The Prop Room, Ft.Lauderdale • 1.30.98

Consolidated is consolidated no more. Yes, the name “Consolidated” is still being used by Adam Sherbourne, but with the departure of Mark Pistel and Philip Steir, the band has gone in a new direction. I will be the first to admit that I appreciate Consolidated as much (if not more) for their political views as their music. Their views have not changed. The presentation of those views has changed slightly.

My Consolidated experience began the afternoon of the show. I stopped by the Prop Room on business and had the opportunity to meet new bass player Michael Dunne and a member of the crew. Very cool guys! They were searching for a place to get some decent vegan food. Since there is not a vegetarian restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, I had to tell them they were out of luck. Embarrassed by my own city’s non-progressive menu choices, I decided to take a bag of vegan goodies that I had at home to the show. This was not necessarily the greatest idea, because I had to hold the bag until the end of the performance. Plus, I didn’t want to risk looking all ass-kissey. I hate that.

When I came back to the venue later that evening, Consolidated had just started their set. The first thing I noticed was that this was a kinder, gentler Consolidated. Gone were the intense visuals that Consolidated were famous for. Gone was the confrontational style that got the audience involved in the show. Although not what I had expected, I was not disappointed. I am not afraid to say that I liked the new Consolidated. The band was still using their music to send their message of Animal and Women’s Rights, but Adam Sherbourne and his band had taken more of a rock direction. Not everyone was open-minded enough to give the new Consolidated a chance. The music was definitely a lot less heavy than some of their fans expected. This was made quite evident by a dreadlocked Neanderthal I had the misfortune of standing next to all night. He and his fellow cronies made sure everyone around them were aware of their displeasure. With scathing comparisons to Matchbox 20 (although Consolidated’s sound is now more rock, they have a long way to go to be Matchbox 20), and quick-witted remarks like “go eat some lettuce,” they were the only downside to what was otherwise an enjoyable evening.

As the crowd called out to hear some of the harder, more industrial numbers, Sherburne even made a comment jokingly on stage that the audience could hear those songs at the Consolidated reunion tour in Las Vegas. This was just an example of the professional behavior shown by the band in the face of some unamused fans. The band sounded great as they continued to perform new material, mixed with some older Consolidated. Sherbourne’s vocals were somewhat buried through most numbers, and the band was playing to a less-than-packed house, but it was still a performance worth seeing.

After the show, I gave a crew member my bag of vegan food. Unlike a lot of bands, Consolidated didn’t go hiding out in the dressing room, but were walking around the club, talking to some of their fans, and even helping the crew load the gear. This was unusual, but then again, Consolidated is an unusual band.

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