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Semi-Precious Weapons Explode Into 2012 at The Roxy Print E-mail
Written by JORDAN BRANDES   
Friday, 27 January 2012
If I learned anything this New Years Eve it’s that no one throws a party like The Roxy. With a six-band lineup of both local and national artists the club offered concertgoers a chance to let loose and embrace their wild side on New Years in Los Angeles.

Semi-Precious Weapons

The Roxy
Los Angeles, CA
Dec. 31, 2011

Located in the heart of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, the famous rock club has seen some of the best and most prolific bands come through its doors since it first opened in 1973. Despite all that, the club itself remains minimalistic with very little decoration or color. Other than upgrading their sound and light system, I doubt the club has changed very much in the past four decades.

Small and intimate, The Roxy reminds me of the Park West in Chicago if you took out all the seating. There is very little space between you and the performer, making every show an up close and personal experience.

Which brings us to New Years Eve 2011. Starting at 8 p.m., the nearly six-hour show was a chance for concertgoers to get a true taste of the Los Angeles music scene. The night started out strong with the Las Vegas-based Life Down Here, a down and dirty punk/metal band led by 18 year-old Michelle Blanchard. Though tiny, Blanchard has the spirit and passion of an early Joan Jett. Still in the early stages, keep an eye out for Life Down Here, you will be hearing from them again.

The next three bands honestly kind of blurred together. I wish I could tell you more about Betawolf, Open Air Stereo and Benvenue but there wasn’t much difference between them. Each of them seemed to follow the same basic formula. The songs start out fast and then somehow turn into almost rock ballads meant to be epic but just ended up sounding like Foo Fighters wannabes. If you want to stand out in the music business, it helps to actually be different from the other bands out there that have already made their mark.

I was quickly fading fast but thankfully Warner Drive not only shook me out my daze capturing my attention in a way that few bands have recently. Based out of Los Angeles, the band has been setting the local scene on fire and selling out every major venue in the city. Warner Drive’s unique blend of punk, rock and ska is catchy and rebellious without being too much of either. With a sound somewhere between Wall of Voodoo and AFI, the band is an adrenaline pumping rush.

Few bands can match the raw, natural energy of Warner Drive. However Semi-Precious Weapons is all about breaking the rules. Two minutes before Midnight, lead singer Justin Tranter sauntered on stage with the band and led the entire audience in a furious countdown to 2012. Within seconds of ringing in the New Year, the band dove into one of the craziest sets I’ve seen since Iggy Pop played Chicago’s Metro a few year ago.

“We need some whiskey on stage,” Tranter called out just after the second song. By the fifth song he was more than halfway through a 24-ounce bottle of Jack Daniels, which takes skill. Playing hard and fast the band did not slow down once during its extended energetic set. Watching Semi-Precious Weapons play is a lesson in what rock n’ roll music used to be: loud, dirty and intense.

Shying away from their well-known tracks, the band spent most of the night playing songs from their most recent albums and singles. Songs like “Cherries on Ice” and “Fuck the Dance Floor” brought the audience into a frenzy, as Tranter upped the energy of the club with an energy that didn’t stop until well after the doors closed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you get the chance to see Semi-Precious Weapons perform live make sure you do it. The band, despite its connection to Lady Gaga, hasn’t let fame influence their work. While they have definitely matured over the years and approach their music a little differently they remain one of the most intense, talented bands of the decade.

SPW Rocks Live
Written by Guest on 2012-01-27 09:34:23
Hey Jordan, 
SPW puts on a great show! I've seen them live in NYC and it's all about the sleaze. 8)  
Rock Hard! Rock Sexy! 
† The Deacon †
Wish I was there
Written by Guest on 2012-01-27 11:23:03
It could have kept me awake. I had a fizzle, but fun loving, forth. Oh New Years. See, I could have used this much energy and then some.
Written by Guest on 2012-04-21 02:40:56
Yeah very nice, was chatting with brad the other day asying how both wished we had something this well produced when we were 15, i know i was recording on a dodgy old pc in a shed about then and everything that came out of it sounded horrible (the only difference is i'm inside now lol) .the playing sounds good on this track, the writing is cool for guys this young, and agree the vocalist sounds really good, so the track overall sounds really good.The production side of things is what we have come to expect from DC, clean, precision placed effects and cut together very well, my only small gripes are that the track for this style i would have expected huge sounding guitars and drums, overly compressed everything that smacks you in the face but the power in this track seemed a little low volume throughout, also it seemed to me to have a huge amount of breakdown/hooks splattered through the track? not sure if this was the writing or the way it was cut together, but it was very obvious for the sections that had no vocals and kept changing breaking down and building back up ..the guitar tones are super nice, specially on the intro, also solid drum recording to boot!Overall its a really good track, dc has done a great job of "radio'ising" the track and giving it appeal as well, 85% from this side of the globe can i have some more pretty please?
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I would love to see Lumino feature