The Rebel Set, The Oakland Raiders, Freaks of Nature - Rogue Bar - 1/24/2014

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Phoenix-based four-piece band, which recently released the 12-song record How to Make a Monster and its hard and fast surf rock. All of its members clearly have talent and can play their instruments. They just didn't bring anything particularly fresh to the stage. Surf rock has been popping up more as a popular style of music within the local scene, and perhaps the over-saturation is starting to show.

Fellow surf rockers The Oakland Raiders opened the night, prefaced by local comedian Eli Kluger taking to the stage and warming the crowd up with some jokes. His dry form of humor, very much in the "I'm-so-not-funny-I-must-be-funny" vein, was well received. He opened thing up by saying, "President Obama is really doing a great masterminding 9/11" and kept the laughs rolling from there.

The Raiders took the stage after about five minutes of jokes from Kluger, and, as a six-piece, were all right. The band has had an ever-shifting lineup for the entirety of their six-month lifespan.

Current bass player Andrew Jemsek has also played drums and keyboard, while rhythm guitarist Nick Villa was performing his first show with the band in a few months. I didn't catch their names, but Friday's gig was the first Oakland Raiders' show that I've scene with its current drummer, third guitarist, and keyboard player.

The crowd had barely shown up -- there were perhaps 25 people inside the Rogue Bar -- but seemed to be content. Frontman James Hanna did his thing, playing without a pick, singing in a falsetto, and doing his awkward shimmy. It was a real shame, however, that he couldn't be heard over the instruments.

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Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses