Material: Ronny North is an all-instrumental outfit akin to Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and others, although not as melodic or pop sounding. North is a darker, heavier metal instrumentalist driven by evil sounding rhythm and drum patterns guaranteed to make you head bang with raised horns and clenched fists. Rhythm wise, Ronny North songs like “Terror Kitty” and “Chasing the Flag” remind of Rage Against the Machine in their prime, with loads of crunching, wah-infused melodies cutting through the bass and drums like a hot knife through butter.
Musicianship: The band is extremely tight, particularly the rhythm section. It sounds like they have been playing together for a while. Every thump, every bang of the drums is matched with a deep, sensual pluck of the bass in perfect time. Talbot and Goode have it down to a tee. Ronny North himself labored at the beginning of the set, but settled down to contribute melodies mostly with his wah and distortion effects while barking out orders during and in-between songs. His voice is high pitched and girlish at times, but he is confident in his instrument and plays like no one is watching, bouncing around the stage and playing to the crowd.
Performance: The performance was really entertaining and fun to watch. North demonstrated good rapport with the crowd as he told jokes in between songs and even had the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to his girlfriend, who was in attendance. Talbot and Goode are fun to watch as well as listen to, while all three put down eight solid tunes to the crowd’s delight.
Summary: Ronny North delivers an entertaining set. He has great ideas when it comes to writing and there’s loads of room for improvement. For example, his attempts to be an entertaining showman sometimes cause his musicianship to suffer. At the end of the set, North asked Grim Reaper’s southpaw extraordinaire, Nick Bowcott, to sit in on “Race with Me,” and they knocked the song out of the park with the crowd going wild. The new Ronny North album, entitled Substantially Less Fun, is due soon.
The Players: Tyler Benko, lead vocals, guitar; Channing Peake, bass, vocals; Grant Whitson, drums.
City: Los Angeles, CA