Hot Water Music / Coheed and Cambria / Curl Up and Die

Hot Water Music/Coheed and Cambria/Curl Up and Die: live in San Franciscolive in San Francisco (2002)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 3

Contributed by: HamishHamish
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Going to a show without a ticket is a risky proposition. Sometimes you get lucky and get in for face value and sometimes you get ripped off or can't find a ticket at all. I grossly underestimated the popularity of Thrice and tried too late to get a ticket. But my love for Hot Water Music surpasse.

Going to a show without a ticket is a risky proposition. Sometimes you get lucky and get in for face value and sometimes you get ripped off or can't find a ticket at all. I grossly underestimated the popularity of Thrice and tried too late to get a ticket. But my love for Hot Water Music surpasses all reason so I chose to head over to Slim's and try to get a ticket anyway. Getting there fairly early, I formed a bond with several other ticket searchers. Despite our competition there's an unspoken friendship between those who have been shut out from seeing a favorite band. Fortunately I lucked out and an older couple (and by older I mean late 20s, it sure seems old what with the low age group that Thrice seems to draw) agreed to give me their extra ticket at will call for face value. Then they asked me who I was there to see, to which I responded "Hot Water Music." The man told me that if I had said any of the other bands, he wouldn't have given me the ticket. HWM fans look out for their own!

I made my way in and snagged myself a nice spot one person back and on the left side of the stage. I waited patiently for the first band to take the stage and was entertained by the two sixteen year old girls in front of me talking about who slept with whom and what bands have the cutest members. They were so stereotypical that it was almost funny. Anyways, Curl Up and Die hit the stage. The crowd barely moved but I can't say that there was any reason for them to. Bands rarely come that one dimensional. Repetitive metal-core riffs, repetitive screaming, ad nausea. I love hardcore, but it gets scary when the vast majority of the bands are this afraid of progression. Sure, sometimes it's nice to have a one dimensional band that you can go nuts to when you're angry, but Curl Up and Die didn't even fit that bill. The music was heavy but not intense. The riffs were so recycled that it stole any chance of being "turn off your brain and have fun" music. So it pretty much failed on all levels. On the other hand, the girls in front of me thought the guitarist was very cute, so take that for what it's worth.

Coheed and Cambria started setting up. I think more people were talking about the singer's massive fro than the actual music. Not that there's really that much to say about their music. They probably don't deserve to get stuck with the "emo" tag but it doesn't look like they'll be escaping it any time soon. I know there's more to them than that, but I'm pretty sure that most of their fans like them because the singer has an inhumanely high, whiney voice. Now I'm not saying all of their fans feel that way, but it seems like a high percentage do. They get lumped in with the whole "Saves the Day/Taking Back Sunday" group mostly because of the vocals. And truth be told, the vocals are horrible. They're high to the point of annoyance. Musically, everyone loves to rave about how intricate their guitar lines are. Yeah they're intricate, but they're still boring. They just meander around and don't really go anywhere. It's not bad, it's just mediocre. I know I'll get ripped apart for saying that, but I have my right so speak my mind and that's how I feel. They did seem to have a big following. Lots of kids were singing along looking all weepy eyed. There was also lots of good-natured heckling. While it was funny, I have to question the mentality of someone that is so desperate for attention that they'd yell between every song just for a reaction. Anyways, the band played with a good deal of intensity, but it didn't bring their music past the realm of mediocrity. Not bad, not good, it's just there. And just being there isn't good enough when you're playing with Hot Water Music.

Hot Water Music took forever to finally set up but it was worth it. It was my sixth time seeing them and yet it never gets tiresome. They grabbed me from the first note and never let go. The sound was fucking terrible. I was standing right in front of Chuck and all I could hear was his guitar. All the vocals, the bass, the drums and Chris's guitar were all on the right side and barely audible. But that didn't stop the band from being amazing. I've seen HWM "on" (like at Gilman) and I've seen them "off" (like opening for Bad Religion) and tonight they were ON! I was worried about the reaction, since they seemed to have lost a lot of fans since their Epitaph releases and a lot of their other fans probably didn't want to see them play with Thrice, but the reaction was great. The Thrice fans just sorta stood there looking confused but the HWM fans went nuts. I completely lost myself in the music. For a good fifty minutes I forgot everything in my life and just concentrated on the music. I lost my voice screaming along. I pointed my finger, I head banged, I just let the music absorb me. The aforementioned girls in front of me thought I was crazy, but I was not alone. All around me there were people just losing themselves in the music. Highlights included the huge sing-along for Three Summers Strong and the mic grabbing of It's Hard to Know. Rarely have I gotten so into a band's performance. I was nervous that no one was going to be into the Flight and a Crash material since it seemed to be so maligned by HWM fans ( I happen to love it), but every single song got a great reaction. Another plus was the set length. Since HWM was the first of two headliners instead of the last of three opening bands, they got to play a full set instead of an abbreviated one. The band was tight as hell and their energy was without limit. And you could tell by their wide grins that they were having a great time. By far the best I've ever seen them. Definitely an experience to remember.

