Saturday, December 1, 2007

buzz bake sale

common criticism of modern rock is that it recycles tired themes of displaced anger, isolation and self-destruction.

At the Buzz Bake Sale, Saturday at West Palm Beach's Sound Advice Amphitheatre, you'll hear plenty of raging against the machine from aggressive young rockers, to be sure. But look beyond the obvious and you can find lyrical complexity that taps into the universal feelings of today's youth. Many lines even border on uplifting, offering hope for anguished teenagers who feel dysfunctional and alone. For example, One X, the title track from the latest album by Three Days Grace, one of the show's headliners, offers somewhat paradoxical comfort: ``Do you think there's no one like you?/We are.''

Hannah Montana it's not.

''I can only speak for our band,'' says Three Days Grace drummer Neil Sanderson, ``but we continue to treat music as a form of release and venting and as an emotional outlet -- and people generally feel a need to vent the negative. People assume our music is coming from a dark place, but you kind of work through that to find hope.''

One of those dark places was lead singer Adam Gontier's addiction to OxyContin.

''That was reflected heavily on this record,'' says Sanderson. One obvious example is a line from the hit Pain: ``I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all.''

''But on a bigger picture, we've always stayed true to ourselves lyrically, writing about our lives and people around us,'' he continues. ``That's part of the important relationship we have with our fans. A lot of people feel the same type of emotions, and if we can put into words what other people are thinking, that's really cool.''

Papa Roach, another headlining band, was inspired by a different sort of dark place when recording its latest album, The Paramour Sessions, in the Hollywood Hills mansion that recently hosted the Rock Star reality series.

''We heard the house was haunted and we moved in and I was like, ahhh, whatever,'' says lead singer Jacoby Shaddix. ``But for the three months we lived there I became convinced it had a spirit of its own. When writing the song Forever, I went down to the grave site of the lady of the house -- she haunts it -- and meditated on her grave and ended up writing like five pages. And I went back to the house and the guys were working on the track for Forever and what I wrote fit perfectly. It sounds almost cliché and cheesy but just the magic of making music really inspired me.

''I definitely saw ghosts,'' he continues. ``There's also a black lady with a huge Afro that haunts the house. I saw her a few times, always in the same place, and it was spooky as hell, though she was never menacing to me.''

Shaddix says the house changed the band's routine.

''I think if we would have recorded the record anywhere else it would have been completely different,'' he says. ``Just being in that house, there was no break in creativity. If you were possessed in the middle of the night you could go downstairs and lay down a guitar track.''

Shaddix offers an easy explanation for modern rock's mopey reputation.

``I think Nirvana had a huge impact on songwriting and still do. In the '80s, it was the big hair and the arena rock and Nirvana came in and totally flipped the script and it changed how musicians wrote. It's about looking inside yourself and dealing with the issues of yourself. But some of our songs are also about hope and strength -- if everything's about rage, it gets old and clichéd.''

Papa Roach's sound has matured from its nu metal, rap-rock days -- the group has moved toward more conventional alt-rock.

''That's been an ongoing process for me over the past eight years,'' says Shaddix. 'Last Resort [which rocketed the group to fame in 2000] was one of the biggest rap-rock hits ever, and it was like, how do you top a classic -- where do you go from here? Let's try something new. I wanted to prove myself as a valid rock 'n' roll singer. And it's cool because it's opened up so many doors for me -- we didn't want to paint ourselves in a corner as a one-trick pony.

'It's risky to evolve because some people hearing Forever for the first time were like, `Who is that singing?' ''

Sanderson says Three Days Grace has evolved as well -- emotionally.

''The band dynamic has changed for the better -- we've realized how to keep a group of guys together who have different lives,'' he says. ``There has to be a lot of open, continuous communication, like any relationship. We've gone through the whole communication breakdown thing, and the easy thing to do is be reclusive on both sides.''

Despite a recent interview in which the band talked about feeling isolated on the road, Sanderson says Three Days Grace loves touring.

''The isolation thing is because nobody really knows anyone, but everyone pretends to, and it creates this pretentious atmosphere,'' he says. 'But we all get extremely excited because we all have such a passion for playing live. We never take our fans' reaction for granted. We still look around and go 'Wow!' -- we're lucky to be playing to such big audiences.''

Snowball": CityPlace, Okeechobee Boulevard, West Plam Beach. Vanessa Carlton and Ingrid Michaelson 7 p.m. today. Colbie Caillat, Graham Colton and The Last Goodnight 7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 

Nanci Griffith: 8 p.m. Dec. 1, The Theatre, West Palm Beach. $49.50. 

Jernie Talles, Hurricane Hawk and the Invaders: The Outlets at Vero Beach, Route 60 at I-95. Donations of new unwrapped toys or non-perishable food. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. 

Buzz Bake Sale: With Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, The Used, Chevelle and others, 10 a.m. Dec. 1, Sound Advice Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. $40, $20. 

Synergy Brass Quintet:, chamber music. Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2655 S.W. Immanuel Drive, Palm City, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 1. $15-$25. (772) 287-7566. 

Dave Koz Smooth Jazz Christmas: 8 p.m. Dec. 1, King Center, Melbourne. $38-$58. 

RiverWalk Jazz Holiday Festival: Ossie Wright and Groove Division, Robert Navorra, Rowdy Roosters and more noon-8 p.m. Dec. 2, downtown Stuart. Free. 

Holiday Concert: Port St. Lucie Community Concert Band at Treasure Coast High School, Port St. Lucie, 3 p.m. Dec. 2. 

"The Holiday Sounds of Sebastian": Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1301 Sebastian Blvd. 2 p.m., Dec. 2, free. (772) 589-7007. 

Israel Philharmonic: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Maltz Jupiter Theatre. $50. 

Chris Kahl: "Orange Blossom Memories: Songs of Florida," 7 p.m. Dec. 6, Emerson Center, Vero Beach, Free. 

Julie Silver: Chanukah concert at Temple Beth Shalom, 43rd Avenue at Fourth Street, Vero Beach. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Adults $18, children under 12


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