A slight haze of smoke drifted through the air of the tin can called Lizard’s Bar and Grill. In the background, the clicks of cues against balls and the murmurs of conversations are heard. In the foreground the sound system varies between rock and R&B tracks. Sam Houston State University students and non-students alike meandered on the first and second floors numbering at about 65-70 people in attendance. There was an even mix of men and women, averaging around the age of 22, many held bottles and red plastic cups in their hands. The underage portion was busy in conversation and pool. Various members of Last Great Assault scurried across the checkered parent floor getting things ready for the show. They have been promoting the show for a week by passing out flyers and setting up a table in front of the Lowman Student Center. Thanks to the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha they were able to put on this event.
The three boys of The Last Great Assault take the stage. Jake Whitco straps on his black and white four stringed Squire Bass guitar. Jordon Volz and Taylor Volz both have red Epiphone’s- one stained, one sunburst-draped on their shoulders. Weaver sits ready behind his Evans drum kit.
The music begins. Whitco is stiff at first, slowly getting into the music. Volz stares at every chord he plays. There are elements of pre-show jitters, but by the end of the song, they break out of their shells. Weaver kills his drum in the first few minutes, but luckily Glass Intrepid was willing to let him use theirs. Volz gives a shout out to the Zeta’s for sponsoring the table and the show. Half of the crowd raises their hands up high when asked if they received a flyer during the week.
In the second song Weaver did not let up on the borrowed set, but forced out a catchy beat in 4/4 time. Taylor Volz backed his brother Jordon Volz’s vocals with a driving harmony. The third song was a little more melodic as eight notes were graced out of the crash symbols. Jordon Volz closed his eyes and romanced the microphone with his smooth vocals. Flashing lights came from every corner as photographer’s stood/kneeled for the perfect shot. Whitco spent his time in a spread leg stance with his mouth open, bobbing his head to his own beat. Taylor Volz craned back as he played, occasionally hopping over to Weaver’ set. Occasionally, Jordon Volz would break from his mike to pick out a smooth melody on his own guitar. The crowds’ cheered and got into the song when Jordon Volz started to scream, “Take my life away.” The look on their faces seemed to ask the same question-“Is that’s coming out of him?”
Jordon Volz introduced their song “Point of no return,” which they finished writing two days before the show. Still in 4/4 time, both guitars broke into a duet backed by the bass on the same notes. The tambourinest from the pit show last week began to two-step at the side of the stage. When Jordon Volz broke into eight notes on his delay peddle (which to the ears seems like he is playing 32nds), the crowed looked on in awe.
In “Kiss the girls” Jordon Volz ripped off signature delay in the intro. The crowd held their hands up high and began to clap along with the beat of the drums. Whitco, getting into the swing of things, screamed out unamplified lyrics from the edge of the stage. During their mini-breakdown, they all finally let loose and started to jump around and move on the two-foot-tall stage.
“One Last Slow Dance” was the all time favorite. People clapped along with Jordon Volz as he sung about the confusing situation of a former love. Over all the set well was worked musically.
Rotating lights splashed the stage as Undercrowd took their position. The energy in the room rose as Garret Lofgren slapped out a bass line on his five string bass guitar. Brian Burney tapped out a beat on his Zildjian high hat as Joel Hawkins, the singer, sustained his words. Jordon Baird joined in distorted as the Hawkins reached the top of his vocal range.
Hawkins, sporting a green trucker hat that read “Ireland,” moshed danced in place as they played on. The bass tones were rich and inviting pulse that you could just fall into. A trance lay on the crowd as everyone’s attention was directed to the stage.
Cords wrapped around his hand, Hawkins began the second song. His eyes opened and shut repeatedly, as he went on with his unique sound. His face turning bright read, it was evident that Hawkins was giving everything he had. His movements seem like elements of lead vocalist, Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.) and Jonathan Davis (Korn).
In the third piece, they broke down to a more somber feel. Baird ripped into a solo that would stay with you through the evening and be the last notes you hear before you fall to sleep. Everyone was playing their instruments with ease. The stage seemed to be their home.
The fourth song was full of up-beats from the drum and bass while Hawkins delivered measures of chopped vocals. Smooth transitions and intricate bridges makes their way from Baird’s electric. At times Hawkins stepped back and let his band pursue on.
Baird’s guitar almost sung in the song “Closure.” Lofgren and Baird spent most of their time looking at their fret boards and fingers, but if that is what it takes for them to sound that good, so be it.
Through staggered breaths, Hawkins introduced their song Harem. He explained that his song is about being yourself instead of what everyone wants you to be. The lights were dimmed down and the colorful rotating lights were turned off. The strobe light flashing from behind the drummer collaborated with the tone of frustration and anguish in the song. The song journeyed from soft melodies to a tense-filled bridge to finally the brutal climax of the song. Hawkins pushed through with unrelenting words, not letting the energy fall. He switched the sound to from his power balled to a stop start singing backed by the pulsing upbeats of the other musicians.
One could not mistake the crowd’s docile atmosphere for apathy because it was clear that Undercrowd had the crowd under their spell.
The bassist plays pickless, the drummer plays shirtless, the electric had nine effects peddles and the lead singer had sparrows on his shoes. Upon first evaluation of Glass Intrepid, the faade of a rock star is clearly evident.
A group of girls made their way closer to the stage while they pulled out their digital cameras. The men stood back to observe. It was not question to anyone how this band was going to sound. For most of the audience, this was not their first viewing.
These veterans covered nearly all of their songs from their albums “Whatever it Takes” and “The Best is Yet to Come”, which was available at their merchandise table in the back.
From their first song “Broken Hearted” to the last set “Good Enough”, the crowd reaction was pretty much the same. People bobbed their heads, tapped their feet, screamed back the words, or jumped to the beat. Bryan egged everyone on requesting them to help him along with the lyrics. The Last Great Assault pushed their way to the edge of the stage to support their fellow playmates.
When Bryan dedicated the song “Only One” to the females in room, the crowed cheered in anticipation. People swayed as the melody began. “You fly away fly away to a better place/ You run away run away to a familiar face/Letting go letting go is the hardest thing to do/ When I’m still in love with you!” was the sound rising for nearly every fan’s lips.
The mood elevated with energy when the band switched into their last song “Good Enough.” Bryan invited anyone who knew the lyrics to come sing along on stage. Travis Weaver and Mike Rolft (the new guitarist for The Last Great Assault) were some of the first to jump to the stage. People jumped high in the air, clapped their hands and sung along as Glass Intrepid sent everyone out with gratitude.