Concert Review: St. Patrick’s Day at the Key Club with Phathom, Culprit, thatwasthen, and Bethpage Black

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day.  When the beer is green, the tattoo parlors are filled, and the spirit is rowdy.  This St. Patty’s Day, I headed down to the Key Club on the Sunset Strip to check out a showcase of some LA bands: Phathom, Culprit, thatwasthen, and Bethpage Black.  The crowd was surprisingly small, given the festive feeling of the night, and the atmosphere was quieter than I would’ve guessed; but, the bands played on and my face was sufficiently rocked off.



Phathom kicked off the show with their well-crafted full-bodied rock.  While the bassist, Yannick d’Assignies, jumped around hilariously, lead singer Matthew Sikora impressed the crowd with his powerful vocals. Their songs were dynamic, and calculated tempo changes kept things interesting.   It was cool to see the band up there full of energy and really enjoying themselves, despite an unresponsive crowd.  They mentioned their upcoming record, out in May, and wished the guitarist, Jason Stone, a happy 21st birthday by inviting the crowd to join Sikora in singing to Stone. Phathom then launched into a cover of “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies, which, according to my notes, was “legit”—and indeed it was. Their heavy and energetic sound had me wowed and made me want to go out and buy some combat boots.



Culprit was next to take the stage, and they kicked off their set with a small but refreshing tribute to Hans Zimmer. However, their overall performance paled in comparison to Phathom, who set the bar pretty high.  Culprit, though spirited, was relatively boring, and their sound was indistinguishable.  They did, however, pull off a pretty awesome rock-injected cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”—lead singer Travis Powell busted out some striking vocals to make this happen. In totality, Culprit lacked energy (though I can’t really blame them given the reciprocation from the crowd) and faded into the background for me.



Thatwasthen played their set, and brought the usual high-energy, feel-good rock I know and love them for.  Again, the crowd, though more responsive to thatwasthen then the other bands, was relatively lackluster, and in the back of your mind you knew everyone was out getting their St. Patty’s day party on.  However, thatwasthen rocked their thirty or so minutes, with Brent Sinay, the lead singer, hilariously interrupting to host a beer drinking competition scored by the band’s rendition of “Eye of the Tiger.” Thanks to their undeniable love of performing and their dynamic, energetic collection of songs, I remembered what a talented group of guys this band is…as if I had ever forgotten—ha! (Read about other thatwasthen stuff, yeah!)


Bethpage Black

Bethpage Black came out to finish up the show, and the desire to take off and hit up the nearest house party hung heavy over the Key Club.  BpB also brought their up-front and exciting rock to the stage, and played an overall great set (it’s always fun watching drummer Steve Coy annihilate his drumset).  Listening to them, I got hints of Taking Back Sunday (I might be wrong here…), and had a little trip down memory lane to my high-school-freshman-angsty-suburban-white-girl days. (Read more Bethpage Black stuff, too!)

In all, the show was brimming with talent and good music, but lacking in excitement.  St. Patrick’s day was being fervently celebrated somewhere, but not at the Key Club.