Saturday night I was digging through Facebook, looking for a way to get my live-music fix for the week, and I came across an event called WhiskeyBoy Radio's Broadcasting for Boobies, taking place at Tomcats West. Then I saw that Night Gallery was headlining, so how could I resist?
The event was a fundraiser for breast cancer research, and was sponsored by WhiskeyBoy Radio, a local music/comedy webcast. Money collected at the door benefited the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and as a bonus, there was a long lineup of bands. I made it there right at the end, however, just as Night Gallery was taking the stage.
Night Gallery is one of the few bands I would drive to Dallas to see. It's a face-melting hard-rock band consisting of Patrick "Otter" Gonzales (vocals), R. Taylor "Duckie" Etherton (drums), Mikey Auringer (bass), Nathan T. Hanlon (guitar), Jeremy Root (guitar) and a bound-and-gagged Cookie Monster stuffed toy attached to the mike stand.
"I went on a tirade one day," said Etherton, "about Cookie Monster metal vocals. I really want to see the decline of that style of singing. And I'm not trying to be a d--- about anybody's style of music. If that turns you on, that's great. I just bound and gagged this Cookie Monster my girlfriend had in the closet, took a picture of it and sent it to Otter and said, 'This is our new mascot,' and it stuck."
Otter agreed: "I miss old-school metal, where people used to actually sing. Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy [Osbourne] -- I miss those type of vocals. I'd rather understand what people are trying to tell me in their message. The guy could be telling me to go screw a goat and I'd never know the difference."
The band brands its style as "melodic hard rock," and Night Gallery performs as if it were playing to a stadium. Though short in stature, Gonzales has a huge stage presence. The band is as much fun to watch as it is to listen to.
Lyrically, Gonzales writes about things most people can relate to, and while Night Gallery touches on social topics (like bullying), it avoids politics and other divisive issues. It avoids vulgarity as well, viewing it as a crutch and a weakness in songwriting.
Tomcats has one of the best sound systems in Funkytown, and when it can keep its hands off the controls, it has a really good lighting rig as well. I do wish the place put on a more normal lineup most nights. The Henry Ford assembly-line model of booking a dozen bands in a night is a turnoff, especially when you want to hear a band play for any length of time, and that seems to be the norm here.
The fundraiser, however, seemed to be a success, raising almost $1,000 for breast cancer research, and great music was plentiful. Props to WhiskeyBoy Radio, Tomcats and all the bands that participated.