show review

The Missing @ The Grog Shop 3/8/14

Lisa Sanchez
Saturday, March 8th, The Missing tore through the Grog Shop with a slew of talented local up-and-comers, including Rival Knives, Houses, Cicada Sunrise, and Third World Leader. Unfortunately, there were about as many people there as my high school graduation party. It’s your loss Cleveland, The Missing still performed as if they were playing to a packed stadium of drunk, screaming, groupies.

Despite the less than packed attendance, the openers still delivered an onslaught of crashing sounds and catchy lyrics. March 8th was The Missing's official/unofficial comeback show after not performing for the last four months. The show also kicked off the CD release for Rival Knives, who played direct support for The Missing on Saturday.

The first act featured Third World Leader, a progressive hard-rock band who played short videos during their performances. Following Third World Leader, alternative-based Cicada Sunrise played a short set featuring some new songs from their upcoming album Organic Damage, which is scheduled to be released in the next few months.

Next, Houses took the stage in a fiery whirl of guitar-rock and thrashing headbanging. The self-ascribed "noise rock" band lived up to their designation by providing a unique, albeit complex, and multi-layered sound that I wasn't initially sure the bare-bones three-piece could pull off. Houses made it feel as if they were the best garage band to ever rock your mother's basement. Their music sounded like it was made to play on an 8-track in an El Camino. It was groovy, care-free, and totally sincere. Just three individuals pulled off the musical equivalent of Bruce Springsteen's whole back-up band, his possible body double, guitar techs, and make up team. Don't underestimate the energy and talent of any band, because Houses have them all in spades.

Rival Knives played a special blend of punk and party metal that I found infectious and totally addictive. They reminded me of Motorhead if, in some twisted backwards music universe, Motorhead grew up listening to Black Flag and Social Distortion. Rival Knives, previously known as The Goonz, just gave away free, sleeved copies of their CD Blood City at the March 8th show. I thought second Christmas had come. Free, quality Cleveland punk? Be still my ever-beating napalm heart. The four-piece punk ensemble played fast and honest working-class tunes about the merits of alcohol consumption and tearing apart the system that fit right in with the gritty setting of the Grog Shop.

Finally, The Missing took the stage in all of their beer-swilling, jean-clad glory. As Chris Marinin had mentioned to me previously in our interview, The Missing strive to cultivate a sense of community and inclusiveness despite who attends their shows. I have to vouch for the; The Missing are men of their words. They engaged the crowd, repeatedly thanking them for staying to see them (considering the show had run a bit later than expected) as well as inviting people on stage, and sharing the microphone as if it wasn't theirs to begin with.

The stage banter between members of The Missing is endearing and comfortable. Despite being onstage, they still communicate with each other and with the crowd as if all of the people there are just old friends catching up at their favorite haunt. The Missing played an array of songs including "City of Curses" and "Spiderbites", but one of my favorite parts was Marinin's candor introducing the songs including, "This is about my heroin addicted ex-girlfriend" and "Fuck it, just quit your job and dance!" Hey man, you just can't fake that kind of legitimacy.

It made no difference whether The Missing were playing in front of 50 people or 5,000, they still put their bodies to the limit and rock out no matter what venue or what crowd. That's the mark of someone who truly loves what they do. No matter what the situation, you can't stop The Missing or any other passion-driven Clevelander from delivering the most show-stopping performance you've ever seen on the small stage. Marinin confirmed onstage at the Grog Shop that they would be putting out new music this year and they're also playing another show at the Agora this month. Cleveland, support your local bands, because they're the only ones that know what Cleveland embodies, plus they match it with musical accompaniment.
All photos property of Lisa Sanchez/2014...
Rival Knives
The Missing