Under The Influence of Giants
(The Shelter, Detroit, MI - April 28th, 2007)
Often compared to the Scissor Sisters - which, to be fair is, well, quite fair given their comparative vocal and bass line moments - Under the Influence of Giants (sometimes abbreviated UTIOG) hail from LA ... and boy, do they come packed full of energy!
Mysteriously opening for an artist known only as Young Love - and tucked away in a basement club with no windows, seemingly no adults in the small crowd, and no air to breathe in the slightest - UTIOG take the stage bang on time ... and literally do not come up for air until a solid 45 minutes have flown by!
Taking the stage one by one, there are no stage theatrics (I mean, how could there be on a stage no larger than your own bathroom floor?!), but as soon as the quartet is situated, well, ... Ladies and Gentlemen, buckle up, for it's gonna be a rockin' ride!
Aaron Bruno's vocals (and therein lyrics) are incredible, honed, and primed for this small club performance tonight. 'Lay Me Down' kicks us off royally, but it's David Amezcua on bass - dressed in a Wasp shirt with matching Wasp tie - that steals the show early on with this no-nonsense, head banging bass licks! Drew Stewart on guitar - looking everything like a Nu Romantic from circa '84 - is also finger-lickin' hot tonight, but as much as he tries, his floppy locked quiff just won't give as much as his bass-playing cohort! Drummer Jammin' Wilcox seems to be the only one not dressed too out of sorts and just stays attune to what needs to be done - and not only drum backbeat wise but computer track intro wise also.
The poly-rhythmic groove of 'Got Nothing' hits us next ("Feel free to dance and get loose," Bruno informs the scattering), which is quickly followed by both 'Beautiful and the pulse-pounding 'Ah Ha.' The latter finds Bruno prowling the small stage, like some demented squirrel in search of its lost, once stored-for-the-winter, sack o' nuts!
The incredible ethereal falsettos of Bruno are then brought to their main glory on the beloved 'Mama's Room,' before a seemingly Rage Against The Machine-inspired track is sung - admittedly to a somewhat confused gathering! But the guys get back on track with 'Faces' that also comes complete with a quite-nearly thrashing finale chord meltdown!
Wrapping up the show with the blue-eyed R&B feel of 'In the Clouds,' Bruno and company take their well deserved bow, heartfelt thank you's are heard abounding, and then they are gone ... until they quickly resurface again at the merch table!
Review by Russell A. Trunk