After Hot Water Music I decided it was time to leave. I was dead tired and there was no way Thrice could possibly have measured up to what I just witnessed. Honestly, Thrice is painfully overrated. Yeah, they have some good riffs but it's not enough. The screaming is bad and the singing is worse. The melodic parts just don't gel well with the heavy parts. And the "sensitive guy" lyrics sound painfully forced and cliché. It really only feels like they got popular because they got associated with a trend (though to their credit, I doubt they intended this). I know I'll get even more crap for this than I'll get for my comments about Coheed and Cambria, but it's how I genuinely feel. There is just nothing special about Thrice. Hot Water Music is everything they aren't. Appreciate HWM now, because years from now they are going to be remembered as one of the great bands of this period. Bands of this caliber do not come around too often. I was planning on writing this huge spiel on how amazing they are and how much their music means to me, but words just aren't doing it justice. So many bands today write some obvious lyrics about broken relationships and people get all excited and talk about how much it means and how easily they can relate to it. Hot Water Music's lyrics are real. They are about life. They are not cliché and they are not trite. People talk about the connections they have with certain bands, but very few people have as genuine and real connections as Hot Water Music's fans do. It may sound like pointless hyperbole, but HWM is amazing and that's all there is to it. If you haven't, go get something by them. Everything they've done (except for Finding the Rhythms and their tracks on the split with Alkaline Trio) is amazing. 4 and a half stars for HWM, one and a half for everyone else.

I also managed to snag HWM's set list. It was: Remedy / A Flight and a Crash / No Division / Not For Anyone / Paper Thin / Three Summers Strong / The Sense / Swinger / Free Radio Gainesville / I Was On a Mountain / Choked and Separated / Jack of All Trades / It's Hard to Know / Turnstile / Manual


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 17, 2003)

You're not very smart, and you don't know what good music is. I don't even know what your saying about Coheed and Cambria's guitars not going anywhere. What the hell does that mean? Do Hot Water Music's power chords just take you to a better place? You suck kid. Coheed and Cambria was the best band on that tour, and they are nothing like Saves the Day. Saves the Day is amazing too though, much better than hot water music.

WussEmoRock (November 22, 2002)

Vinnie is the drummer buddy, get it straight. Roger is the guy who pointed you out (he has long gross dreads)...very nice guy!


p.s. I will be sympathetic though, even since no one ever is with me haha. Jimi, the same thing happened to me at an A-F show, they got real sad that I wasn't jumping around, it is quite lame and for that i am sorry you had a bad experience with LTJ.

pinchejim (November 21, 2002)

That guy Vinnies a jackass!!! I'll go see my favorite band and just stand there, I like to watch the performance. I don't need to run and jump around to have fun at a show. So I decide to give LTJ a chance in S.F. and I watch their set. Not only do they suck ass...That fucking faggot stops playing bass in the middle of a song pointing at me then crossing his arms to mimic me being bored. You have a whole fucking crowd in the palm of your hands and your going to make fun of one guy cause he's not jumping around like an idiot. I left the show with confirmation that they do indeed suck and their bass players an idiot.


WussEmoRock (November 21, 2002)

Less Than Jake are by far one of the best bands out there. How could you not understand that? Shit, Vinnie is great how he interacts with the fans all the time with journals, emails, a whole fucking website dedicated to keeping us on track with the new record "anthem," not to mention the best live show I have still seen to date (ever time too).


pinchejim (November 21, 2002)

Thats funny you mention the BR show. While I agree it wasn't there crowd(it was actually Less than Jakes), I enjoyed the show. There wasn't as much energy but I thought they played great...and it was cool to hear them play a place that has a good P.A. where you could hear everything clearly. I understand they feed off the crowd, but as a musician I was able to watch in awe without having to look out for myself. They truly are one of the greats!! What I don't understand is Lessthan Jake. I'm willing to give everyone a fair shot, but I just don't get it.


Anonymous (November 21, 2002)

great review, and i have to say when i saw the show in minneapolis, hot water music tore it up, but one thing you said bothered me- "very few people have as genuine and real connections as Hot Water Musicâ??s fans do." i don't think that is necessarily true. i have a deep connection to strung out.

