With the exception of their personal career choices, as musicians I don’t think that Scarlet Symphony makes many mistakes. That’s a large statement, but listen to “Perfect Cover Up.” It’s a perfect rock and roll song, a real driver with manic vocals and a flat-out nasty guitar line. I once witnessed Scarlet Symphony give a Street Scene performance that I would call feral; they were loutish and excessive on stage, and that day the members were like rock gods culled from the legendary acts of the ’70s. They seemed a genetic fit with the stage and the whole scene unfolding around them. Perfect! So why, all these years later, are they still an unsigned band, self-releasing their own CDs and touring under their own steam?
Scarlet Symphony is a San Diego quartet. They are currently gigging up and down the West Coast in support of their recent EP At the Base of the Metropolis. The band broke up right after they formed in 2000. Later, after regrouping, there was word of interest from a couple of major labels. Scarlet Symphony is said to have turned them down in favor of retaining their creative freedom.
At least that’s the story. Less a commercial group and more a remembrance of rock-and-roll past, Scarlet Symphony is in opposition to the current spate of health-food rockers that blend scratching DJs and neutered rock guitar with rants about bad parenting. The Symphony have a gritty Brit-rock edge that, when they get it together with the various punk/funk/pop images that inform most of their music, showcases what it is about them as a band and lands them on festival stages with the majors. Their business heads may collectively be in the wrong place, but their hearts are right on the money.
SCARLET SYMPHONY, The Casbah, Friday, July 11, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $8.