The most interesting aspect of Paint It Black's most recent show is that it raised the question, "What is the purpose of a concert?" Is the purpose of a concert to make interesting sounding music? Is the band itself merely a conduit for the audience and acts more as a buoy than a presentation? On December 27, 2012, Paint It Black played a semi-secret house show in Philadelphia and utilized the concert as a tool for binding people together as opposed to making a spectacle. To the band's credit, their approach certainly achieved its purpose.
The day before the show, PiB's social media outlets suggested that they "might" play a house show in Philadelphia the next day, but left the particulars absent. Meanwhile, a punk house in Philadelphia stated on its own social media outlets that it didn't put any stock into rumors. Of course, the next morning, it was announced in some secludedness that PiB would be playing that house that night.
From outside, the house looked like any normal row home that perhaps had a small party going on inside. But inside, the surprisingly sparsely adorned house was wall to wall to wall to wall packed with people. By the time of doors, the show was already nearly filled. By thirty minutes after doors, the house was sold out.
The show opened with Attitude Era who kicked out some semi-melodic hardcore punk. Although their setup took a fair amount of time, the band were warmly received, though it seems they are still working on finding their own unique sound. Next, Bad Energy took the floor for a six minute, nasty, nihilistic Poison Idea style hardcore set. The young band opened their set by proclaiming "We're bad Energy and we're the band you fucking came to see!" obviously making light of the situation on the bill. Still, as primitive and brutish as the band were, they were able to work a personality into their set and may very well become the next big hardcore self-destructionists.
Before PiB, local favorite and Punknews darlings Restorations played through a full set of their own brand of reflective, but energetic gruff-punk. Although they were more reserved and contemplative than the rest of the bill, the crowd warmly received them as they played across their catalogue.
Being spread across two coasts and several professions, Paint It Black play few shows these days. The anticipation of the crowd was doubled because not only was Paint it Black playing a show, it was a surprise show in a house. And then, chaos - or more accurately, unity - broke out. As soon as Paint It Black took the "stage," the main room of the house went wild. On the first note, crowd surfing began and it didn't stop until the end of the show. Literally, every single lyric to every single song was shouted out a tight ring of mega-fans who surrounded vocalist Dan Yemin in a tight pack.
But honestly, because it was a house show and because the crowd was so berserk, it was really hard to hear any music at all. Yemin's vocals were all but drowned out by the crowd and somewhat lacking sound system. Due to the mass of people, the music itself was clumped into a single wave of sound that vibrated, peaked, and valleyed, but rarely gained distinction beyond LOUD NOISE.
It's tough to even tell if the band played tightly or sloppy. Songs ranged across the band's discography, and because they were so berserk and hit the beats with such force, it's probably safe to say that the band attacked the songs with a professional looseness--similar to uncontrolled, but not unmanageable wild instrumentation of Chitlin circuit wild soul or George Clinton's hard hitting funk.
Interestingly, even though the music was reduced to imperceptible volume, the crowd was having a transcendental experience. Although Yemin had the microphone the entire night, the most active audience members seemed as concerned with shouting out the lyrics as they were listening to the band, thoroughly erasing the audience/band dynamic. Much in the way Youtube videos of voodoo ceremonies and even revival religious gatherings seem to feature people completely out of the skull in body but connected somewhere else, the mass of people acted as a unit, channeling something. Was that something merely a shared enjoyment of a song? Was it the non-verbal expression of a certain ideal expressed through tone instead of words? Was it brotherly love? I can't say, and if you were to ask the participants what they were sharing, as they were jammed side to side, leaning forward and without control of their own bodies due to the masses pushing them back and fourth, you'd probably get 100 different answers.
But, whatever Paint It Black seemed to be reaching for, they grabbed it by both hands.
-Apparently, PiB just finished recording a 6 track EP. Oh la la!
-On my way back, I stopped at Checker's Burgers! Hella delish! I gotta say, In-N-Out and Five Guys are duking it out for top burger chain, but they better be careful, with some more training and a little focus, Checkers could take that spot.
-CELEBRITY WATCHER: Punknews Editor Bryne Yancey was spotted in the corner of the show, handing out "daps" like a boss to the visiting bands. Hair stylist to the punk rock stars Melissa Bruce was spotted at the beverage table, giving advice on how to achieve a unique, but manageable style. Yours Truly was sighted by the distro table, looking at the demo tapes and asking a highly annoyed vendor, "Say, I haven't heard of this band, are they pretty good?" Also, I thought I saw Maura of Mixtapes there, but the Yance says it wasn't her. Following a Google search, I still think it was. So, Maura, if you are reading this, was you was, or was you was not at the PiB show? If it wasn't you, brunette that looks like Maura from Mixtapes, who are you? I've seen you somewhere before. SF maybe?