Hamish (November 21, 2002)

I didn't say being in your 20s was old, I said being in your 20s was old when compared to the rest of the crowd (who were all 16). As to the guy below me, you need to read more carefully:
1) Once again, I didn't say you were old, I said you were old compared to the very young crowd.
2) They were VERY off when they opened for BR in SF. They had very little energy, they played slopilly and they were clearly frustrated by the poor crowd reaction (as it was all BR's crowd).
3) When did I say that signing to Epitaph was bad? I said a large portion of their fans didn't like the Epitaph releases, not me. I happen to like them. At no point in the review did I say I didn't like those releases. You need to read more carefully. I could give less than a fuck what label HWM is on.
4) You can't read, because you clearly missed almost everything I said in that review.

pinchejim (November 21, 2002)

I thought HWM were great. The sound did indeed suck, but generally if you are up in front on the guitar players side that is all you'll hear. That is why I stand in back(also because I'm apparently old). I missed Thrice...I'm sure they were good, but being 29 and old I needed my beauty sleep.


Anonymous (November 21, 2002)

i don't know what this idiot is talking about??????? Hot Water fuckin ripped at slim's in S.F. and they ripped when they opened for Bad Religion. if you think the "20's" is an old age, you must be too young to understand the difference between a "on show" and a "off show". also....you think HWM signing to Epitaph is bad????? last time i checked Mr. Brett ran Epitaph and who the hell wouldn't want to be on his label. what is Epitaph a major label now????? since your a fucking genius with the punk rock maybe you could find time to let us all know. your not a HWM fan, your just a stupid kid! please, don't ever write a sorry ass review again. bye for now!

Anonymous (November 20, 2002)

Wuss is a narc.....he's probably a fucking pig for shit's sake.

Hamish (November 20, 2002)

Wuss-Emo-Rock, I'm surprised you put up with the ammount of shit you get on this site, I'm not sure I'd be willing to deal with it. I tend to disagree with almost all of your reviews, but you have every right to say what you want. I guess certain readers can't deal with different opinions (i.e. that anonymous guy).

WussEmoRock (November 20, 2002)

I love how every single time someone gets pissed at someone else, they compare that person to me. haha


Hamish (November 20, 2002)

Excuse me, but your argument against me makes no sense.

1) I stated clearly in my review that I have seen Thrice before. Read more carefully next time.
2) Why did I say I was cooler than you because I like HWM more? I simply stated that I liked them a lot. If you take that as an insult, then it's all in your head. I have friends who like Thrice and not HWM and I certainly don't think I'm better than them.
3) How am I a secenester? And when did I diss Thrice just because they were popular? I did mention that they had aquired a large fanbase, but I never insulted them because of that. I saw Thrice before they got huge and thought they were weak, an opinion that has not changed since they blew up in the scene. I explained in great detail why I didn't like Thrice, and none of those reasons were because they are popular. And I don't diss bands because they get popular. For example, I like Thursday a lot. They got huge and I still love them. Sorry, your logic doesn't fly.
4) Of course my review is biased. My review is based on my opinion, which I clearly state. I give clear reasons for not liking Thrice (instead of just saying "they suck"). If you can't deal with people stating their opinions, you probably shouldn't read reviews.

Anonymous (November 20, 2002)

Its biased because its "his" review. (please refer to "opinion" in Webster's)


Anonymous (November 20, 2002)

Your review was so personally biased its sick. Way to take a professional oppurtunity to slag a band (thrice) the entire time. You really made your point by not staying to see them having NEVER seen them before. I saw two of the shows on this tour and Thrice was incredible both nights.

You're SOOOOO much cooler than me because you like HWM more.

You scenesters make me sick. Your closemindedness is disgusting. Just because a band has gained somewhat of a following that makes their music bad? That seems to be the point you're making.


Hamish (November 19, 2002)

Nice to know *someone* appreciates!

Anonymous (November 19, 2002)

this review is fucking brilliant. every single thing you said is dead on, but it's more than that. you captured the feeling that us HWM fans get when we see them play. this band is so meaningful, and this is probably the only review of a show on this tour that gets it right. i only wish i was at this show instead, and not san diego. hot water music is just plain amazing. that's all there is to say.

Anonymous (November 19, 2002)

They played "Rooftops" in Toronto...Great Set!

Hamish (November 19, 2002)

I've seen Thrice before and I've heard both their records many times. Unless the songs magically became interesting overnight and their energy level just jumped up 10 notches, I doubt there was any way they could measure up to the euphoric feeling I got from seeing one of my favorite bands turn out an amazing set. Plus I was too exhausted to deal with a sold out crowd of 15 year olds shoving everyone around with the lack of respect for others that those types of crowds always show.

WussEmoRock (November 19, 2002)

good review, but in all seriousness, you said the same thing about coheed as I did in my review, the only difference is you like hot water music. And..this question is for you and Mr. Scott, how in the hell will you know if Thrice or Brand New will not measure up to the previous band if you left? I mean shit, you still have to give them a chance


Anonymous (November 19, 2002)

good call on how great hwm is. while i disagree with you about CoCa, i can understand how you wouldn't like em. a lot of people don't. i think thrice's first album is overrated (didn't every band in SoCal do that in 1994?), but i like the newest one. but hwm blows them both out of the water without question.

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