June 11, 2009
Ellsbeth/Dig Jelly Live Review
The Galaxy, Santa Ana
Ellsbeth/Dig Jelly/Roses for Chelsea/She Scream's Remedy
By Bruce Forrest
Photos by Laura Kirazian
Saturday at The Galaxy featured 2 headliners, with similar musical parallels, albeit their own unique styles. Both were fronted by two highly charismatic front-women, backed by musicians who truly know their chops.
Dig Jelly has an infectious groove, hard hitting, yet not overbearing. Vocalist Rayko possesses a commanding stage presence and a take-charge presence on stage. This is important, I believe, especially in a band fronted by a female. Winning over a crowd presents a tougher challenge, and Rayko definitely delivered.
Her vocals are a bit different, in that they aren't the cliché radio-friendly variety. However, it definitely meshes well with the bands unique style. Dig Jelly's music is rather hard to define, think of Red Hot Chili Peppers funk, with a pop appeal, and a dash of metal thrown in. Every song was original, yet familiar sounding. The songs are a tad complex, but yet never pretentious. The rhythm section of Joey Felix and bassist Rain Balin was quite impressive. They were the most proficient 1-2 tandem I have heard in quite some time. Felix, especially, was intense. The band had very good stage presence, and interacted well. Though the crowd in attendance was sparse, this didn't affect Dig Jelly's performance whatsoever. The bands professionalism is a rarity, nowadays, and they make for a act I am eagerly awaiting to see again.
Ellsbeth, from LA, were the main headliners. They were performing, to celebrate the release of their debut Well Dressed Killing Machine. After a moody intro tape, the band kicked into album-opener Defy. The band’s music has an intense ferocity. A hybrid of goth meets metal, and a bit of pop. Interesting to note, was how heavy the band was, without ever straying into thrash. Every song was identifiable with its own melodic touch. There is that fine-line between listenable, and right out thrash, and the band was careful in never stepping over the boundary. Shannon’s non-metal singing style was an interesting contrast to the bands ferocious attack. This actually balanced out, in a unique way. She didn’t dominate the stage as Rayko did, but rather, seemed more comfortable in her job of being another piece of the puzzle. I would have preferred her to come over a bit more aggressive, especially for Ellsbeth's brand of hard rock. But perhaps this isn’t her style, and by no means diminishes her vocal talent, or mesmerizing presence. Drummer Jay Lierman was proficient, with rapid fire double-bass fills, but knew not to overpower any of the material. Guitarists Sean Lacefield and Scott Ramsey were very impressive, with their melodic leads. Bassist Jim Dineen held down the fort quite well.
Unfortunately, Ellsbeth lacked stage presence, but I can't fault them, for this. It was unfortunate the venue was not crowded; it was near empty. The band deserved better, because I would have to believe, with a venue full of head-bangers, this would push Ellsbeth a bit harder. It would be interesting to see the band perform with a fuller, more rabid crowd. Undoubtedly, Ellsbeth would merely feed off the energy, and I think we would see the band at its finest.
Openers Roses for Chelsea demonstrated some impressive musicianship, with good songwriting capability. However, Roses lacked any stage charisma, to look comfortable on stage. Their style of music would be a bitter fit for a coffee-house. Openers She Screams Remedy was a disjointed mess. The band did not seem to be on the same page, musically. Though vocalist Krysten Gammon had a powerful voice, she didn't appear in control of it. Her style was too high-pitched for comfort. The band needs to stop trying to be the next Evanescence, and find their own identity.
Photos by Laura Kirazian