Material: Afraid Of My Neighbor, self-described as being comparable to Paramore and Flyleaf, is a female-fronted group falling somewhere between the rock and punk genre. Gaetani definitely does seem to emulate Hayley Williams on some of the band’s original songs, but it is when she deviates from this homage that her own talent begins to shine through.
Musicianship: Drummer Dewbray works up a serious sweat. He really knows how to drill it and Gurung is locked in tight right beside him. The breaks, finales and tempo changes are all strong. On a few of the tracks, like “Building Bloxx,” the group incorporates electronic elements, and in response to this new ballad several phones and cigarette lighters begin waving in the darkness
While “Hate You” is at points atmospheric, it leaves you wanting more solo time and less time-signature deviations on ballads. Given that the music is something of a vehicle for Gaetani’s vocal skills, the formula of shifting between rock and punk works well, but the band stands to grow by developing the songs a little further. Specifically on “Give It A Try” and “Now Or Never” Hsu’s instrumentals could be extended to showcase him more.
Performance: The group began their set with “In My Way.” Unfortunately Gaetani’s vocals were low in the mix, but she more than made up for this with her high-energy performance, which earned her an encore. Gaetani can easily shift between a fully committed scream to a sustained melodic note. She has a good command of the microphone; feedback is never an issue here. After the song resolved, Gaetani worked up the crowd by asking “What the f**k is up?! We’re f**king stoked to be here!” Unfortunately, at points during the performance this candor didn’t always seem to get a positive response as it elicited some inappropriate heckling. Despite this, Gaetani was all business and plugged the group’s next show and promoted their merchandise.
Summary: Already a tight band, Afraid Of My Neighbor still have some refining to do to reach their potential as a live act. Gaetani is very comfortable working the stage, and drummer Dewbray is a powerhouse. Hsu and Gurung, however, could be more forceful. Song arrangements could be tweaked to allow more breathing room for solos from Hsu. Above all, Gaetani’s vocals need to come through more consistently, and the band could alleviate this by refining their overall dynamics.
The Players: Violetta Gaetani, vocals; Matt Hsu, lead guitar; Jeff Dewbray, drums; Vivek Gurung, bass.
Photo by Jack Lue
Venue: The Viper Room
City: Los Angeles, CA
Afraid Of My Neighbor - "Give It A Try"
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