Photo / Jason Dulin

Birds With Teeth, a fresh-on-the-scene Charlotte band, released their debut album Live From the Center of the Earth with an exciting show on Friday, November 4, 2011 at Snug Harbor.

Opening bands included the Rocketboys, the Winter Sounds who recently toured with Charlotte’s Junior Astronomers, and My Captain, a newer Charlotte band budding on the scene as of late.

Despite Jeff Hahne’s Homebrew show the same night at the Neighborhood Theatre, Birds With Teeth saw a great turn out at Snug Harbor.  The venue was about two-thirds of the way packed and full of energy for the majority of the performances, plus several people listening from outside. Some faces from other Charlotte bands such as Junior Astronomers and Tyler Brown Band braved the cold and made it out in support of their music family, front and center for each act.

Live From the Center of the Earth was recorded in a single day last March, just one month after the band’s debut show in February.  Release was delayed because of a lack in funds, according to recent UNC Charlotte graduate and lead singer Jon Davis.

When asked about what some of the band’s influences were, Davis stated, “I’d like to say everything I write doesn’t sound like anything I really listen to. It’s hard to describe where it comes from really. I just doodle until I like it.”  The band takes their favorite part of each of their favorite genres and meshes them together in one song, creating an interesting and dynamic sound.  Some of the songs on the album sounds like old school punk mixed with some metal sounding guitar riffs, while a couple others sound a little on the indie side of the genre spectrum.  Live From the Center of the Earth could be compared to Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 album Bleed American.

The first track on the album is “Against the Wall,” a quick-paced punk sounding tune that gets you amped for the next song.

“Now You’re All Grown Up,” has a minute and a half mid section that features Tim Nhu on bass, some fancy guitar work by Jordan Staley and Jon Davis, and equally as adept drum work by Daniel Cunningham.  Birds With Teeth opened their release show with this song and the crowd responded enthusiastically, singing along and jumping with the driving drums.

Toward the end of the track it builds up to an ultimate slow down that leads very nicely into the album’s first mellow tune “Far From Unfortunate,” which showcases some soulful vocals from guitarists Staley and Davis.

The next few tracks are “Can’t Even Kill Myself,” “Understudy,” and “Underground” which has a deceiving final chord making you think it’s the end of the CD then quickly begins the final song, “Lupus,” with an ending that inspires you to restart the album all over again.

Since recording Live From the Center of the Earth, a lot has been changing for Birds With Teeth. Due to guitarist Jordan Staley’s recent marriage, he is leaving the band and says he is pursuing a techno-rock project, Lo Ultimo, with his wife and brother-in-law.

Staley’s replacement, 18-year-old CPCC student, Mike Royal, was introduced Friday night, and quickly demonstrated his guitar and vocal talents on the first few songs of the show.

“’Against the Wall’ will never be the same again,” says Davis.  “Jordan played a huge, huge part in the song, in writing and vocally. Mostly, vocally.  Some big shoes for Mike to fill, but he’s getting there.”

The band’s growing fan base is anxious to see if they stick with the eclectic approach that suits them right now, or if they will begin to gravitate toward a more straight-forward sound later in future writing.

 Birds With Teeth’s album Live From the Center of the Earth, which can be purchased on their BandCamp, brings back a great late 90’s/early 2000’s punk-ish sound featuring songs that you can really rock out to and were well received by fans at Snug Harbor.  The addition of young Mike Royal is giving Charlotte music fans a lot to look forward to, as well as the anticipated recording of the band’s next EP.