Live review: Shiny Toy Guns, The Fillmore (2/17/2013)

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As L.A. electronic rock band Shiny Toy Guns emerged from a smokescreen amid an array of neon lights, the restless Fillmore crowd was jarred into action, offering some headbanging and weak attempts at crowd surfing. But, hey, it was a Sunday night...


Not many bands could bring out a smattering of hardcore fans on a "school night," but two major players together? Turns out not even the off day could keep the kids away on Feb. 17 - maybe the President's Day holiday helped. The Dirty Heads and Shiny Toy Guns cruised into The Fillmore as part of their co-headlining Tour Odyssey. The two bands rocked the Music Factory venue, but ended the party far too early for a crowd which could have raged all night.

By the time Shiny Toy Guns went on stage, after brief sets by Oh No Fiasco and Midi Matilda, the crowd was already raring to go. STG has been bopping around the music scene since 2002, taking an occasional hiatus to put the band, often on the verge of breakdown, back together. Their current tour is in support of their fourth album, III, which was released in October.

As smoke overtook the stage and bounced the lights into the crowd, you had to wonder if the theatrics foretold of a band which had lost its musical chops. After all, this is STG's first official tour in four years. However, while some bands rely on such theatrics, Shiny Toy Guns isn't one of them.


As Jeremy Dawson slid behind the keyboard, amping up the electro-rock sounds, the rest of the band slowly joined in. Singer and front woman Carah Faye Charnow, who left the band in 2008 and returned in 2011, stepped out into the spotlight last and stole it. Her stage presence is so powerful she could have growled out a Justin Bieber song and the crowd would have eaten up every note.

As STG ripped through their set, the band's changes in musical style from one album to the next were clear. The band's performance was held together by Charnow's high-energy performance as the quartet worked its way between Metric-esque synthpop and rock 'n' roll - a newer sound for the band, but one which they actually manage to pull off. This is in large part due as much to Mikey Martin's crashing on the drums. Thanks to his beats (and guitarist Chad Petree's ability to wail and take on some of the vocal burden), the transition was pretty much flawless.

The group kept it high-energy and made sure to play to the crowd, ending its set with the promise to return soon. Yes, STG are veteran performers, but they managed to make a comeback of sorts by melding their old sound with a new rock edge and attitude. Shiny Toy Guns definitely made their mark with the crowd.


STG setlist
Carrie
Ghost Town
Somewhere to Hide
Ricochet
Le Disko
Don't Cry Out
Rocketship
Major Tom (cover)
Speaking Japanese
Fading Listening
Rainy Monday
You Are the One


Dirty Heads setlist
Dance All Night
Neighborhood
Taint
Disguise
Stand Tall
Your Love
Cabin
Mongo
Hip Hop
Hipster
We Will Rise
Believe
Spread
Analpole
Lay
Check the Level

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