Live Review: Chase the Comet at The Pike in Long Beach, CA

Material: The story of Chase the Comet is an interesting one. According to legend (or, in fact, their own online bio), Nika Comet and Alex Mishustov had a band in Moscow called MyRockBand, but they decided to relocate to Los Angeles in search of glitz and glamor, fame and fortune. For now, they’re having to settle with regular gigs at The Pike, the Long Beach bar and restaurant owned by Social Distortion’s Chris Reece, but it’s as good a place to learn your chops and earn your stripes as anywhere. Chase the Comet has a sound that sits somewhere between radio-friendly hard rock and contemporary pop-punk, so on the surface it’s certainly marketable. The big issue is that there are few tunes here that are easy to remember after the set.

Musicianship: Mishustov is a skilled guitarist, able to do the simple things very well when the punkier songs require, but he’s also well capable of a bit of intricate riff-work, or some metal power chords. He also seems to be the guy responsible for the not inconsiderable programming, constantly fiddling with the laptop that sits on stage beside him. Meanwhile, Samson is an impressive powerhouse drummer, generally keeping time (there’s no bass player to complete the rhythm section with him), but allowed a few elaborate flourishes from time to time.

Performance: It’s a strange thing to judge. On one hand, frontwoman Nika Comet (obviously intended to be the center of attention) appears confident and ready to be the rock star that she so clearly wants to be. She’ll writhe and gyrate between lines of lyrics, she’ll engage members of the audience directly, and she’ll move all over the room to distract the attendees who are in fact just there for a beer and some food. On the other, there’s something a little awkward about it all. It’s as if she’s already decided how this whole evening is going to go, and if anything veers off of that path, she’s not sure how to respond. When the sound goes a little wonky (a common occurrence at bar shows), she has a very visible and public fit at Mishustov. Little lesson: nobody needs or wants to see that.

Summary: Chase the Comet is a talented trio and there’s a lot to work with. New single “Hollywood” is probably their best song, and they need a few more that are equally as good. They also need to work on the live show, and bars like The Pike are probably the perfect places to keep learning.

The Players: Nika Comet, vocals; Alex Mishustov, guitar; Elliott Samson, drums.

Photo by Brett Callwood

Venue: The Pike
City: Long Beach, CA
Contact: [email protected]
Web: chasethecomet.com