The Echo, August 27
By Nazanin Arandi
They are armed with black, gray and white ensembles, bringing endless energy to the stage and into the audience. un:armed creates a dark moody sound with catchy hooks through songs of love, lust, heartbreak and our political misfortunes. They play their hearts out and make you move to the march of an army of melodies and beats.
(All photos by O'Ryan McKinney)
Bands that follow the principle of equilateral triangles are rare commodities in the music scene these days, but un:armed is an exception. Each one of these three shades of black, or if you are an optimist you might say shades of white, play an equal weight in the performance. You'd expect nothing less than a balanced and energetic show from them.
Doug's vulnerable yet expressive vocals remind me of Muse's Matthew Bellamy's eerie and thrashing voice and stage presence, and he experiments with pitch shifting in an unorthodox fashion. He leads the dark and multi-layered song structures with his full-Brit overdriven guitar tone and occasional but dramatic feedbacks.
Some drum sets are just lucky to be alive, Derek's is one of them. His beats are powerful, and he is in complete control – fully aware of what each song needs and able to fulfill them. He's a chameleon on the drums, ranging from the heaviest of heavy to the softest of the soft. He is the backbone of un:armed, and the seemingly choreographed swirl that his arms whip up is almost trance-inducing.
Four strings, but with more force than eight, Stage takes swinging leaps into the ubiqiitous chord voicings, treating the room to a boom that is less follow and more lead. He is one of L.A.'s musical treasures and we love watching and hearing him. His vocals add to the dimensionality of the songs and this Stage's stage demeanor is nothing to be missed, he stands confident and in-charge.
un:armed was formed in early 2006 from a collective vision of brothers vocalist and guitarist, Douglas and drummer Derek Gledhill with a later addition of bassist Bryan Stage. The band blends alternative rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal to rock your pants off. I prescribe a doze of un:armed at Safari Sam’s in Hollywood on Aug 30 2007, also you can pay a virtual visit to them on myspace.com/weareunarmed (Warning: Extreme rockin’ has been under investigation in this space)
By Nazanin Arandi