The Slants at SaikouCon 2013
By Deborah Meade
Posted: 10/7/13 10:44 PM ET
The Slants were truly a highlight of the SaikouCon experience. It was SaikouCon's first year and having the Slants was the best musical decision! The Slants made the Convention a great party! The Slants, travelling show band, are Aron Moxley, lead singer and front man, Will Moore, lead guitar, Thai Dao, bass, and Tyler Chen, Percussion/Drums.
L-R: Aron Moxely, Will Moore, & Thai Dao - Photo: Deborah Meade
The Slants bill themselves as Chinatown Dance Rock. Though their rhythms and melodies are definitely dance-able, they have a real rock edge to their sound. The hard driving rhythms and bluesy sounds truly give their musical sound an original vibe. I realize a lot of rockers out there do not like to hear "dance music", but do not let the genre fool you in regards to the Slants, because the Slants will surprise you! Not being a fan of modern pop dance music, I know I was pleasantly surprised by their rocking rhythms and alt sound. The band overall is incredibly tight musically. Not one train wreck all night, absolutely the best timing I have heard in actually a long time. It is as if they communicate with each other soul to soul to produce an overall awesome sound. Of course I realize that this type of musical timing comes from many hours of hard work, but the Slants make it appear effortless and cosmic. SaikouCon was the anime convention produced by Michael Meade, editor of Tastes Like Rock and presented through Tastes Like Rock's sibling publication, Anime Ate My Brain. Mike wanted to offer a really special musical guest to top off the evening of dancing and cosplay on Saturday night. The Superb Slants fit the bill perfectly! Everyone at the event was totally thrilled with their stand out performance! Any anime or comic conventions out there would be very fortunate indeed to have these very talented and personable performers at your own convention, so please keep these fabulous guys in mind for your event. You will not be sorry. There are many factors that make a good convention great, and the Slants are one of those factors. The Slants are definitely worth the fee you pay for their unique and stellar performance. I truly feel that the Slants can and will make any event unique and fun, so whether a convention or a club , give the Slants a listen for your next event to make that event cosmically cool! A great group of guys with incredible warmth and personality, they truly enjoy speaking with their fans and having fun with everyone, young and old alike. Their personal style of intensity about the music shines through every song and personal encounter. It always amazes me personally when internationally known rock stars will interact with their public in an intimate and caring way. The kindness of the Slants is very palpable when they speak with you. Each member has genuine interest in their fans whether brand new to the Slants' experience or fans from their beginnings.
The players in the Slants are as follows: first lead singer, song writer and front man for the Slants, Aron Moxley. Aron is a multi-talented song writer singer. His songs are poignant and deeply touching. Songs like Adoption and Misery will touch the deepest part of your soul, who among us cannot relate to the deeper concepts of abandonment, rejection and loss? It may not be exactly the same situation, but the feelings that Aron writes about are Universal. Anyone who has loved and lost and loved again can certainly relate to these emotionally charged songs. The songs are all extremely relatable, interesting and fun on many levels! Aron Moxley's voice is extremely expressive and reaching. He reaches into the deepest recesses of your soul with his words. His astonishingly emotion filled voice speaks directly to your heart, so you can feel the highs and lows of the songs with every word sung. Aron writes with great passion and relates his lyrics with just as much passion. He is incredible to watch perform to his audience. Aron holds each one of his listeners in the palm of his hand as he sings with amazing clarity of purpose. As I watched Aron sing directly to many people that Saturday night, I noticed he had a mesmerizing effect on them, his hypnotic eyes capture and hold your attention immediately. Genuinely a different kind of singer, Aron is a great entertainer with an engaging soulful voice. What I found most refreshing about Aron's performance was that Aron would leave the stage to communicate and sing directly to individual people in his audience making the experience intimate and fun for everyone. A very nice quality of his performance style is that Aron makes you feel as if you are individually special to him and the only one to whom he is singing. Aron's singing reminds me of Carlos Santana in his sensuality of song. Aron has a quiet sexuality when he sings that comes through the lyrics and melodies to touch your mind and heart thrilling the audience to raucous applause for his endearing style. Aron Moxley gives the impression of an inner strength with a vulnerability that comes through his talented vocal skills. The Slants' Aron Moxley has a talented vocal range to his voice with a deep bluesy quality to it. He definitely rocks a sound that is quite emotionally charged. The music though definitely dance-able has an edge that is reminiscent of the Ramones. The Slants are a vibrant combination of alt rock, rock and punk.
