Live Review: Snot - The Key Club, Hollywood
Mon, 13 Oct 2008 06:49:24
The moment that Snot hit the stage at The Key Club, the Sunset Strip came to life. This wasn't just the resurrection of a brand name; it was a rapturous rebirth for one of hard rock's most underrated and unsung acts. The disco ball above the stage spun the clock back to Hollywood's last great rock scene: not 1987, but 1997. The late '90s SoCal scene hasn't been chronicled adequately, but it gave birth to so many crucial heavy bands. It provided a springboard for acts like System of a Down, Fear Factory, Static-X, Coal Chamber, and of course, Snot. However, the latter didn't necessarily get their shot since enigmatic frontman Lynn Strait tragically passed away in a car accident in 1998. Who knows what Snot's trajectory would've been if that hadn't happened. However, what Snot's doing now serves as a fitting tribute to Lynn and a powerful evolution that could very well shake things up like only Snot could.
Featuring new singer Tommy "Vext" Cummings (ex-Divine Heresy), Snot rekindled their storied fire. Hitting the stage with their eponymous anthem, the band wasted no time commencing complete crowd destruction. Guitarist Mikey Doling played with an unparalleled passion, running in circles around the stage and jumping on his amplifier. Standing on the amp, Doling looked victorious, and his band mates crisscrossed in front of him. However, even with all of their antics, Snot didn't miss a note. Doling shredded through the track's riff like Snot had never left.
During "Joy Ride," axeman Sonny Mayo churned out a crunching, jagged riff that bounced into the song's massive chorus as he filled in backing vocals. Bassist John "Tumor" Fahnestock looked possessed as he swung his long brown hair, bolting down the groove in an unshakable fashion. Then there was drummer Jamie Miller. He swung his sticks around his head like Shannon Larkin, and he blasted out the backbeats for Snot's psychedelic punk rock warfare. "The Box" began with an eerie calm before morphing into a big destructive hook. Doling crushed his guitar strings, volleying riffs back and forth with Mayo as the sold out crowd never stopped moshing.
Snot brandished a funky sensibility with Doling's wah pedal psychosis. The band utilized the guitar effects with a mastery that extended far beyond the nu metal template. That was evident from the strains of "Snooze Button." During a trippy little interlude, Doling pulled out a solo that offered the perfect segue for the set. Halfway through the show, Doling exclaimed, "We've got Lynn's family here. We love you guys. Everything we do is for Lynn!" That was instantly apparent. The songs were as kinetic, psychotic and alive as they've ever been.
It's hard to step into anyone's shoes, let alone someone as powerful as Lynn Strait was. Tommy channeled Lynn's intensity with both reverence and respect. However, he brought his own power to the performance. He's a hulking figure with a voice to match his physique. He dedicated "I Jus' Lied" to "All the ladies in the house," and he gunned right through the riff with his bouncy baritone.
Then there were the two new songs, which were an all-out aural assault. "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" dropped like a guillotine from a gnashing riff to a soaring chorus, showcasing Tommy's powerful pipes. The song ripped from brutal to beautiful, and if this is the future of Snot, it's looking very bright. The hook's pained wail felt more Layne Staley than anything else, and the crowd couldn't turn away. Then there was "The Band Plays On" a punky and powerful number that ripped the audience in half.
Of course, one of Snot's buddies from the old days had to make an appearance. During "Tecato," Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down/Achozen) took the stage with a guitar and ripped a feedback-drenched riff alongside the band. The three axemen kneeled down together in a circle with Shavo. Bending the strings, Shavo pulled the riff right from his soul. Shavo's got an undeniable magnetism live, and the audience and the band shared that with him as he rocked out.
"Absent"—one of Snot's last recordings with Lynn—exploded and diminished with a slow and somber delivery. It was nothing short of tearjerking. Afterwards, Tommy commented, "In no way can I ever replace my hero Lynn Strait. Give it up one more time for Lynn fucking Strait!" The crowd screamed in thunderous fashion. However, there was an even more telling moment earlier in the set. About "The Band Plays On," Tommy commented, "You can download it for free on our MySpace page. We're not rock stars." However after such an incredible display, Snot proved that they're every bit as worthy of "rock star" reverence as any other band is. Long live Snot! Welcome back.