Janus | 11.16.09

janusthumb.jpgIn their first St. Louis show since Pointfest 25, Janus served notice that they are a band with huge ambitions and the talent and momentum to make things happen.

 
 
 
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Photos: Corey Woodruff
 
 
Live at Pops 
 
Co-headliner or not, when sandwiched in a six-band bill for a benefit show (for Crohn’s disease, of all things) it can be tough for a modern rock band to rise above the chaff and get noticed.  Fortunately for Janus, they arrived at Pop’s armed with a dramatic visual show and enough sonic weaponry to level Paris.  It’s a good thing too, because when you name your band after a Roman god, you had better back it up with some serious firepower.
 

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In their first St. Louis show since Pointfest 25, Janus served notice that they are a band with huge ambitions and the talent and momentum to make things happen.  This was evident as vocalist David Scotney expertly worked the near capacity crowd from atop the stage monitors while his band steamrolled through a set of tunes from their record Red Right Return.   Musically speaking, they come off as a less whiny Chevelle with more cohesive artistic vision; a point driven home by the  fact that the band performed clad in military-style uniforms inspired by 1920’s Russian constructivist artwork and were bathed from below in dramatic green and red light.
 
The Communist working class visual vibe also dovetails with the band’s groupthink writing process.  When I spoke with Scotney the day after the show he described the creation of *Red Right Return* as, “a very arduous, laborious, democratic effort.  It was the first time ever that we put everyone’s part on the table up for a vote.  If anybody was unsure about a vocal melody, a lyric, a bassline, or guitar part; it got rewritten, kicked out.  That person had to bring something new to the table.  I must have rewritten the verses for ‘Eyesore’ twenty times.  It’s humbling.“
 
In our conversation Scotney emphasized the fact that the album was written primarily to satisfy the band’s creative urges after a series of false starts.  “We had spent some time making demos, trying to get a record deal.  It didn’t feel right.  We kind of rushed through the process,” Scotney said,  “but with this record and everything that we’re doing now, we really wanted to take our time and do something for ourselves — to do something for the sake of making a great piece of art.”
  
Paying attention to the visual aspect of their efforts has served to set the band apart from the leaden masses of modern rock.  As Scotney said, “It’s not just four guys in black t-shirts on the cover.  We actually try to play down the individual faces of the band as part of the whole theme.”  The ironically gorgeous video for “Eyesore” carries this off as well.  “We wanted to do a performance video but we wanted the band to be second, and the vibe of the artwork to come first,” explained Scotney.
 
Fortunately for Janus, their artistic flair is paying off.  Six months into their record deal, the lead single “Eyesore” is climbing the modern rock charts; with the slickly produced music video showing up on Fuse and MTV’s Headbangers Ball.  The band is touring through the end of 2009, ringing in the New Year with a pair of dates opening for Sevendust and continuing to promote Red Right Return into 2010.  It looks like that will be a great year for Janus. | Corey Woodruff

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