I Will Never Be The Same @ Dakota Bar 11/6/09

Article and Photos By: Tim Bannock

View all of Tim’s I Will Never Be The Same photos here.

To paraphrase a great, sometimes it’s a long, strange trip. You set out prepared for one thing, and you end up on a wildly different journey. Thus began Friday, Nov. 6th, as CWG Metal reviewer Dave Brooks and CWG Hard Rock/Metal reviewer Tim Bannock set out for the Dakota Bar in Santa Monica to watch I Will Never Be The Same tear up the stage in support of their debut album, Standby.

I won’t trouble you long with the torrid details: the rude scarification lady that ran the door of the Dakota Bar (big thanks to Dean for the assist on getting us in!), the featureless walls of El Cholo’s across the street, and the server that really didn’t want to let Dave have more than one watered-down beer. There’s really no reason to get into the details of Dave’s alter ego, and my inability to keep his cover. More importantly, I’d hate to waste your time with just how many things I forgot to bring on this trip, and thus the reasons for my being totally unprepared in the accompanying interview.

What I will tell you is this: despite a ridiculously nonsensical list of support bands, and despite the inexplicable absence of the French guy behind the mixer for most of the evening, I Will Never Be The Same kicked ass.

If you’ve read the review of Standby , you have a vague grasp on what the band sounds like: a versatile admixture of rock and electronica; frustration and sinister brilliance. Seeing them live is a whole other show, quite literally. Following hot on the heels of a ho-hum Linkin Park rip-off, I Will Never Be The Same took the stage with confidence and played with deft precision. A stunning feat, given some of the factors facing the band that night: the aforementioned lack of a French sound guy (meaning no sound-check at all for the band), a drummer wandering around afflicted with what seemed like a massive head cold, and an audience that had just sat through the weirdest line-up ever (the Linkin Park rip-off, an acoustic singer-songwriter, and later a band whose music was as forgettable as their singer was unapologetically annoying).

More importantly, the band pulled off the entire set — the lion’s share of the songs on Standby — without a single slip-up. For a disc that thrives on its ability to flow between live instrumentation and electronic ambience (or swap out the same for melodic chords and raging open-chord fests), you’d think it would be a hard sell to get its essence up on the stage, but Josh Atchley and crew pulled it off. Josh and fellow guitarist Taylor Haycraft had their guitars roaring, and then Josh switched to keyboards along Brittany Bao for some melodic dueling. Francis Ten (also of West Indian Girl) crushed it on the bass, and…well, for all the head-cold drama, the drumming was dead on target.

If you like great sound at an easy-going venue (as long as you’re willing to pay the scarification lady), the Dakota Bar’s definitely a choice establishment to ride into. If you like great rock and roll with touches of industrial, ambience, and a vaguely Nine Inch Nails or Orgy vibe (with some moments of Pink Floyd and Chevelle), then you absolutely cannot go wrong with I Will Never Be The Same.

They’re playing with Dramarama on Dec. 3 at Pershing Square, so get in on that show! And for the folks who are affected by our lovely economic climate, the show’s free, so you really have no excuse to miss it. Great band, great venue, and shoulder-checking little kids on ice skates: all in a day’s work!

View all of Tim’s photos here.

View the video Interview Here.

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