singer-songwriter tradition, but on certain tracks her breathy delivery and drawn-out vowels sound more new-agey than folky. Songs like “Tiny Planet” and “Flicker Like a Flame” evoke Sarah McLachlan at her most reflective.
At times, Shan’s songs begin to sound a little too, well, meaningful, with high notes that make the cats prick up their ears. But at other times, her clear voice is the perfect vessel for well-crafted rhythms, melodies and lyrics. On “Let it Go Dear,” Shan’s voice deftly carries the sweetness, strength and clarity of a song that is fittingly about expressing your own truth. And the song “Crickets in the Dark” will make you want to dance outside on a summer night.
Tai Shan and Jesse Meade play at 10 pm Tuesday, Dec. 23, at Luckey’s. 21+. $2. — Jessica Hirst