Friday, May 4, 2012

Monsters In The Basement - Chrome Lounge

I'm sure at some time in our lives we all have been afraid of the monsters in the closet, under the bed, in the attic and those that have been elected into higher offices in the government but after we age those fears begin to dissipate (except for the elected people).  We all have had these fears but perhaps the worst of all of the monsters were in that dark, dank basement.  Its creepy down there at age five (let alone forty five), but should we really fear those monsters?

That's a good question now isn't it, but I think I may have the answer, it depends on the monsters.  In examining the monsters I think the one that we should really avoid is the creepy one with an orange mullet, grungy teeth and a full body tattoo of himself but that is perhaps an extreme case.  With that said I think the monsters you shouldn't fear are the ones I saw on the stage at the Chrome Lounge in Omaha, NE on April 28th, 2012.

Monsters In The Basement, isn't that a great name of a band?  The name itself emotes a primal fear for nearly all small children (and some adults for that matter), but one can't discount the potential fear of hearing a really crappy band with a great name.  As tourists in Omaha we went on adventure with a really cool friend that we met last July at Halfway Jam, and she led us to the Chrome Lounge.  As we entered this really cool establishment we were exposed to something I would have never expected to see and hear in 99% of the places I could get to.

When you enter an establishment that outside has a bunch of cool looking Harleys and you immediately hear a man singing an Adele song "Someone Like You", your attention is snapped in that direction.  To be honest I actually like that song so when my eyes focused in on the singer I was immediately intrigued.  What I saw was what appeared to be a man with a shaved head, well that was until I saw him from the back (he had an almost traditional Chinese hairstyle called a queue, I looked it up) and at that time it all made sense.

Vocally Steve Ward takes the lyrics and sings them into submission.  Listening to Ward sing the Nirvana song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was like hearing Kurt Cobain.  Ward's voice fits that grunge style so well that he could have come to this time from the past in some type of weird time machine.  Hearing a band do "Whole Lotta Love" as well as they did, coupled with his vocals MITB was awe inspiring.  To describe what Ward is like as a singer it would be some weird fusion of Cobain - Eddie Vetter - Andy Kaufman, he is a brilliant lead singer.

With that in mind what would you expect from a band that was fronted by that unholy allegiance?  I'll tell you what I got, it was something unbelievable.  The range of songs that this band plays is vast and it is more that impossible to pull off every song without some type of apathy from the audience.  I saw none of that but what I saw was a band that played songs by Adele, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Guns N' Roses, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and they played them as if they were their own.

With Todd Beardmore on guitar, Marty Shermann on drums and "Big Dave" Fleming on bass the band enjoys some sort of symbiotic relationship that can only be achieved by the collaborative effort of all.

The level of difficulty to pull of such a feat lyrically alone is insane but to be able to play the music spot on is almost impossible.  The band only played one song that I didn't enjoy "Sweet Child of Mine" but that is for a selfish reason I'm afraid.  That reason being I think the only way that song sounds right is with Slash on guitar, the song is untouchable in my selfish opinion.  Everyone seemed to love the rendition so I know it was great too I just can't admit it.

This band is full of extremely talented musicians, an enigmatic lead singer with a great stage presence and a band that really seems to love what they do.  Omaha I'm jealous, this is exactly the type of band that we need out in this part of the world.  Please take note of this band my friends and go see them live.  Honestly seeing this band by itself made our weekend in Omaha / Council Bluffs (and all of the other bands we saw were an amazing present).  Its the responsibility of everyone that lives in the Omaha /Council Bluffs area to find where this band is playing and attending their shows (talk about no pressure there huh).

Should you fear Monsters In The Basement?  No, there is no reason to.  Except for that orange mulleted one, he's creepy.


  1. Thank you ffor the Review James.... Can you please Change "Tom" Beardmore... to "Todd" Beardmore.... I have a brother named Tom....

    But Hey... My Mom used to get us confused too...!! Ha!!!

    Todd Beardmore

    1. Sorry about the mistake! Its been corrected! I LOVED your show, it was one of the highlights from our trip to Omaha! If we get out there again I'll be looking for one of your shows!