By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos & “Open Your Eyes” article by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
It amazes me that every time I go to see Eyes Set to Kill; I end up seeing them at the Slidebar, in Fullerton, Calif. The last time I saw them perform, was last April, when they toured with Bad Seed Rising and The Nearly Deads. It has been a long road for the group, in the past 2 years, with working on the new self-titled album and different lineup changes. However, they are still going strong and nothing seems to have stopped their momentum. So, once again at the Slidebar, they have graced their presence, and brought the loyal fans of Fullerton some much needed rock ‘n’ roll excitement. Joining them on this run, were Open Your Eyes, Behind the Fallen, and Takers Leavers.
The first group up, was local boys Takers Leavers. Coming from the OC, this post-hardcore group looked to make a splash and get the fans in the mood for some metal fun. I really enjoyed hearing the simplicity in their hardcore sound, with frontman/rhythm guitarist David Baqi wailing up there, both on the axe and mic. However, while Baqi is a good singer, he speaks very softly when addressing the fans; something he needs to work on. Lead guitarist Robby Friend played some mean licks, while bassist/screamer Karem Idrees and drummer John Gee rocked the beats off each song. Playing some nice numbers like “Mother of Bombs,” “The Art,” and “Fist to Wall,” Takers Leavers did a bang up job waking up the crowd. During the final song, “Get Up and Exorcise,” a fan grabbed a microphone and joined in on the roaring. Young and hungry, Takers Leavers are looking to dominate in the future.
Full Takers Leavers slideshow below:
Behind the Fallen, was a heavy metal group I was not ready for. Like Takers Leavers, they have amazing potential and drive. The room filled up with stoked fans showing their support for the hard rockers of Orange County. Nathan Spades is their new vocalist, and he screams with such zeal. I was mostly impressed with lead guitarist and vocalist David Bruno, who was a wizard on his instrument of destruction. While Bruno laid the ground work on some stupendous solos, 2nd guitarist Chris Khaos riffed the shit out of the rhythms. They played a six song set list that included “Above the Rising,” “You’re Just a Friend,” “Chasing Glory,” and a new song, “Revenant.” The beat of the music was handled beautifully by Dylan Roy on drums and Eric Sinful on bass. After the last song, “Satellite,” I wanted more. I will be seeing Behind the Fallen again soon enough.
Full Behind the Fallen slideshow below:
Taking the stage next was a hard rock band emerging from Chicago, IL called Open Your Eyes. Fronted by the dreadlock heavy Justin King, who pulls double duty, by supplying the riff heavy guitar chords. King adds a bit of a pop punk flavor to the lyrics with songs like “Broken Road” and “Stay Alive,” yet knows how to bring out those classic shredding techniques for the solos, with his fingers lighting up the frets. Plucking away on the bass, and running around the stage, was the energetic Comron Fouladi. Fouladi is a sight to see, as he could barely be contained by the foot of the stage, and often leaning over the crowd to just find more room to release his energy. Joining the guys on the drum kit, was Javier Gauna. Playing on a pretty basic drum kit, but making the most of every piece he had. Open Your Eyes was a perfect accompaniment to the tour with Eyes Set to Kill, and they have the stage personalities to draw the attention of anyone in the audience. Keep an eye out for Open Your Eyes, as I will be looking forward to the next time these guys come through California.
Full Open Your Eyes slideshow below:
It has been almost a year since I last saw Eyes Set to Kill, and they still are a kick-ass band. Led by guitarist/vocalist Alexia Rodriguez, they were greeted by a thunderous reception. Not only is Rodriguez a superior singer, but she can play some fabulous guitar licks. Along with AJ Bartholomew, they would often trade solos. They each brought their “A” game to the table, while playing on the axe. Bartholomew is also an intense screamer. Drummer Caleb Clifton scorches each song, clanging and banging away on the drum kit. Comron Fouladi of Open Your Eyes has officially become their new bassist, and he wails on it big time. There were times where he swung his bass around his body, which wowed the fans, including me. Most of their songs have come from the 2013 masterpiece, Masks.
From songs like “Lost and Forgotten,” “The New Plague,” “Haze,” and “Where I Want to Be,” Eyes Set to Kill ripped through their set with pure energy. They even played the iconic Cranberries song “Zombies” in honor of their frontwoman, who recently passed away, Dolores O’Riordan. Rodriguez drove the song home with her tantalizing singing. Also, with the new album about to drop, they played 2 songs off the record, “Not Sorry” and “Break.” After ending the show with the classic “Darling,” the fans showed their love by chanting “One more song!” Of course, the group obliged with another classic the fans asked for, “Reach.” That is genuine fan appreciation.
Full Eyes Set to Kill slideshow below:
Once again, Eyes Set to Kill mesmerized the fans of Fullerton. If anything, I believed this show was better than the one in April, because a lot more fans showed up, including my boy Tyler Olsen (Rockaholic). Every band that performed with them, gave the crowd a show with their brand of rock. The Slidebar is always a fun place to catch a show. I look forward to the next time they roll up to Fullerton. To Eyes Set to Kill, Open Your Eyes, Behind the Fallen, and Takers Leavers, I salute you. Horns up!!!