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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Deathstar: Making Noise 'Twixt Velour & Muse

You can still read the sign that says "LEGION" on the empty building between Velour and Muse. It is the ghost of a failed skate shop, sitting empty for years. The floors are stripped and dirty. The walls are covered in graffiti. And if you want to use the bathroom, I suggest you walk over to Muse (and buy a turkey pesto while you're at it). It's a shell. Or at least it was until a somewhat enterprising young Tyler Foisy decided to make a hardcore venue out of it.

Hard music is pretty ignored in Provo. And I mean hard music like garage rock and punk and hardcore. Velour just plain won't book those bands, and you'll only see one or two shows a month at Muse featuring that kind of music. I'm not a fan of post-hardcore at all, personally, but I know that there is a large community around here that doesn't get much recognition. Plus the harder garage rock bands have nowhere to play besides the Compound, which I have previously discussed in detail.

The Deathstar is a venue for those forgotten bands. It's not going to be stealing much business from its neighbors, but instead will be catering to those who haven't been going to any shows because there's no one they want to see. I personally do believe that three venues side by side all competing is not going to be healthy for the scene, and the Deathstar is not booking enough shows to stay open for very long. But all that said, I played there on Saturday and had a blast. And I would like to review the show!

The Lunatic

I've talked a lot about the Lunatic, having played a few shows with them now and generally being in love with them. They once again gave us a great performance, opening the show. They had to run around and fetch their own microphones because the venue only had one on hand. The sound system there is not spectacular, but it's certainly not bad either and the acoustics in the room help a lot. The Lunatic sound better in those venues than at Velour, because their amps work best when not mic'd. If you haven't seen them play yet, please check them out soon.

The Travelling Salesmen

After they finished, we played. The Deathstar does not have a stage so we played eye-to-eye with the audience which I absolutely love doing. The Deathstar also has little in the way of lights, so it's very difficult to see when on stage so I often found myself playing a halfstep off. But I had so much fun jumping around and being loud and distorted and screaming in the mic that neither I nor the audience cared. It was a very enjoyable experience and I wouldn't mind playing there again.

Big Trub

Big Trub are a very loud, simple four-piece punk band. People moshed something crazy to them. It's not music for everyone, but if you're into that sort of thing I suggest you see them play. While it's not music you'd catch me listening to at home, I do find it refreshing to see a band like that in a town like this.

The Broken Spells

In my review of the Compound, I talked in length about the Broken Spells. But to keep it short: they rock. They're a really fun band that plays good music. This time we could actually hear Jessica Davis' (SLFM) synth, and it added a lot to the music. They're a garage rock band with heavy punk influences, and they do it well. They're quickly becoming one of my favorite local bands and I will make sure to go to every Compound show I can to see them play.

In conclusion, the Deathstar is gritty and simple. It's just you and some music with no fanfare in between. If you're the type who likes to your music loud and proud, check them out. You won't find a moshpit anywhere else in town either. I don't know how long it will be around, so let's enjoy it while it lasts.



  1. I had so much fun at this show.
    Totally agree with you about The Lunatic - I hadn't paid them much attention before but I loved them on Saturday. Good stuff.

  2. Thanks, Alex.

    I'm not from here...wasn't sure why people here were so obsessed with that folk/indie sound (I couldn't care less for it, to be honest.) I was wondering where the rock was—do the venues help foster this lack of distortion? I'm by no means one who will champion hardcore (I detest it), but this town could certainly rock a little harder. If the Death Star can become that kind of venue, then the Lunatic will gladly keep playing there (even if there are opened condoms lying in the back room.)

  3. You're welcome!
    I'm not completely opposed to folk or alt-country; that being said, I definitely think Provo is over-saturated with these bands. There are some that stand out, to me, and I really like a few of them. I am bored with the majority of them though. I do think that Velour especially focuses on those types of bands - but Velour has also done a lot to put Provo on the map, so...
    I'm also pretty down for hardcore shows - they are a lot of fun, and there are some pretty cool hardcore bands around here. They used to play at Muse about once a month or so, but I haven't been to one in a while... (My boyfriend, also in the Crylics, was in a hardcore band for a while.)
    So, I'm really stoked on the Deathstar being open and I sure hope you guys do play there more because I'll try to be at every show.

  4. Thanks Alex, I appreciate that a lot. I met a few guys from the Crylics at Muse tonight. They were both really cool. I loved that sampler they had. I don't dislike folk or country at all, and I wouldn't want to give that impression, but...there's a very distinct kind of folk that's being churned out in Provo. It seems like 99% of the folk singers think they're Devendra Banhart, who was never very special to begin with. Then Joshua James got big for (I honestly can't tell the difference) essentially taking Banhart's entire sound. That's fine, but you hit the nail on the head with "over-saturated". I think I've grown to dislike the genre as a whole even more since coming out to Utah, most likely just in response to EVERYONE and their mother having a folk album out here. By comparison, it makes hardcore a real breath of fresh air.

    And hey! We're doing an acoustic show on Thursday at Muse if you feel like coming. Thanks again for the kind words.

  5. Your blog rules, Mike... and so does The Death Star.

  6. i don't think the death star is in competetion with anyone. the death star is just as important and maybe more important for the losers in this town as the compound is. the losers don't give a fuck about the other venues because the other venues don't give a fuck about the losers. it's pretty simple. death star rules. and it sounds way better with their shitty pa and bare walls than any other venue i've played at around here. fuck everyone else.


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