Thai and Aron - Photo: Deborah Meade
Thai Dao, Bass Guitar, The incredible backbone of the Slants music is Thai's well rounded rhythm on the bass. Thai Dao's bass playing gives a completeness, a fullness of sound that tells your inner ear it is time to move. Thai's bass playing gives the impression of rolling ocean waves in his rhythmic intensity. He is incredibly smooth and fluid, but equally delivering a hip swaying , heart pumping rhythm to the soulful sounds of the Slants. The rhythm provided by Thai gives the Slants a fullness of sound akin to REM and Foreigner. His back up vocals help to round out the vocal sound on many songs as well. Without the heart beat of the band there is no music and Thai Dao is the heart beat of the Slants. He just puts his whole heart into the bass heart beat of the Slants. Thai also is very personable and relates very well to the audience and entertains them directly. What impressed me the most was the raw passion for the music that you can feel on all levels from Thai and the whole band. I had the rare opportunity to speak with Thai about his beloved, Mary, and how much he missed her. It was a very sweet conversation. Mary is a very lucky girl to be loved so sweetly by such a passionate musician. Thai Dao's superb bass playing is very reminiscent of Mario Cipollina of Huey Lewis & the News especially in the rhythm full songs. Also Garry Tallent of Bruce Springsteen's E street band reminds of Thai's bassist skills. Who can top the boss, well actually Thai Dao is right up there with the truly great bassists of our time.
And, last but certainly not least, Tyler Chen, the percussionist/drummer. For those of you who know me out there in Tastes Like Rock Land you know I love drums. Though I do not play a drum set, I personally love to drum, especially African Drumming, so drummers always have a special place in my heart. I really enjoy listening to a powerful drummer and Tyler Chen is just that powerful and rhythmic drummer! His beats are absolutely fabulous! He is the Babatunde Oltunji (the African Drummer and Activist) of Chinatown Dance Rock. (I had the great good fortune to drum with Baba at several drum circles and workshops before his passing) Tyler Chen keeps the rhythm begun with the bass flowing and moving. Drums just make you want to dance. Tyler keeps the perfect beats going that just tell your body to undulate to the sound, and suddenly your heart is beating in time with Tyler's fabulous drumming. Tyler is an extremely powerful drummer who never lays back. After the concert I noticed several broken drum sticks tossed to the crowd, broken drum sticks are a testament to the power with which Tyler plays and truly the mark of a great drummer! I can certainly attest to Tyler's virtuosity on the drums. I enjoyed his playing throughout the night. Tyler I am sure has his own influences, but I definitely found his drumming akin to the phenomenal Liberty Devito from Billy Joel fame. Tyler Chen is one of the best drummers I have heard. I have had the opportunity to listen and review some of the greats this summer, but Tyler's drumming is tight and as hard pounding as it gets. Tyler Chen is easily one of my favorite drummers after the concert at SaikouCon. Drummers rock the night away! Kudos to a really great drummer.
Post-show goofing around with The Slants! Clockwise around Deborah from left: Aron Moxely, Thai Dao, Tyler Chen, and Will Moore
Summing up, the Slants are truly phenomenal and I highly recommend that you give their wonderful music a listen! Not only are you listening to some genuinely great gentlemen, you are listening to a truly great musical find. Whether you are hard core rockers or alt or punk or even dance pop, you will love the Slants, "Rock Gods Incarnate!" Rock on guys! Keep having fun and following your bliss, because you can really tell that you are doing what you love! The love comes right through the music. Live your dreams! Remember all you rockers out there, do what you love and the money, success, fame and happiness will follow! Peace and Love, Deb.
Tastes Like Rock gives the Slants our best musical rating 5 skulls+++++!
You can read more about the Slants and obtain their music direct from the artists at www.theslants.com. Buy music from the artists and never pirate! Support the music!