After a bad night of missing River City Rebels play right by my school on Long Island in NY, I was hoping that seeing the Distillers would make up for missing one of my favorite bands. The last time I saw the Distillers was at the Knitting Factory, which is a pretty small place, but still bigger than the loft. I was happy to see that on their day off from their arena shows, the Distillers were playing a venue that was about the size of my dorm room (thats a little exaggerated).
I arrived at the show after the almost two hour drive, just missing the first band, The Emergency. They were playing when I was giving my ticket, but when I got upstairs to the show, they were done, so I can't fairly rate them. Next up was Joey's Throwin Elbows. I expected emo, because thats what I was told they were, but in reality, they were pretty decently played fast skate punk a la Pennywise, with some obvious old school hardcore influence. While they were playing, I noticed what would grow to be the dumbest thing I have ever seen: the "pit". The "pit" at this show was comprised of people who appeared to be between the ages 15 and 21, jumping into each other like it was a fifth grade dance, and the DJ played "basket case". It was pitiful. people just jumping in to each other....no dancing. when people fell down, it became a pile on. No one helped anyone up. The few people who tried to dance were eventually mauled by the morons who would just run into them.....argh.
Anyway, after the emergency, the Sex Machines were supposed to be up. They set up their stuff, or so everyone thought, but nothing happened. It wasnt till more than a half hour later that they actually took the stage. THIS BAND KICKS ASS!!! a local band from that area, they rocked out their own brand of Punk Rock 'n Roll, playing mostly original songs, and mixing in "Search and Destroy" by Iggy and the Stooges, as well as "Kick out the Jams" by the MC5. You would have thought these guys were the headliners the way they got the crowd moving. After their last song, the crowd was cheering "one more song" and then "bring it on". Listening to the crowd, they finished their set with "bring it on" which is an older one of theirs (and the only song of theirs I know). After they finished "bring it on", they left the stage, and we all waited for the Distillers to come on.
While the roadies were setting everything up, I found a spot right up against the stage, in front of Mrs. Armstrong herself. As soon as all of the equipment was set up, a chant of "Brody! Brody!" began. This kind of pissed me off because theyre the distillers, not Brody and the Distillers, but oh well. Anyway, the Distillers came out and rocked through 12 songs in maybe over a half an hour. They played a good mix of stuff from both of their cd's as well as one that I didnt know...maybe a new one, maybe a cover, I have no idea. The crowd during this set wasn't as bad as before, and the good thing was there was no crowd surfers. Anyway, The Distillers stage performance was a little lacking, but I find that usually happens when the lead singer also plays an instrument, making it harder for him or her to give the mic to the crowd, or even leave the mic for a big ol' leap through the air. At the end of their set, I grabbed a set list, as I try and do at every show, and wanted to talk to Brody, or anyone else, but when I looked up, they were jetting off the stage. Aparently, according to Jaun, the man who set up the show, they required a clear path to the door, so they can exit without being mauled. This annoyed me, because this show was in a room that can only fit about 350 people, that was only about half full, and they were worried about being mauled.
All in all, I was glad that I got to see the Distillers in a tiny place before they get really huge, and ONLY play arena's. Though I say that sarcastically, I can tell that it's going to get harder and harder to get an intimate show with who I find to be one of the best new punk bands around. They played decent, but the Sex Machines destroyed the place. Fans of Hudson Falcons, The MC5, the GC5, or just good old fashion rock 'n roll should check them out.