After five years of combining extreme winter sports (and their related sponsors) with heavy rock music, the multiartist Sno-Core tour, sponsored by marketing and management company Artistdirect, has become something of a hot ticket.
This year’s edition assembled four bands just under the commercial radar who together made for an impressive evening of guitar-based noise. But where’s the sports connection?
At the sold-out Palladium, the enthusiastic crowd, which represented a broad cross-section of young listeners, heard four distinct variations on the state of cutting-edge alternative music. All clients of Artistdirect, the only other thing tying these bands together was their musical risk-taking.
Headliners System of a Down, the kings of the local Armenian-American rock scene, have been touring relentlessly since before their 2-year-old album was released, and all that time on the road has whipped this bunch into a stage-savvy unit.
The band’s metallic and dynamic hourlong assault, comparable to the style of Deftones or Tool, was punctuated by elements of traditional Armenian music and highlighted by a smart cover of Black Sabbath’s “Snow Blind” and at set’s end by the band’s provocative current Columbia/
American single, “Sugar.” The guitar and bass players wore spooky face paint suited to the song’s nightmarish themes.
Five-piece funk-metal mashers Incubus, hailing from Calabasas, made impressive progress on their recently released second album, “Make Yourself” (Epic), and their second Palladium appearance in as many months revealed a confident band whose onstage prowess suggests increased visibility in the near future.
Singer Brandon Boyd, who recently traded his dreadlocks for a short haircut, played a large drum between his legs during two songs, accentuating the group’s hyperactive rhythms.
Opening acts for the evening were Zappa-esque Bay Area pranksters Mr. Bungle and Puerto Rican hard-rockers Puya.
Concert ultimately felt like just another show at the Palladium (long lines, bad sound, poor air circulation), as organizers didn’t bother to spruce up the occasion with anything relating to winter sports or to the tour itself, other than the $23 event T-shirts.