Sounds of the Underground - Tinley Park, IL (7/9/06)Posted 07/17/2006 04:54PM by Chris Conlan as Show Review
All day long, festival-styled tour packages are always a hit or miss. Whether it’s the world's most expensive water or incredibly sloppy stage times and delays, there's usually some aspect of these types of shows that overall ruin the whole experience of seeing a lot of your favorite bands at one location. Sounds of the Underground is a relatively new tour package, only being on their second year, and is already showing some very serious competition against bigger tour packages like Ozzfest and Warped Tour. After witnessing one of the Sounds of the Underground shows, you'll realize that this tour is actually a hit.
The band line-up does a great job of being unbiased with the whole metalcore/hardcore vs. death metal, and really tries to provide a little something for fans of each style of music. For example, this is quite possibly the only show where you will find legendary acts like Gwar, Cannibal Corpse, and Converge all sharing the same stage. Of course what is a great line-up worth if you miss half the bands because of delayed time schedules and confusing stage locations? Fortunately, SOTU does not fail to impress when it comes to lighting fast transition times, and keeping it limited to one stage. Drum kits are loaded on rolling platforms and made setup/tear down times nearly unrecognizable (with the exception of Gwar's massive amount of stage props).
Of course, every show has its downsides. Sound-wise, it was either really good, or really bad. Bass drums were usually turned up way to loud and ended up drowning out guitars almost completely and even Horse the Band's synth. Coincidentally, during bigger acts like Cannibal Corpse and Gwar, the sound was top notch. Also, prices for beverages were still ridiculous, reaching over $3.00 for a single can of pop.
All of the bands put on really solid performances with the exception of The Chariot, whom recently lost two more original members, leaving them with Josh Scogin being the only original member. The band's replacements were extremely unprofessional, and really just made it sound like a Chariot cover band. The band's poor performance was recognized with consistent "boos", explicative gestures and language, and random items, including a drumstick that the drummer threw out to the crowd, getting thrown at them. Tough crowd or not, the band needs a lot of work if they plan on doing more events like this.
On the opposite end, Gwar was easily the highlight of the day, whether you’re a fan of their music or not, if you see the name "Gwar" on a show flyer, you're guaranteed to have a good time. Even while trying to entertain fans with onstage antics such as slaying a T-Rex named Gore Gore, or slicing off the president's head and spraying fake blood all over the crowd, these guys don't miss a single beat. Other noteworthy performances were Converge, which lead vocalist Jacob Bannon said it best when he started their set by saying "We have nothing to say, we’re just going to play some music now", and they played it very well and loud, and Horse the band is always fun to watch because every time they hit the stage it's like seeing a bunch of little kids going into a toy store, the only difference is that they’re going on to a stage, and the kids are in grown men's bodies. These guys are definitely putting the much-needed fun back into music.
Overall, Sounds of the Underground offers an excellent stress-free way of seeing all of your favorite up and coming bands for a bargain price. If there’s one summer festival you go to this year, make it this one; unless you really want to see Disturbed and System of a Down that badly.