69 Shades but Grey ain’t One

Photography by Tyler Snodell, Jessica Clair Photography and Syd Innovaria, Article by Syd Innovaria

The name for the show is funnier than it sounds. One day myself, UaZit and a few others were conversing over what to name the showcase, and collectively came up with the 69 Shades of June Show, a play on the popular book Fifty Shades of Grey (and it was on the 9th of June, which is the 6th month).

The mysterious Dunwel during False Face Society’s set. Photo by Tyler Snodell.
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It was too perfect. The lineup was beautiful. Verbal Sludge, Sheeza, Walk Among Us, UaZit, False Face Society, and Dj Merks headlining. You couldn’t find a more diverse group of artists that still fit well enough together to keep people interested. All with different followings, all with a very unique sound. Verbal Sludge is heavier metal, while Sheeza following is a lighter alternative soulful rock all-female group. Walk Among Us is, as they say, “the only piano tribute to the Misfits.” Total punk rock. UaZit changes things up again with a very progressive higher-pitched rap and beat combo which he created entirely himself. Following was False Face Society, a group the guitarist Ton’Chi likes to describe as “tridbadelic”, or indie progressive rock of some kind. Dj Merks was super original electronic beats that were upbeat and would pull you on the dance floor even if you didn’t know how to move your legs.
The beginning of the evening of June 9th started off to a hilarious beginning, as I arrived about 20 minutes late for the show and missed Verbal Sludge’s set entirely. I heard them wrapping up from outside as I was trying to park and my friend Tyler (who was also the photographer for False Face Society this night) was helping me apply my face getup.
Finally I get in, and greet everyone, and throw myself into photographing as soon as Sheeza takes the stage. The crowd got decent throughout the night. UaZit and his partner WaZeil had a merch table set up with their clothing, cds, buttons, and other items. Verbal Sludge set up their t-shirts and merch in the front entrance.

UaZit, being UaZit.
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The venue was good size, though not nearly as big as others I have been to for group shows. The sound is what got me. The people running sound were great, and the acoustics in the entire place sounded amazing.
Sheeza’s set went really smoothly from an audience point of view. Their look was also pretty fun. The group is Courtney (lead vocals), Claire, Chelsy and Susan. “It is always an experience to play at the Lafayette Theatre. The stage there has been graced by countless national acts and boasts enviable house sound/engineering, stage size, and lighting effects. Sheeza had quite a crowd patiently waiting for our performance even after our delayed start time which was both an honor and a blessing. After our set, we were able to listen to a variety of other styles of music from other artists/bands on the bill, many of which I personally enjoyed. Hopefully, the next showcase will reflect the same talent, passion, and diversity as well as encourage an even larger overall attendance,” reports Claire, who sings, plays guitar and also saxophone in the group.

Claire creating beautiful melodies on her guitar.
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After Sheeza was done, Walk Among Us was up. Their stage presence was great and they definitely commanded their audience. The crowd response was amazing, everyone seemed to have a really fun time during their set. Walk Among Us is Veronica (lead vocals), Rob, Sara and Nate. They’re a very energetic group and Rob has some awesome hair. “We had a blast playing at the Lafayette Theater. The sound was mixed well and the atmosphere was electric. We love sharing the stage with a nice diverse and unique line up and are always honored to be a part of shows like this. Lafayette has kind of become a second home for us and we have some cool things in the works! As far as our performance I felt that maybe I was a little fast throughout our set but that’s punk rock. The chemistry we have as a band keeps us pretty locked in so I didn’t feel like it was a train wreck. All in all it was a solid effort,” says Nate who plays drums.
It was hard not to get distracted from photographing and get lost in the music- I think it happened a few times anyways.

Veronica rocking the punk out.
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UaZit came up next, quietly, alone. Blue light hit the stage, illuminating his bright red (ginger) hair. His laptop set up, microphone in hand, and the beats fell in step. We covered a special on UaZit a few months back, if you are interested in reading more about his roots and how he came to be the kind of musician he is you should look for that article. His sound is so unique, yet captivating. I’ve literally never heard anything quite like it. He mixes rap and beats, which isn’t uncommon in the world- but he does it in a completely unusual way and there is almost nothing to compare it to. His set went fairly well and the sound was great. UaZit shared later: “Besides a couple sound hiccups, my 69 Shades set went quite smoothly in my own opinion. My favorite sets of the 69 show would have to be Verbal Sludge as well as hearing the progression in sound False Face Society had made since their first show I had caught. Looking forward to performing a few brand new publicly unreleased songs at the upcoming Flashpoint Paradox showcase!”

UaZit pauses before launching into the music.
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Next was False Face Society. I happen to play drums in this band, so I had to relinquish my photography to our roadie Tyler whom was mentioned earlier. We were kinda rushed, it felt like- but that was okay. It took no time at all to sound check and get kicked off with our first song, “Open”. False Face Society is Heroine Dunwel (vocals), Ton’Chi and Naked Rameses (myself).
Overall as a band we felt like this was our best gig to date. The lighting was great, the sound was great, but most of all- the crowd was fantastic. One of the most used quotes we got was, “That was .” The crowd was constantly cheering and rather close to the stage, which is always wonderful. I also don’t believe we got a chance to rehearse between our previous gig which was about a week and a half before and the June 9th gig, and it still sounded absolutely perfect. We are also gearing up some new unreleased songs for the upcoming Flashpoint Paradox showcase on September 1st, so keep your eyes peeled for that. There are various other artists lined up besides us and UaZit– so go to the page and check it out!

Ton’Chi during the last song of their set, “Inni”. Photo by Tyler Snodell.
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After we were done, Dj Merks came on and ended the night with a beautiful trance of excited dancing. Her beats were so smooth and yet had intense moments, calm moments and moments that made you feel stuff you hadn’t felt before. If you ever wanted a DJ that doesn’t just play the same crap on repeat, this is the one. She’s fun, energetic, and savvy with her music. “I enjoy feeling the energy from the audience and promoting positivity,” says Merks. “There’s never a dull moment djing.”

Dj Merks tweaking the beats.
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Check out our YouTube channel Drunk Octopus TV for the video clip of the showcase previewing the bands!

During the Walk Among Us set, featuring Jessica Bishop and Tyler Snodell. 
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