by Clint Burgess

As a rule, side projects are currently very cosmopolitan. The present popular rock scene has bred such successful projects as A Perfect Circle, Boxcar Racer and Velvet Revolver, to name a few. On the local scene, the B-Side saw the birth of Riverside on Friday night. This quartet was spawned by George Silva of Five Foot Thick and features some equally familiar faces from around the rock 'n' roll slums of Spokane.

The collective made its live debut memorable with a high-energy set, and they even had swag to pimp to the masses. Riverside hit the crowd early and often, with heavy guitars backed sufficiently by Mikey McClung of Mourning After on drums. Deafening beats slinked their way between the heavy bottom end of the bass, and it all came together to incarnate well-crafted songs of the hardcore variety. The angle here is that a two-guitarist lineup provided for subtle and diverse melodies that were complimented well by vocalist Christian Hendrick's delivery. The crowd was way into the sounds and showed overwhelming support for the newcomers. Silva was pleased with the set: "For this being our first onstage performance, I think we played really tight. And we had a good time up there."

It was easy to see that the band was enjoying themselves, and they were fun to watch. They incorporated interesting lighting and were really into the performance aspect of the music. I asked bassist Pat Stookey what he thought about the "Side Project" status of this band. "George's priority is Five Foot Thick, and we are all really supportive of that," remarked Stookey. "He is dedicated to what were doing but FFT is his main focus." Things are progressing quickly in part to Silva's connections in the biz. The group has a five-song EP available and a show at the EMP in Seattle lined up in November. They'll also be opening for Minus the Bear at the Detour on Nov. 7.

The remainder of the evening found Horrible Disaster turning in a beautifully disastrous set of traditional punk tunes infused with attitude and passion. These guys really rocked out and poured ounces of sweat into each and every bar chord. The songs were rooted in basic progressions but included some welcome departures from typical three-chord punk. Last but not least were Spokane's real, live, unleashed freaks, Fly Real. The masses huddled to the stage to take in the twisted metal onslaught of these preachers of the drop D religion. Pounding only begins to describe the feeling that emanated from the massive p.a. speakers. If nothing else, this band had serious mind-blowing volumes going for them. Fly Real squeezed in tweaked-out instrumental effects, and vocalist Justin Green used multiple layering techniques to create atmospheric vocal stylings. This accompanied his euphoric stage movements of the "Man, I'm spaced out" variety. Onlookers got a little rowdy at times, but the machismo maintained at a tolerable minimum.

Publication date: 10/30/03

First Friday at Golden Handle @ Golden Handle Brewing Co.

Fri., Feb. 3, 6:30-9 p.m.
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