Malcolm X Abram: RCN Cave will showcase Brother JT

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Musician Brother JT, Union Pool Williamsburg Brooklyn NY, for Thrill Jockey label. Brother JT will perform at the RCN Cave on Saturday, July 13. (Photo by Stefano Giovannini)

On Saturday, the DIY concert/art/music space known as the Rubber City Noise Center for Audio/Visual Experimentation, or simply the RCN Cave, will play host to singer/songwriter/author Brother JT, aka John Terlesky.

JT is founder of the late-’80s/’90s garage punk band the Original Sins, which had a good decade-long, dozen records-or-so run before disbanding in 1999.

Since then, he’s been a solo artist making eclectic and odd records, many of which have been self-released. JT is currently touring behind his new album, The Svelteness of Boogietude, at his new label home on Thrill Jockey Records and it’s an eclectic and odd baker’s dozen collection of tunes.

The single and video Sweatpants is a goofy slice of faux raptronica about the ease of use and attractiveness of sweatpants. Elsewhere he offers an ode to late singer/guitarist Mark Bolan’s way with a riff in T. Rex Blues.

He goes psychedelic on Many Man Smoke and pines for a pre-digital era on I Still Like Cassettes, which contains lines such as “All my favorite songs have dropouts in them, from where the tape got eaten. And I enjoy the way they go in and out of phase, Oh those analog days.”

(Rock) factory of gladness

Get ready live music lovers. There’s a new live music club in downtown Akron.

Actually it’s an old club that has gone through many iterations in the past decade or so, the most recent being Primo’s Deli Downtown. For some reason that specific address has been a bit of a dead spot on the Main Street strip, though Primo’s was hopping for several months with the help of the 18-and-up crowd looking for some place to dance, hook-up and take selfies.

Primo’s Deli Downtown is no more, but let’s be honest, that was an odd marketing concept with which to begin. No matter, because now we have the Rock Factory, easily the largest live music club in the downtown area.

It’s a two-story venue. Downstairs will be a restaurant that will serve rock-themed food, a small stage and a dance floor.

Upstairs there is a huge main stage in a large concert room that can hold a few hundred rock lovers. It features two full bars and some impressive pro-level lighting.

The Rock Factory has been doing a soft-opening for the past month or so while its owners finish the extensive transformation from a lunch-time restaurant/disc jockey DJ-driven, teen hip-hop club into, well, a factory of rock.

Among the notable bands that have already graced the stage are Jack Russell’s Great White (as opposed to the also touring Great White, which obviously doesn’t feature original lead singer Russell) and post-grunge/active-rockers Saliva.

I missed both of those shows, but last week I visited the Rock Factory and was shown around the place by Jozey Zeitler, who is handling the transition for the venue. He said the Rock Factory is striving for a House of Blues-level experience of quality food and music.

While there, I caught a couple of bands, Blameshift and Screaming for Silence, which were performing as part of the “Underground Rising Showcase” (presented by Budweiser and Jagermeister) series of concerts designed to get up-and-coming touring bands some shine.

The bands were fine. Blameshift, a Long Island, N.Y., quartet fronted by pint-sized vocal dynamo Jenny Mann, rocked the small crowd with its brand of melodic alt-rock from its four releases while Omaha, Neb.’s own Screaming for Silence did its emo-spiced, nu-metal thing.

I was really more interested in the quality of the mix in the Rock Factory’s main room with its very high ceilings, mirrored walls and concrete floor.

It’s all still a work-in-progress but they’ve got a good clear drum sound (SFS’s drummer is fierce), but the definition of the other instruments still needs work, particularly the guitar sound where many times the guitarist’s riffs were reduced to a metallic whir.

Now, the upstairs only had about 100 people in it and a floor full of sweaty rock fans would suck up a lot more of the sound bouncing off the walls and floors. But we all know you can’t be a proper Rock Factory, if folks can’t hear the raging riffage being unleashed by the guitarists. It’s one of the reasons rock ’n’ roll exists.

Zeitler, himself a musician in the area band L.A. Knights (that’s Los Akron Knights, by the way) admitted there is still work to do in regards to tightening up the overall sound mix and he noted the concrete floor is a problem spot.

Nevertheless, Akron, particularly downtown, could use another place for bands to play and for folks to come hear and see them and over the next several weeks as they finish up the transformation, the Rock Factory has plenty of opportunities for you to get a feel for what they are trying to do.

Tonight, there will be another round of the Underground Rising Showcase (presented by Budweiser and Jagermeister, natch) featuring Miami nu-metalheads Endo along with socially conscious, melodic metal band Losing September and Alabama-bred melodic hard rockers Shallow Side.

On Saturday night, you can check out Akron’s post-grunge/active rock cover band Motherload with Threshold and on Wednesday, Knoxville, Tenn., nu-metal band Straight Line Stitch will perform.

As you can surmise from the upcoming concert bills, they are serious about the “rock” part of Rock Factory and Zeitler hopes he can turn the venue into a place that catches rising bands just before they graduate to the next level.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmxabram.


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