The Fire Escape Bar & Grill played host to four local bands Sunday evening.
The first band, Purgatory, is from Elk Grove. Their last show was at The Distillery in Midtown on May 14. Their consistently hard-hitting sound is a more matured form of metal that blends everything from Nine Inch Nails to Johnny Cash.
"I was really inspired playing with the other bands and being a part of something I dream of doing," said Gary Gruwell, one of the band’s guitarists. "When I play, I have adrenaline and beer running through my veins."
Gruwell Continued, "It felt unreal being up there on stage. It always does. I always dreamed of playing in front of a crowd. Every time is like the first time all over again. We appreciate everything about the people who come out to see us play."
Gruwell’s humility is shared by the other members of Purgatory, and that is no doubt a factor contributing to the band’s rising success. Their next big show is at the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands 14, the winner of which will play on the Vans Warped Tour’s Sacramento stop. That will be held at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland on Aug. 12. In between, be sure to catch their house-band appearances at Happy Garden in Elk Grove.
The next group to take the stage was the Sub-Fobias. Their blend of high-energy thrash, old 1980s punk, Reverend Horton Heat rockabilly and country is truly unique. Their lead singer and guitar player, Dino Mehicic, was born in Bosnia.
Mehicic reveals that the band actually wasn’t started in the United States.
“We started the band in Spain,” he said. “We recorded a record out there.”
In fact, he continued by saying that one of the members of the band has been living in Spain for the past two and a half years. The international makeup certainly shows as there is levity to their style that is refreshing and fun. Perhaps a reminder of a lost era of rock’n’roll, their music tells us that it’s OK to thrash around and play rough just because you can. Indeed, the Sub-Fobias’ music is a reflection on freedom and ease. The Sub-Fobias next show is in two weeks at the Kannaroo Music Festival in New Mexico.
The next act to take the stage was Stasis Burden, also from Elk Grove. Their sound is kind of like an emo, extreme uptempo Lykke Li whirring through a meat grinder. This is definitely feminist shred. Moments of old school hip-hop beats are violently torn apart by the perfect mix of inflected voice and chainsaw strings to shatter your eardrums. If this band ever goes through a rebranding, they should be named Angry Ani (in reference to Ani DiFranco).
“We’ve been together for about a year with our new bassist, about three years all together," lead singer and guitarist Emily O’Neill said. "We’re going back into the studio soon, but we already have one full album out there.
O’Neill indicated the band’s obvious indie rock roots. Bands such as Muse, Circa Survive, The Beatles, The Deftones and Team Sleep (a Deftones side project) are all influences. Given the number of young women who crowded the stage area, there’s a good market for this sound here in Sacramento.
The headliner was none other than Vesuvius. Their Stevie Ray Vaughn-meets-Megadeth style of bluesy, dark metal is soulful, deep, hard shred. On this night, guitarist Albert Kolesinski, drummer Austin Mooney and bassist Ben Armstrong all shared lead vocal duties. Kolesinski’s voice sounded like Glen Danzig imitating Rob Zombie, while his guitar was vintage Dave Mustaine. Mooney’s drums reminded of Gregg Bissonette. He opened with a drum solo that reminded of a young Bissonette years earlier with David Lee Roth at Cal Expo.
Armstrong had perhaps his best show ever, letting loose on the bass like never before. He was like a 7-foot Les Claypool.
“Last night’s show was the most fun I’ve had on stage yet," Armstrong said of the Fire Escape show. "We really got to experience that mythical give-and-take energy that all those before me felt as well.”
Armstrong also said a few words about energy and inspiration.
“The energy I felt from the crowd last night inspired me," he said "I was fueled by water. I decided to see how I would do without energy drinks or soda, and it turns out I don’t need them.”
Keep in mind that Armstrong is the oldest member of the band at age 21. Kolesinski is 19, and Mooney is only 17. It would be fair to say that these guys still have their entire careers ahead of them. Vesuvius’ next show is June 12 at Club Retro, located at 6521 Hazel Ave. in Orangevale.