Waking Ashland rocks out the Knitting Factory

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Alternative rock bands Stix, Jettie, Self Against City, JamisonParker and CSUN-born Waking Ashland shook things up for a pierced and tattooed crowd at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on Aug. 22.

I stood in line with people who were not only from the local area, but also from out of state who came to the performance.

Anne, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania resident, planned her trip to visit her uncle in L.A. around Waking Ashland’s schedule.

“I love my uncle and everything, but I love Waking Ashland,” she said. “I couldn’t miss out on seeing them.”

Doors opened for a very excited crowd around 7:30 p.m. Everyone poured into the main area of the Knitting Factory, which set the mood for the entire evening. Everyone took their places, either at the bar, standing in front of the small stage, or sitting down.

A mother wearing red high-top Chuck Taylors, a pink tank top, shimmery purple nail polish, and a nose ring guided her son to their seats and eagerly waited for the show to start.

The night began with Stix, a very young-looking band with great potential. They entertained the audience and then mingled and signed autographs after their set.

Jettie, a band from Sweden, performed next, and they were absolutely mesmerizing. The band wore all-black polo shirts covered in white stripes, and they astonished the crowd with their voices, especially their “#4” tune.

“We’re a soft band if you haven’t noticed,” said lead singer Stefan Juhlin, during the set.

I couldn’t help but think of the Shins after the band wrapped their set. It was their first performance in the United States and they definitely made a fan out of me.

After Jettie finished playing, the place started to fill up, making it all the harder to breathe in the cramped environment. The crowd was getting noticeably excited for the next two acts.

A few people grabbed drinks from the bar and looked at the merchandise stand, which was filled with band t-shirts, stickers, and CDs. As I looked around, I saw members from a few of the bands sitting in the audience between performances, drinking and socializing with the crowd.

Lots of people came to see Self Against City, a powerhouse band from Sacramento that didn’t disappoint. Self Against City pumped the fans up with their insane guitar riffs and their obvious love for their music. Some fans threw their fists in the air, pounded their heads back and forth, and screamed with delight as the band rocked out.

“Are you ready for the lovely and sexy JamisonParker?” asked Self Against City lead singer Jon Temkin as the band started playing their last song.

It was interesting, and a little odd, that every band plugged their MySpace page at some point. At first glance, one wouldn’t think that these edgy bands and their fans would belong to something like MySpace. But the broad appeal is undeniable.

JamisonParker stepped onto the stage around 10:20 p.m. and the crowd went nuts. The Orange County-based band opened with “Too Much.” The band’s screaming lyrics and Jamison Covington and Parker Case’s voices oozed sex appeal. They have obviously built a strong fan base in Southern California.

At this point you could tell which part of the crowd were fans of a particular band by how into the music they were. Also by this point in the night, I could barely hear anything. I was really waiting for the headliner Waking Ashland, who were next.

When they finally took the stage, it was close to 11 p.m. The crowd looked weary, but all they really needed was more music and an energy drink.

Waking Ashland put on a terrific show, playing songs like “I Am For You,” “Shades of Grey,” and “Sing Me to Sleep” from their newest album, “Composure.” The band formed while the original four members attended CSUN, all majors in the Music Department. The band members have since left CSUN, and have been successful, recently signing with Tooth and Nail Records.

The band’s sound is both original and soulful. It is no wonder that they played at the 2004 Vans Warped Tour.

I felt like I was in a dream listening to them play. Jonathan Jones, the lead singer of Waking Ashland and a former CSUN student, has a voice that is extremely powerful yet peaceful all at the same time.

When the show was over, the crowd spilled out into the street and reality set in.

Some even talked about going to the show that will feature the same bands in Anaheim.

The music was unreal. Even if you are not a fan of the types of music that these bands play, see them perform and your opinion might change.

The experience was enjoyable, and Jettie, Self Against City, and JamisonParker stood out. Overall, the performances were outstanding and worth my time. I would recommend these bands to anyone.

Candice Mitchell can be reached at candice.mitchell.619@csun.edu.