The aroma of hamburgers wafts through the air as kids in lime-green T-shirts mill around the Las Vegas Academy schoolyard on a Saturday afternoon. A few feet from an inflated Lion King-themed jump house, local band Old Iron Sights blasts its first chord, and the noise inspires the curious to come in for a closer look.
As the progressive-hardcore quintet delves further into its set — part of the cancer awareness event, "Relay for Life" — a glance around reveals mixed reactions. While a few kids in tight pants and scene-styled haircuts bob their heads to the guitar's throbbing feedback, the grade-school-age youngsters seated nearby stare gapingly — this might be the first time they've had their eardrums assaulted by screaming vocals.
"I want to dedicate this show to my grandfather, who's been battling cancer for six to eight years," singer Jason Levi says. "Be an 'Epic Patriot,'" he continues, as the band bursts into that track. "We can work as a team for causes like this."
As JFK's inaugural speech — the introduction to "Epic Patriot" — begins playing out from the band's laptop, parents begin taking down the snack-table canopy. The band plays on, unaffected by the lack of energy from its remaining audience. "Even though the sound wasn't great, and it wasn't the biggest crowd, it was nice to do our part by coming and playing a show," Levi says.