Ready To Rumble
Liquid 8's music, a cross between heavy metal and punk, is all soul.
Thursday, October 18, 2001
There is a new twist to Heavy Metal here in the Monterey music scene. This past spring groups of energetic thrashers stepped up to microphones across the Peninsula and revived the hammering sound of metal as a musical art form--Liquid 8 being chief among them. Liquid 8''s music pushes all the envelopes; being at once as loud and driving as metal, technically proficient and original, but with the askew views and screaming intensity more commonly found oozing from punk.
"We are not a cover band," Paul Hastey, singer for Liquid 8 says. "And calling us heavy metal isn''t exactly right--we''re just heavy."
To describe Liquid 8''s sound means trying to describe a deep-rooted emotion. The band commonly tunes down a step. This means that the rhythm section tunes its strings lower on the scale which leads to a growling sound that literally shakes a room and produces an effect that stimulates a slow feeling of anxiety, a nervous mania between action and resolute anger. Tony Gonzalez shifts his drumming from straight rhythm to accents that turn the normal reaction to just dance into a kind of chaotic pandemonium. Don Frank, bassist, whether tuned down or in scale, pounds the rhythm into a place sounding more like a tuned Howitzer than a bass. Together, they create a musical spirit that is great for exorcising angry demons. It''s music that has the spirit of old-style metal, but also has the ability to unify a room by calling attention to pain, anxiety, and frustration over any number of topics.
Liquid 8''s sound is derived from many sources. The Gonzalez brothers, Tony (on drums) and Robert (on guitar), spearhead a lot of the music between themselves. The duo grew up on Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, and also on the finer pieces of R&B and classical compositions--the types of music Rob Gonzalez classifies as the "meat and potatoes" sector of musical learning. Singer Hastey is an avid fan of both punk and metal and this shows plainly in the lyrics he comes up with for Liquid 8, in songs like "Pain."
But even Hastey has a difficult time describing the lyrics outside their musical context, preferring brevity to philosophical posturing. "It''s about pain, what more can you say about it?" Hastey says with a shrug.
Even if words aren''t up to the task of describing Liquid 8''s music, listening to the band it is apparent that the members think about what they play as much as how they choose to play it.
The group will perform on Friday at Viva on Alvarado and will undoubtedly pull in the large crowd the band has worked diligently to build and keep. In addition to their performances, band members do more to promote Liquid 8 and the bands who perform with them than perhaps any other local rock group on the Peninsula. They don''t seem to ever expect a crowd--they create them not only with musical proficiency but also with hard work...the key to success in almost every enterprise.
Liquid 8 plays Viva Monterey on Friday. Opening are Unlearned and a Santa Cruz band, 30-Years War. No cover. 646-1415.