by Alison Angel
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...
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 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.