This show was about what I expected. Two very good bands and two alright bands. I had high expectations for The Break, actually, because they've played some shows with bands I like and am friend with such as City of Caterpillar and local friends here said that I'd like them. Anyway, it turned out to be a pretty exagerrated pop punk band along the lines of NFG and others. The singer moved and jumped around the stage, it got pretty ridiculous and corny quickly. It's not that I don't like pop punk either–The Crush is one of my favorite bands, for one. All the songs just blended together and I got very bored with it. At any rate, they just seemed pretty out of place at this show, with bands like Appleseed Cast and Ten Grand.
Gabe's still hadn't quite filled up for The Damn Personals' set, which was much more satisfying than The Break's. The Damn Personals are on Big Wheel Recreation, and have a sort of similar punk heavily listened to emo rock sound. They'd do well to tour with bands like Piebald. They put on an enjoyable set, one that I'd probably like a lot more had I heard them before tonight–they fell into the incredible slew of indie rock where the music is good but, having not heard it before, it becomes pretty forgettable. Nice guys, nice sound, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Ten Grand's friend Will Whitmore then took the stage for fifteen minutes or so to give us fifteen minutes or so of his great singer/songwriter work, played with a banjo. I've always loved Will, and he often tours with 10G playing short opening sets. If you're a fan of Simon Joyner or other similar artists and after have the opportunity to see him play, you should. He's very credible, earnest and just a great, albeit very drunk songwriter.
Then Ten Grand took the stage. This time around their set was mostly culled from their upcoming album on Southern Records, "This is the Way to Rule" while entertaining a few requests. Ten Grand has been rocking the DIY indie/punk/hardcore scene for the past four years and have undoubtedly changed their sound an incredible amount. it would be impossible to call them a hardcore band now. If you're not familliar with them, they're hard to describe. It's probably easiest to go through their influences: Matt/Guitar/Vocals grew up listening to lots of bands like The Cure and Swans. Joel/Guitar/Vocals loves Arab on Radar. Zach/Bass listens to lots of hip hop, while Bob/Drums loves metal bands. So it's sort of a combination of those influences while becoming something entirely their own. They played about 45 minutes and put on one of their best sets I've seen in recent memory and were grateful to be back home. It was energetic, loud, and absolutely nuts – a hard act to follow. Ten Grand, though I've seen them countless times, I'd think would have the opposite effect of what I was talking about with Damn Personals – they're really quite different from any band you've ever heard. So if you were to see them without having ever heard anything in advance, chances are you'd like watching them. They have one of the most engaging live sets ever. So, if over the course of their upcoming indefinite US tour you have the chance to see them, do it.
The Appleseed Cast put on a pretty good show as well, after starting around 12:30 or so. I wasn't really sure what to think of their newest CD, Lost Songs. it's hard to follow the double CD set of Low Level Owl which was filled with huge epic soundscapes that recall the best elements of shoegazer rock like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Most of their set tonight was still from that double disc, thankfully, giving huge waves of sound that washed over the crowd. I saw them this summer and liked them a lot more tonight, they were definitely cleaner and more receptive to the larger crowd of 150 or so. The new songs that they played were alright but stuck out like sore thumbs–they just aren't as epic or meaningful as the songs they've been touring for the past year and a half. Hopefully they'll grow more as Lost Songs seems to show them in transition to a more rocking form. We will wait and see. The one issue I have with AC live is that the songs can all blend together after a while in their live set and that they can never pull off the incredible stereo effects of their records, but this show proved to pretty very enjoyable nontheless, and undoubtedly worth the trip.