MUSIC BLOG: Ryleigh, The John Payton Project, The Grinders, Pink Elephant

John Payton Project played the Dinosaur Thursday, May 31. PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE

BY FRANK DE BLASE

For all its allure and promise, the music business tells a lot of lies through sharp teeth. It is duplicitous, fickle, and cruel. It’s worse than cheerleader tryouts. So any young artist that truly takes a stab at it has my support, and my sympathy. Rochester-by-way-of Ft. Myers, Florida, tween-pop newbie Ryleigh made her debut in a showcase at Hochstein School of Music and Dance on Wednesday, May 30. It was also the debut of her video for the song “Txt Me” — a high-end production with choreography, lighting, the works. But what I find particularly interesting is who is behind this new act: Zazu Pitts. Pitts is the charismatic front man and the brains behind Bitter Flesh Thing, a rather heavy and dark zombie-cyborg industrial metal outfit a la Nine Inch Nails. Makes for an interesting dichotomy, to say the least.

Ryleigh sang “Txt Me,” along with a couple of other covers I could have done without, showcasing her strong voice and a charming presence. Tween pop is a narrow market and I wish her luck. She’s got a catchy tune and the goods (and a producer) to give it a solid go.

Thursday night The John Payton Project got down and extra funky at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The band transcends its jam roots by, well, jamming. I guess it’s the saxophone’s jazzy honk or the guitar’s dogfight-over-Britain attack. And man, you should have heard Payton’s drum solo that night; it was pure harnessed thunder pounded out with mucho gusto by arms the size of legs.

Headed out Saturday night for more tween pop at The Firehouse, a relatively new live music joint. I stuck around for a couple of the bands on this multi-billed affair. I hadn’t seen The Grinders in forever and wallowed in the comfort of each song’s familiarity and precarious stance. It was reckless and fun and extremely loud. At his point The Grinders — a band that still puts out 45s — are an institution. Or maybe they should just be institutionalized. This was barroom rock ’n’ roll at its primal best.

Pink Elephant followed with its tight, seething indie-rock. The band’s twin-guitar attack created a jagged sonic wall within the accelerated and sometimes syncopated time signatures. Nobody in Rochester is doing this right now. Not this well, anyway.

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3 comments

  1. Great review very insightful Ryleigh being new on th scene is fabulous and a brillant original sound her look and energy is contagious. Check out youtube: TXT Ryleigh

  2. Anonymous · · Reply

    Go Johnny go Johnny go! Wish I could have been there – xojoy

  3. flabber · · Reply

    …..E Grinder looks different…. I think he dyed his hair

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