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The Juliana Theory, Zao, Sinai Beach - March 3rd, 2005 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

By: Scott Olivenbaum

Schizophrenic bills are ok for big festivals, but they are near disastrous for small club tours. Such was the case with the Zao/The Juliana Theory tour; a pair of bands with a long history who felt that it would be fun to hit the road together.

Well, perhaps they had fun, but the audience at Irving Plaza left unsatisfied.

Two bands with distinctly different fan bases, the metalcore fans of Zao did not stick around for the ‘headlining’ Juliana Theory. And The Juliana Theory fans, well, there weren’t many.

A pop-ish emo group, Juliana Theory has a core group of teenage fans that didn’t/weren’t able to come out and see them. The Pittsburgh band did not take the stage until 11 p.m. on a school night and was left playing in front of a tiny, older, mostly-ambivalent crowd. It certainly had an effect of the band’s performance as all of the sing-along tracks were met with near-silence. Do not take this as any fault of the musicians; the group played pretty hard and put energy out, but it dissipated in the empty spaces of the venue. The resulting set was a far cry from the bouncing lively one recorded for the Juliana Theory’s Live 10.13.2001 album.

Zao, touring on their newest album, The Funeral Of God, played just as energetic a set, and were lucky enough to have a few hardcore fans around to enjoy it. Of course, not a word of Dan Weyandt’s screamed/yelled vocals could be distinguished, but the exuberant guys in the pit loved it nonetheless.

The same can’t be said for one of the openers, Sinai Beach. The California hardcore outfit screamed through a quick set that was totally lost upon the New York crowd. Open Hand, of all of the bands on the bill, may have picked up a few fans. The Trustkill quartet played a quirky, progressive brand of emo rock that had a few heads nodding. However, they did take forever and a day in between songs, something they will need to improve upon to hone their live show.

Let this be a lesson to all of the up-and-coming bands out there, while you are desperate to get your music out there, play to crowds that are fans of your particular genre. On a mixed-up bill, no matter how hard or well you play if the people aren’t there to hear your brand of music, they won’t respond. [END]

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