Choking Susan, Ruin Your Life, & Downspeed
@ Woodchucks Toledo Oh 4/2/11 By: Michael Rys
By: Michael Rys
Another packed house in the shoebox I love to call my second home at Woodchucks.The tight fit of a rather large crowd make for some great shows, and adrenaline for the performers but I gotta tell you, I'm looking forward to spring and summer where they'll be shows outside and this old fukker will feel like he can move around a bit. Toledo's own dirty speed rockers Downspeed took the stage first and the place was packed from the get go. We were treated to the spectacle of new stage props ( new logo banner, and huge matching pentagrams on each side of the stage. I know I compared these guy to early Crue, but the pentagrams is really about where that comparison ends this time after seeing and hearing a much longer set. Yeah they do have that energy of that first record but my comparisons to a Motorhead vibe is much more in line. The band with Jay as the drummer is really solidifying and was even better than the last time I saw them. Downspeed is over the top,357 magnum rock. Just the right mix of macho to keep a stripper dancing and just enough balls to keep the guys headbanging. Someone I know,from another band had commented to me that seeing Downspeed live is like a musical "big time wrestling". Well hell yeah , that's a good way of putting it. Personally I used to jump up and down when Hacksaw Jim Duggin would get out that old 2 x4 and smack someone in the mouth. Heck it was loud and plenty entertaining too! Favorite song of the night was I Fly At Night.
Ruin Your Life out of Adrian Michigan are made up of members of a killer band called Chrome Helmet. When you see or hear an act made of a" formers" you never really know what to expect. But to this bands total credit Ruin Your Life is not a bunch of formers. This band was tight,well rehearsed and way more than I expected.Guitar work that melodic enough to carry the song but a rhythm section that just spot on. The songs themselves bring to mind early early Offspring. Hopefully we'll be seeing these guys get out of the basement more and playing live shows. I can see this band becoming in demand around the area if they are willing and able to do it.
Choking Susan came back after just being in Toledo back in September which in Toledo time is just yesterday, but the demand to have them back made it so. And even though some of the fairtheewell be seen to be scene folks thinned out the crowd just a bit by the time Choking Susan took the stage it was still sizable and the energy was high. The band plowed through song form through out there catalogue and seemed to be having just as much fun as the crowd. Yup I even saw Chuck the bar owners smiling and bopping along with the crowd.The spot on highlight of the show had to be when they performed the Return of Lemon and The Tramps,complete with a real live lemon hitting the stage with Choking Susan.The whole show and especially this part was filmed for a video, as well as earlier spots through out Toledo for a video release of the song. It added to the bands set and was quite funny to boot. I must add this too. Choking Susan has been lucky to have some fine drummers over the years and lately keeping them seems to be an issue.That being said the relatively new drummer Beth seems to be just an absolute awesome fit.I'm not taking anything away form any of the formers either but its like seeing the band previously was always great, now with the new skin beater its different and sounds like a musical long term relationship is definitely in the works. I understand the band is off to Ireland for some shows,and will be performing again this summer at Rebellion Fest...Lets hope we'll see em again in Toledo soon.
Show review ,and pictures by Michael Rys
Choking Susan live video for Nose Hairs By Michael Rys
Choking Susan video for The Return of Lemon & The Tramps by DFA Prodcutions
Downspeed and Ruin Your Life Video's By Michael Rys