Blissed in Houston, Texas

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, October 9, 2006 @ 12:50 AM

At FBI Rocks

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How cool do you think it would be to have one of your favorite rock bands play at your home? Or better yet, a backyard BBQ or even a pool party? They come and play a set and then hang with you for a couple of hours. Okay, now try to think of a rock band that would ACTUALLY do exactly that? Can’t think of any, can ya? I would venture a guess that no band has ever done that before. Well, guess again, because one band IS doing just that and then some!

Canadian Christian rockers Blissed (which once featured Robert Sweet of Stryper fame until Stryper’s most recent reunion), who like many other bands nowadays, have a MySpace presence, came up with the idea while planning their World Tour in support of their new CD, "Corrosive". They wanted to do something that would not only spread the word about the band but also bring them closer to their fans, MUCH closer. So, in the MySpace vein they came up with the Blissed ‘In Your Space’ concept. The premise was basically this: If you (or any fan) could get a minimum of 30 of your friends (up to 100 or more) to pay $10 each, in advance, the band would come and play WHEREVER YOU WANT! That’s right, your living room, garage, basement, church, club, or wherever. Now, when I saw this it was just too good to pass up so I contacted the band to see what I needed to do to get these guys to Houston. Now, the subdivision where I live was not very conducive to having a loud hard rock band playing there so I had to come up with an alternate location. My pick? The newly relocated and reopened FBI Rocks Club in Houston. With the help of one Randy Dickey, vocalist for a number of Houston bands who also helps book bands at the club from time to time, the show evolved into a night of Christian Metal, with a total of 4 bands now being on the bill.

After contacting Dave Pearson, lead vocalist for the band, we came up with a suitable date (September 22, 2006) and I was provided with advance tickets (which were individually numbered and made out of RUBBER VINYL!) and all the images and things I would need to make flyers, etc to get the word out about this show. The guys in the band truly put their faith in God for this one because, let’s face it, there is no way a band can drive all the way from Toronto, CANADA to play a show in Houston one day and a Dallas show on the next for $300 minimum each show. The gas alone would eat all that up! Well, the day came and I had already previously taken the day off from work so that I could be down at the club when the band arrived. I checked into my hotel and arrived at the club around 4:30 that afternoon, fully expecting the band to have already arrived and be setting up. There were no bands at that time with only the sound/lighting guys there setting things up. The band finally arrived about 5:30, having had their van overheat upon arriving in Houston (Go figure, it was a Canadian van! lol). We exchanged greetings and they began to set up their gear. I have to say that these guys were probably the most laid back and even-tempered rockers I have ever met! They took everything in stride and spun every negative into a good light. Props to the guys for that!

After their set up, it was dinner time. Now I had been already prepped for this by Jeff Miller, guitarist for the band, who had immediately told me from the outset that he wanted BBQ, so being from Texas who was I to argue with that? I mean after all, we do have the BEST BBQ in the country! Well, it just so happened that there was a BBQ kitchen inside the club and I had been told it was good so I got with the wonderful chef and ordered a little bit of everything for the guys. He brought out the table settings and then proceeded to bring out a huge sheet tray lined with lettuce and covered with some of the best ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken you ever saw! Side dishes of potato salad and baked beans and cornbread were included and the band went absolutely nuts over it! I think I heard the phrase ‘This is Insane!’ about a dozen times during the course of the meal, with various members of the band doing their sound check into between mouthfuls of food. The chef also brought out a nice dish of very spicy BBQ sauce which bassist Geoff Breen, despite warnings, decided to sample like he was eating soup, much to the chagrin of his mouth! Once sound check was finished I had the band follow me to the hotel where I got them a room for the night and so they could get ready for the show and then I returned to the club.

The first band of the night was Savage Evolution, whom I had never heard before and, unfortunately, did not get to see on this night either as I had gotten tied up with Blissed and was late getting back to the club. Sorry guys! Next up was the band Shining Force, fronted by the aforementioned Randy Dickey and these guys kicked it hard! Excellent musicianship and vocals made for a very entertaining set. You’ll probably be hearing more about this band in the future.

Now it was Blissed’s turn to rock the house, and rock the house they did! Bringing a ton of energy to the stage as they belted out "Get Up" from their "Corrosive" CD, the band played an hour long set comprising songs taken from their two releases, the other being "Waking up the Dead". The band’s set included both CD title tracks and finished up the show with their first video, which can be seen on their MySpace page, "Superhero". I might proudly add that this band was recently nominated for 2 Canadian Gospel Music Awards, one for Best Hard Rock Album (Corrosive) and one for Best Hard Rock Video (Superhero). In addition, the band also had a lucky fan from each of their ‘In Your Space’ shows to use their camcorder to get footage that they will be using in their new video "Only Getting Better" which is scheduled to hit their page on October 23.

The Setlist was as follows:

  • Get Up
  • Losing You
  • Only Getting Better
  • Corrosive
  • Monster
  • Betrayal
  • All I Want
  • Waking Up The Dead
  • Run
  • Rise
  • Shut Up
  • Superhero
After their set, the band came and hung out with those of us there, signing autographs and taking pictures while we watched the final band of the evening, Stalking Chloe, a three piece outfit also from Houston that has won various awards and competitions around the area over the past few years. Although the crowd had dwindled a little by this time, those that remained were treated to a very energetic set from this trio. Now I had never even heard of this band before, but they rocked the house until closing with a set that included a cover of the Cult’s ‘Sanctuary’.

I can’t say enough about the demeanor of the guys in Blissed. Nothing seemed to phase them and I heard one phrase more than any other on this night: ‘It’s all good’. And it WAS all good! If you haven’t heard Blissed yet check ‘em out at www.blissedmusic.com or on MySpace at www.myspace.com/blissedrocks . They are still booking ‘In Your Space’ shows so if you’ve ever wanted to have a band come and play just for you, what are you waiting for?

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