FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve had a woody for this band since the first time I heard ‘Surrender’ and have been geeking out on their sound ever since. So when I found out they were launching their U.S. tour right in my San Diego stomping ground, everything else went on hold for a night.
VR SEX is an all-star band comprised of Noel Skum (Andrew Clinco of Drab Majesty), Z. Oro (Aaron Montaigne of Antioch Arrow/Heroin/DBC), and Mico Frost (Brian Tarney). On this night, the band performed as a quintet with Noel on guitar and sharing lead vocals with Z.
The information I could gather about this LA band was a bit sparse, so I’ve just kept my ear to the ground; figuring/hoping they’d make their way down south eventually. Happily, the tour coincides with the release of their new full-length, Rough Dimension, but more on that later.
Opening the night was Oakland’s Marbled Eye. They have great musicianship with a rock-solid rhythm section. One thing that confused me, though, was when certain pre-recorded musical parts suddenly came from out of nowhere. It seemed out of place. Despite that, they seemed to win the crowd over. I look forward to seeing what comes next from this dynamic quartet.
By the time VR SEX took the stage, the venue was about two-thirds full. I was worried as, when I arrived, the place was still quiet with few people hanging out. It just goes to show that The Casbah can usually be counted on for a good time, even on a Thursday night.
I was amused that the band took the stage dressed identically as Mormon missionaries – complete with the LDS name tags. Z. hit the ground running; a non-stop bundle of energy as he danced, swished and shimmied on the stage as though he was having the time of his life. The rest of the band were tight and solid. Noel stood stoically on guitar; his towering stature totally dominating stage left. Their “wall of sound” approach was a bit dialed back from what I heard on the recordings. That was probably the band having mercy on the soundman. Any minor nit-picking about the sound could be easily explained away as the band playing their first gig of the tour and have not yet shaken the bugs out.
What amazed me most was the precise powerhouse drumming that fueled the whole experience. Early recordings utilized a drum machine. But this live lineup is as intense and powerful as any show I’ve seen in recent memory. Every song they played was a delight – even the songs I wasn’t familiar with. This was truly one of those sublime live experiences that reminded me of why I go to so many shows.
After the show, I was tempted to ask the band for an interview. But, as I had not bought the new album yet and wasn’t up to speed, I didn’t want to look like an idiot. So I just settled on a few handshakes and attaboys and was on my way. The new album, by the way, will be the subject of my next installment.
As VR SEX will be on tour through April, you should do yourself a favor and check them out when they come to your town.