A single, small, gothic-style chandelier dangled from the ceiling above Flat Iron’s stage while three sound bafflers made from wooden blocks hung on the walls on the other side of the room.
Below the low-lit chandelier, Solar Halos’ lead vocalist and guitarist Nora Rodgers sang the first few notes of the band’s opening song, her voice alternating between a natural pitch and high falsetto, sounding a bit like Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries.
Each strum of the guitars sent a wave of vibrations through the room as the pace of the music continued to build. As the musicians carried on playing, the haunting metal notes from the instruments transformed the atmosphere into a supernatural world.
Last Friday, the Flat Iron music bar in Greensboro hosted three diverse punk rock bands: Totally Slow, Night Sweats and Solar Halos.
Tight beams of light shot down onto the stage as the band progressed until they were slowly enveloped by its brightness, evoking a sense of eeriness in the air.
Surrounding the band stood an array different faces, from young to middle-aged. The only other source of illumination in this dimly lit bar were the flashes of light coming from people snapping pictures and videos on their phones.
Solar Halos is a heavy rock band organized in Chapel Hill back in 2012, but made their debut in 2014 with their self-titled album.
After the show, Rodgers explained the band’s enigmatic inspiration behind their songs.
“It’s a mystery,” she said. “It’s a buildup of your whole life, of things that you’ve listened to. Music influences you. How you’re feeling on that day…. You can’t really put your finger on what that inspiration is.”
The third act of the night began with the banging of the drums echoing throughout the small establishment followed by the sounds of the electric guitar resonating in the room. Totally Slow, a Greensboro-based band brought a more emotional feel to the punk rock group through the power of Scott Hicks’ voice.
To one side of the stage danced a young woman dressed in all black with fishnet stockings and combat boots. She cupped her hands together over her mouth and called out to the band to request their song, “Other People” off the band’s album called Imperium.
Hicks spoke afterwards about his experience in the field of music.
“I have always operated at this level,” he said, “like sort of a DIY, punk-rock level. It was never in my designs to be in the industry or to make money. This is in me — I have to get it out.”
In between, Night Sweats gave a fired-up and rage-filled performance, setting a hard and fast pace to emphasize the meaning of their song, “Fuck the Party.” Lead singer and former drummer Mike Sileno grabbed the mic and began screaming the lyrics to express the song’s message.
“We’re disrupters,” Sileno screamed. “We’re disrupting/ all your best laid plans/ all of your top paid scams/ all of your fun and games/ all of your scapegoat blame….”
Sileno re-laid the details of how the band was formed after the results of the 2016 presidential election.
“I was fired up and posted on Facebook that I wanted to start something,” he said. “That was why we wanted to do something fast and hard — to match what we were going for to complement the lyrics.”
As the bands began packing up their equipment after a long night of performing, an lone member in the audience commented on the three different acts that they had seen that evening.
“They have a message like the hard-core bands from back in the day used to have,” she said. “They were not just playing music for fun, fame or fortune-but being purposeful about it.”