The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza returned to Murfreesboro for a show at Wall Street on June 26.
The crowd moshed and head-banged as the band?fronted by the fierce vocals of Jessie Freeman and backed by the bass theatrics of Mike Butler (who moves in ways that make you wonder if he’s aware that he’s playing the bass) the ferocious guitar of Layne Meylain, and the drumming of Brandon Bateman?played several familiar songs from its debut album, including “Cliff Burton Surprise” and “My Bowling Ball is Frozen in a Footlocker in Chicago,” as well as “Go Greyhound,” a track off of the recently released sophomore effort Danza II: Electric Boogaloo.
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza is taking its grindcore sound, similar to that of popular metal act Every Time I Die, out on the nation-wide “Brothers in Brutality” tour with fellow metal acts Emmure, A Life Once Lost and Veil of Maya. The tour will take them as far south as Mississippi, out west to Colorado, and up north to New York.
Opening for the band in Murfreesboro was local down-tempo, doom metal act Under the Earth, playing its first live show. The band consists of a mixture of local scene veterans and fresh talent. Vocalist Lee Stickney and guitarist Todd Harris were most recently members of the now-defunct rock act The Firing Order. Lee’s brother and guitarist Casey Stickney, second vocalist Matthew “Hardy” Harrison, and keyboardist Jason Deitz are all former members of metal act Autumn Morning (the two brothers played together previously in the band Divider). Bassist Nathan Reed and drummer Brian Kimpel performed their first live show.
“We started out wanting to be straight doom metal,” said Lee Stickney, “but with so many people and ideas in the band, we quickly realized that sticking to one particular style was going to be impossible. So we’re really just going with the flow, and playing whatever we want. That way we don’t feel pigeonholed into one style and can have real progression.”
Members of the band has been friends with the members of the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza for years, and Lee Stickney said they were excited to get to play their first show with them.
“Playing with them is not only a privilege because they’re such a great band, but it’s good times because most of us are pretty old friends and we’ve been playing shows with them for years and practicing a few doors down from them off and on. Jesse, Casey and I used to sport the stove pipes and play shows together in our nu metal bands Without and Malfunction Crew. It’s pretty funny to think about how things have changed and how we have all evolved personally and musically.”
Under the Earth opened its set with the slow, methodical tempo of the song “Still Life,” before exploding with the faster, more energetic, power-metal tinged “Prison Planet,” and followed up with “Vindicate,” and “Divided We Stand, Misguided We Fall.” Lee Stickney and Harrison showed remarkable stage presence, throwing their fists in the air and helping to energize the crowd as mosh pits formed and metal horns were thrust in the air.
Lee Stickney said the band is finishing up its first recorded project and looking forward to the future.
“We’re finishing up our EP this month and we plan to go as far as we are able to go with it. It would be awesome to get picked up by a good label and do some touring. We’ll see, we’re open to the possibilities.”
Also opening the show was Nashville hardcore act Dolcim.
Nicholas Gore, 21, a Nashville metal enthusiast and Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza fan, was moderately impressed with the show.
“It was worth the $5 that I paid to get in,” said Gore. “I enjoyed Under the Earth and Dolcim. I wouldn’t go see them again live, but I enjoyed it, and I’d listen to them. The Tony D show was good. It wasn’t their best, but it was fun, and high energy.”