When our good friend and business associate, Shauna O’Donnell (MUEN Magazine/MUEN Talk), asked us to hook up with THE SAMMUS THEORY when they passed through Houston, we jumped at the chance. Hank was able to catch them at Gary’s Spot and do a short video. We’ve included that video here. We later found out that another of her bands, PANDEMIC, were going to be at the Baytown Foozies gig. Wicked D used that opportunity to put together this little article. hope you like it!
This is a bit long-winded, so I’ve broken it up into sections. Do with them what you will.
Arriving at Foozies Bar & Billiards a little after 8pm, I had missed the load in. I decided to walk around to the side doors and back lot just to scope the place out. As I walked back up to the front, I was greeted by PANDEMIC bass player, Isaiah. He explained that two of the band members had wondered off, but he would introduce me to Paul (drums).
When I walked into the bar, the first thing I noticed was the stage. Amazing! Not what I expected of a sports bar. Now, I haven’t toured in quite some time, nor do I get out every week, but the bar stages I remember were 6″ steps above the dance floor. This was a good sized stage, raised about 3′ off the floor with a drum riser and full lighting set up. Just enough to make bands appear larger than life.
Off to the side of the stage, Paul was unpacking his drums. He, Isaiah, and myself had a good chat about living the band life. Around 9pm I received a phone call and had to take care of some business. I excused myself and headed out. Luckily, the first band wasn’t scheduled to play until 10:30pm.
I returned to Foozies with matt with HVAC Service Wenatchee somewhere around 10:30pm and the first band, San Antonio’s Goodnight Ether, were already on stage. Good band, kind of a garage/party band feel. Very raw, but very talented. most of all, fun! These guys were having a great time on stage. They did have a tech problem with the bass, but Isaiah stepped up and offered his bass as a temp replacement. Very cool! Afterward, Herman (vocals) did a great job mingling with the crowd, taking time to stop and thank each and every person in the bar! Then, came back through with a mailing list signup sheet. Made me smile.
THE SAMMUS THEORY
I was unable to catch up with The Sammus Theory until it was nearly time for them to hit the stage. My first contact was with Sam (vocals) and Kyle (rhythm guitar). We briefly introduced ourselves, then off they went. In typical Houston-area sports bar fashion, only a handful of diehards were at the front of the stage. Prior to starting their set, Sam simply stated, “Ok, I understand. We’re a new band, you don’t know us yet. After a couple of songs you guys in the back can join us up here”. Sure enough, a song or two went by and many others moved toward the front. I stood back a bit to take it all in. The band had an amazing stage presence. Ok, that’s it, i’m going in! *braving the pit, pushing my way to the front of the stage, recent heart surgery and all.
From point blank range, I witnessed the sonic barrage and intense visual imagery that is The Sammus Theory. Crunching chops and melodic hooks, effortlessly weaved together with powerful dynamics. Sam reminded me much of David Lee Roth in the way of charisma, attitude, and between songs banter. He worked the crowd wonderfully and was not afraid to engage those he felt were not paying attention to the band. “Are you alive in the back?”, he asked. “Could you at least stand up so I can tell if you’re breathing or not?” A song later, he jumped off the stage and headed to the back of the bar, stating, “I’m gonna go back there and make sure you guys are still alive.”
Kyle (guitar), Nick (bass), and Paul (drums) laid down a wicked groove that kept the crowd jumping. Wait a minute! Screaming lead guitar riffs? WTF? Jeremy (lead guitar) was ripping it up! Hell yeah, adding that kick ass, old school feel. Then, about 25 years out of date, Paul launched into a drum solo! That was wicked cool and the crowd ate it up. Not just banging on the drums, but twirling, flipping, and juggling the sticks as he played. Then came the cowbell, prompting screams from the audience, “more cowbell.”
Just prior to performing their last song of the night, ‘Pure’, Sam asked the crowd up front to scream out ‘Hey Bitch’. Then, asked if we knew who to dedicate that to. We all knew it was directed at the lame ass ‘scene people’ in the back of the bar who were obviously not there for the love of music. The Sammus Theory finished up the way they had begun, powerful, melodic, dynamic, and with an all around kick you in the face attitude!
I caught up with Sam, who was actively pushing the new CD, ‘See (It) Through’. We chatted for a bit, but i didn’t want to get in the way of business, so i headed toward the stage to prepare for Pandemic. This was a completely different band than the one I had just witnessed. Not in a bad way, I mean different, musically. Pandemic hit me with a smooth, calculated, almost progressive sound. I immediately felt the Incubus influence. They had played Foozies previously, on a few occasions, so the crowd draw was there almost at the beginning of the set.
The music was somewhat haunting, yet had a definite buzz. Riffs were heavy, melodic, and dynamic. George (guitar), Isaiah (bass), and Paul (drums) looked and sounded as if they had been performing together a lifetime. Vocalist, Mark, was incredible. He had an amazing high end range that just pierced right through you. As a complete band, they delivered flawless execution!
One of the surprises of the night came when Jimmy, vocalist for local band, Saturate, joined Pandemic on stage. Hector, Saturate’s bass player ran up the side stage and was kind enough to lend George his cowboy hat for the performance. Nice gesture. Kind of a welcome back to Texas, but you forgot your hat feel. I always enjoy the camaraderie of working bands. Too many artists out there trying to compete, thinking they are above the teamwork needed to build a successful music network.
Pandemic finished the set just in time to make last call, and they definitely deserved a drink. I met up with Isaiah once again and I assured him it was a kick ass performance. I don’t know what happened, but Isaiah and Paul were the only members of Pandemic I was able to hook up with. I then wondered over to the merch table to make sure I touched base with some of the other members of The Sammus Theory before I headed out to beat the drunks. On the way out the door, I ran into Jeremy and took a minute to compliment his guitar playing. We chatted for a bit, then I told him we would definitely catch up the next time they passed through.
All in all, it was a great night! Unfortunately, my camera ran into some major tech malfunctions, so I have nothing but what I have written here.
– Wicked D