Vin Rouge @ Bottom of the Hill, 8/29/08

I am constantly searching for a good, local industrial hard rock band. It’s been a long search. Most things border too much on dancey/techno or go too light.

When I came across Vin Rouge, I got really excited. Psychedelic/Industrial/Rock? Yes, please. The few tracks up on MySpace had me a bit confused, though. There was a tad industrial in there, and then there was a track that was decidedly not.

I asked them how they came up with their name in my monthly question, and was pleased with a Lynch reference. It was time to see them live.

Unfortunately, I am not a fan of the opener, The New Up. I came late, but still had to endure almost their entire set. My friend and I exchange worried glances, as she tells me, “don’t judge a band by it’s opener”.

What started out as a mediocre set worked its way up to being a pretty satisfying one. I expect a certain intense vibe from bands that play this kind of music, and Vin Rouge doesn’t really hit the mark. But, they are interesting enough to make up for it. The lead singer, despite the fact that he looks a lot like the singer from the Goo Goo Dolls and has more of an ’80s hair metal higher pitched voice, is a fun watch. He likes to use the drum kit as a launch pad. The guitarist plays mostly with his eyes closed, very in the zone, nonchalantly strumming his screaming guitar. The bassist constantly wears a mad face, looking like he might smash his instrument to pieces any minute. The drummer made funny faces as he beat the hell out of his drums.

Their material spanned grinding hard rock, stoner instrumentals, and a ballad or two. I would not say it is psychedelic, and only parts of some songs could be labeled industrial. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but their mostly tight sound was still pleasing.

It was hard to hear some of the higher vocals, as the singer backed off the mic too much during those parts. And I thought his leaving the stage at one point to tell the people out back smoking to come watch the show was…interesting. He may be the most hyper vocalist I’ve seen in a local band- and this works both for him and against him.

I left the show having mixed feelings about this band. There are some interesting elements to them, but they are lacking something to bring them all together.

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OVERALL: 6/10
Vin Rouge performance: 6/10
The New Up performance: 3/10
venue (Bottom of the Hill): 9/10
crowd/scene: 6/10
value ($10.00/ticket): 7/10
memorable: 6.5/10

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