by John Tarpley
Stick it in the history books, y'all!
After 100 entries, 20 semi-finalists, a month and a half of Thursdays at Stickyz, five weeks of nail-biting tallying and, well, probably hundreds of hangovers, the 2011 ATMS Semi-Finals are finito!
But llast night, This Holy House, the very last band to play the five rounds, took the coveted final spot for tonight's finals at Revolution.
Over the last few months, the newly-streamlined trio has shed a few members and, along the way, gained a reputation as an especially promising act, thanks to their energetic, sometimes borderline hysterical, take on moody rock atmospherics. Unrestrained lyrics, textured guitar effects, splashing drums: it's all there.
Keeping up with this year's streak of sibling acts (Catskill Kids, Thunder Thieves), brothers James and David Velek, on drums and bass, respectively, provided a tremendously technical, intense rhythm section for frontman Joseph Elliott, who shook, thrashed and punished his guitar when not wailing into the mic with echo-heavy vocals a la Muse.
While the noise—in both dynamic and volume—is monolithic, there's a certain Robert Smith-shaped desperation embedded in the songs that works at an advantage. And with lyrics like "this valley was purchased by the father/Father" in "Scarlett River Valley," there's a certain Rob Bell streak of provocation in the band's leitmotif.
Also: one quick, simple note—these guys practice and it shows.
Expect to see their hard-earned A-game on display tonight at Revolution.