20/20 Blind Austin Concert Review

23 May, 1994

When I saw their name on the poster, I knew I had heard of them, and wanted to see them, but couldn't recall where/why/etc. At the concert, the announcer mentioned they had recently been on the cover of Heaven's Metal.


Of course. The band with the promising sound. The interesting stories to tell. The sorta cliche photos...

ICU had been onstage first, but I was running late. I heard them on the radio, but that was over a phone line, which essentially is configured to yield the minimum bandwidth information necessary for clear speech. So I have no idea if ICU was totally hot, or totally bogus.

20/20 Blind, for all their hair (Michael had his hair pulled back and hat turned around for that cool & unperturbed Matt Slocum image), looks like a very young band. And their first couple of songs showed potential, lots of enthusiasm and energy, but just weren't quite there. I quickly decided this first impression was probably just the lack of warm-up, because the band kicks!

When I realized that this was the band in the humongous car wreck, whose bass player should probably be bolted to an easy chair, and whose lead singer & drummer still have back, neck & shoulder problems, my clavicle screamed in sympathy (not for the devil), and I wondered how these guys could be so energetic onstage.

This was an outdoor concert, behind Theophilus bookstore, and the sound was good. The stage was decent sized, and the guys were definitely having fun. The sound is a kind of mix of Seattle grunge, Kings X, and layered vocal harmonies. A couple of songs featured medium-length jams, all of which were a blast. The 2nd jam on the last song had a distinctive GnR feel - what a blast!

Both guitarists play rhythm and lead. They both play really cool-looking custom guitars. All the instruments and gear are top-notch, and the sound is excellent.

I wasn't familiar with their music ahead of time, and I can tell I missed a lot. The lyrics were deep, cool, and relevant. One of the songs, Do I?, is about the [often seemingly overwhelming] temptations of sex. It was something Lust Control or Mad at the World might have written - real in your face honesty.

The next to last song, 8, was about people who won't accept God's grace, but think they earn their way into heaven - a 6 keeps them out of hell, an 8 gets them to heaven, and a 10 would put them on the throne. I love it!

The last song was introduced something like this: "There was this guy, and his whole life, his work, his feelings, everything was all about chasing down, and mugging, and raping, and torturing, and murdering, people like you and me. Not exactly somebody you want to hang with, is he? But God loved this guy and forgave him - gave him a new life, and even a new name - Saul became Paul."

Then, the guys jammed for a bit, while Wallace ran offstage, found a white tee shirt, dropped to the front of the stage, and began doing something on his hands and knees only the mosh pit could see. After a while he jumped up, and put on this shirt, which read:

                          I Still
I could have kissed him!

A fitting song and shirt to end an awesome set!

                          THE SET
        I Am Blind
        Do I?
        Barnyard Funk [complete with animal sounds]
        [Saul to Paul]

                         THE BAND
                     Who(m)        What(m)
                 Chris Laurents    Drums
                 Doug Middleton    Guitar
                 Michael McNeely   Guitar
                 Schon Alkire      Bass
                 Wallace Chase     Vocals
Their newsletter is available; just drop a note (preferably a postcard, so they don't have to soak it in the john for bomb-proofing first) with your address to:
20/20 Blind
PO Box 750721
Houston, TX

Last updated: 05 July 1996

Copyright 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514