House of Blues--The Parish
The Bad Off
July 26, 2005
*Please read the previous reviews of The Bad Off for a better description of their sound.
Everyone wants to see a good show. One of the most entertaining things is a rock band taking an "us against them" attitude towards the venue that hired them. In theory--"Yeah, man, SCREW the venue. They don't UNDERSTAND our art. Rock n' roll, BRUTHA. The man's keepin' us DOWN. By the way, how we getting paid at the end of the night?" That sorta thing. Biting the hand that feeds you as you send a knowing glance to the cashman so he'll know it's all an act. Rock n' roll.
There was a V-shaped barricade protruding from the stage Monday night at the Parish room inside the House of Blues. It was there to protect headliners Fu Manchu from the audience. Sure, Fu Manchu fans might be a little rowdy, but this was no speed metal show. This was a stoner rock show. I can't really imagine hard rock and metal lovers that leisurely headbang to the hard groove bumrushing the stage. The House of Blues SHOULD do what they need to do to keep things safe, but it'd be nice to be able to get right up to the band. Fu Manchu and opener The Bad Off had the venue running scared, and that's always fun to see. That's the great thing about a rock show. You're thinking, "Why are the barricades up front? Is something gonna happen? Did something happen? Will there be danger, or is this staged?" There's nothing better before a rock show than that anticipation of craziness.
And, well, Bad Off lead singer/songwriter Erik Corriveaux is a little clumsy. So, there's always an unknown element when watching the local rock band. Corriveaux is just as likely to trip over a cord as he is to pull off some Jagger/Plant/Tyler combo move. These reviews are fed by Corriveaux, mostly. The live instrumentalists(guitarist Brian Berthiaume, bassist Dan Lauricella, and drummer Jody Smith) are always tight. No problem, there. They run through a set of hard rock splash mysticism without missing a beat. In fact, props need to go out to Berthiaume for keeping the illusion of two guitarists. He plays both the rhythm and lead so well that it's hard to notice when he switches. I just wish The Bad Off had another rhythm player so Berthiaume could focus on busting out impressive solos.
Back to Corriveaux. Like at their Circle Bar gig, he upped the ante and went for it. He made sure The Bad Off hit the stage with a bang. Even if he had just been moseying through the crowd a few minutes earlier, when he went onstage, he was serious, and he believed in his power to entertain people. He started by telling the crowd he didn't want any empty space between him and the stage. So, people moved up. Mission accomplished, there. For the next thirty minutes, Corriveaux put on his best frontman performance yet. Moves out the ass, this guy had. Pointing at the crowd, dropping to his knees on the beat, acting as a leaning post for Lauricella. He looked like a person who really thinks he can throw fireballs. He had some dramatic, yoga-ish moves that made it look like he was summoning power from the heavens. That confidence helped him, though at times it was just silly. The shirt came off, but once Corriveaux started the tight pants hip thrusts, it was hard to suppress a laugh. Corriveaux--male stripper/rock star. I hope the women got something out of that part of it.
Let it be said: The Bad Off is a good rock band. They are not a great rock band. No matter how many moves he has or how hard Corriveaux works at being a frontman, the band will be a few licks short of pushing the envelope along. Maybe that'll change when they release new material. It will be a more collaborative effort than their first release. Until then, The Bad Off will continue being an entertaining rock band.