by Clint Burgess

Every once in a great while, fortuitous opportunities arise and present otherworldly experiences while offering a glimpse of life on a higher plane. Saturday night at Sol & eacute; was one of those times.

The stripped-down, bare essentials are what Sol & eacute; offers as a venue. What better place to keep kids rocking out than a musty old industrial space in a dank alley in the heart of downtown? Exposed rafters sport glow-in-the-dark stars dangling randomly overhead. At ground level, show-goers find a basement-party decor complete with multiple couches.

The first band I caught was Self-Inheritance. This emo-core band, I would call them, like so many others, has been stricken by the plague of post-At-The-Drive-In fallout. (Actually, I have to say that it was better than seeing a bunch of Korn-abies rap and scream all night long.) The group ambitiously incorporated samples and a slide projector. Unfortunately, the samples were rendered ineffective by their poor placement, and the slide show was equally ill-conceived. I became more interested in watching the guy who was glued to the stack of PA speakers with his jacket tossed over his head, swaying spastically to the music.

Then things got interesting. Usually, when I hear really good things about a band before I see them, I am more often than not disappointed. It's like, "How can they live up to the hype?" This could have been the case with These Arms Are Snakes. The conglomeration of Seattle musicians from some notable acts including Botch, Kill Sadie and Nine Iron Spitfire (as well as Joel Preston, formerly of Bell47) was about to put a stranglehold on the Sol & eacute; crowd.

I let my critical tendencies rest momentarily. As the band set up, my interest was piqued as a synthesizer, a variety of vocal effects and some very unassuming musicians made their way onstage. This band grabbed me from the start. The first song held a solid instrumental hook that built gradually and then erupted into sonic madness as the band members flailed around the stage. From the get-go, front man Steve Snere commanded the audience with his irresistible stage presence and effects-drenched vocal meanderings. More than once during the set, he foot-planted off the top of Preston's bass drum and writhed wildly back to the stage.

This group changed my life. Seriously. They had everything; maturity, engaging energy and well-crafted songs. All of which leads me to believe that they will soon be moving on to loftier endeavors. When asked his thoughts on the show, Snere said, "We didn't know what to expect, but everybody was super-nice and very welcoming." He also said that their reception in the Seattle scene has been very good. The band will have an EP out in July, with a tour to follow.

These Arms Are Snakes = These Guys Are Radical.

Watch our music section every week as Clint Burgess and other Inlander scenesters check out the local nightlife in "On the Scene."

Publication date: 03/06/03

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