Har Mar Superstar/VHS or Beta/The Fever
October 28, 2004 - Chop Suey - Seattle, WA
review by Melissa Mueller
Chop Suey was the place to be last Thursday as The Fever, VHS or Beta, and Har Mar Superstar rocked the venue with good music, politics, and just the right amount of Jack Daniels and Coke.

The Fever kicked off the show, wasting no time with introductions.  After a brief bass and drum build up the band jammed into their set.  While frontman Geremy Jasper seemed hesitant to really move around on stage and get into the music, his vocals all but made up for it. His screaming and upbeat vocals, mixed with the relentless pedals of the drums, provided ample energy, but at times the band seemed more to study intently as they played rather than establish a connection with the audience.  By the third song, Jasper seemed to be channeling David Bowie's jagged, glam rock persona as his voice seemed more steady and poppy. What was most notable about The Fever's set was how drummer Achilles set up every single song.  He seemed to build up the momentum, as the beats were catchy and consistent, creating toe-tapping rhythms.  Jasper seemed to come out of his shell towards the end of the set, letting the crowd know that "Seattle knows how to get down!"  His voice reached higher peaks when the band played a mellow number, showcasing more of his vocal ability.  Overall, The Fever played a great show and the funky and persistent drums were the highlight of the set.  Once Jasper eased out of his shyness, his stage presence gave the band a much needed boost.

The crowd grew larger as VHS or Beta took the stage and within moments stole the show.  The group's funky ode to disco had everyone dancing.  Though lead singer Craig Pfunder has a slight resemblance to ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, his voice sounds reminiscent of Robert Smith of The Cure.  His soothing, but energetic and melodic vocals blended perfectly with the drum machine and groovy basslines.  By the second song, everyone in the place was clapping their hands to the progressive beats.  VHS or Beta has been compared to The Faint, and while the band indeed has that electronic/rock sound, they take it one step further by adding in funk, disco, and even instrumental dance music.  You'd think you were at a dance club by the time the band plunged into their kickass, Chemical Brothers-like instrumental, adding a clap machine for a rave-like effect.  They even paused for a moment to assure the crowd that they were not George Bush supporters.  "No George Bush!" Pfunder yelled to the cheering crowd.  Next time VHS or Beta plays near you, catch their show and let them take you to funkytown.

Har Mar Superstar was undoubtedly the star of the night, as he received much love from the crowd and the deep bass lines surged through the speakers.  Har Mar's funky and fun raps made for an excellent show, and his ability to create a party wherever he goes had the crowd going crazy.  At one point, he walked off stage and continued to rap as he made his way towards the bar.  He then stood up and ordered a "Jack and a Coke" from the bartender and proceeded back to the stage, but not before making out with two girls in the audience.  Although Har Mar's ego is evident ("who wouldn't want to make out with this baby?") his high falsetto range gave the audience more than one reason to dance, and his constant showing off of his body had the girls laughing and screaming for more.  He also turned to politics momentarily as he assured the crowd that they were smart enough not "to vote that idiot back into office." He also provided an ample solution should Bush be re-elected: "Let's move to Canada and get fucking wasted!"  During the rest of the set he kissed more girls, including his bassist, shook his ass at the audience numerous times, and funk-rapped his way off the stage yet again.  "I know I sound different from the last time I was here," he said between songs. "It's because I got better; my music got better, and I got even fucking hotter." Exactly.
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