The original line-up for this show included Every Time I Die and Evergreen Terrace as well, but both bands cancelled due to a double booking. That disappointment aside, the first "...and the still of winter shall remain no more" hardcore festival in Jacksonville went down as probably the most exciting event in recent history in every man's hero Fred Durst's old stomping ground.
The first band to play was ...Of a Divergent Blood out of Daytona. They sounded pretty good... kind of reminsicent of the Kite Flying Society, maybe a little Dillinger Escape Plan. A couple of spoken word interludes, lots of tempo changes... the crowd got moving pretty early on. The band didn't have any recordings yet, but I've heard talk about lots of concert plans for them, so hopefully they'll stick around awhile.
The concert was held at DV8, and for those of you in the jax area, you know the club keeps up a 3 foot barrier in front of their stage. However, since there were so many bands playing, the venue decided to use 2 stages. I talked to the promoter after the show, and originally they had planned to have the second stage in back of the club (outside), but it was too cold, and instead every other band would set up in a sort of mini-stage where bands usually store their equipment. There was no barrier - keep that in mind for later.
The second band to play was Strateio from Tallahassee. They almost sounded more like speed-metal than hardcore to me (not that that's a bad thing), and they put on a pretty solid set. They said they were playing a lot of new material, for all you Strateio fans out there. The club was steadily getting more and more packed, and there was a lot of dancing going on, which is surprising in a city where moshing/beating the hell out of each other is the normal operation of the pit.
Third was Northstar. I'm not normally a huge fan of pop punk, which is what i'd heard this band was, but live, they just sounded like pretty good rock 'n roll to me. I kept expecting the crowd to boo or something, but surprisingly the crowd remained pretty mature and even the hardcore kids were getting into it. I believe this band is going to be on tour with Beautiful Mistake and Glasseater, I'd highly recommend going to see them.
Back on the small stage, Love is Red ripped into their face. They sounded a lot like Bane with heavier straight edge influences. I was really impressed having never heard of them. The first fight of the night broke out in the pit, and security pounced on it, pushing the two troublemakers out the door. The guards continued pushing a couple other people out the door for reasons known only to them. Love is Red stopped their set to tell security the trouble was out the door and to calm down. During the next song, one of the guys from The Promise went on stage and sat down. Two security guards jumped on him and physically threw him off stage, pushing him out the door as the lead singer of Love is Red stopped playing and started yelling that he was with the bands, and pointing out that the chief of security was a "fucking prick" (which is pretty accurate as anyone who's been to DV8 knows). He continued to invite anyone who wanted to head up on stage to come on up, seeing as how there were more kids than guards. They finished up their strong set with a couple more songs before Beautiful Mistake took the main stage.
I'd heard this band compared to Thursday and Thrice, and having heard both of those bands live, I honestly can't say their show compares. To me it just seemed pretty melodramatic and overly polished... their music just seemed to lack any spirit at all. The music sounded technically pretty good, though, so maybe it was just a bad night for'em.
The Promise came on next, and I really don't know why I hadn't heard about these guys before, seeing as how they have members of Another Victim, Earth Crisis, and the almighty One King Down, among others. They played a very energetic show, and took time between songs to talk about their meanings, which was usually somewhere along the lines of being true to yourself or about how too many hardcore bands have lost their message. Pretty good sound... kind of NYHC meets straight edge meets one king down. They invited anyone on stage who wanted to come, saying that "noone on stage is better than anyone in the crowd." nobody heeded the call - and anyone who tried was pretty much stopped by security.
Glasseater played next. This was my third time seeing them, and i guess all i can say is that their not bad. I like that one song "7 years of bad luck" a lot, and the guys are all pretty energetic. They put on a pretty solid live show, but it just never really inspires me to do anything. In other words, if you like the band on their recordings, you'll probably love their live show, but if your not a fan of their brand of pop-punk-with-screaming-core before their show, its not likely that you'll be converted.
Most Precious Blood came next and last. Originally slated to play behind the barrier, the band moved all their stuff to the smaller stage, and quickly began to tear things up. This was my second time seeing them, and like Glasseater, I dont' love their stuff, but they play with heart and energy. About halfway through their set, five or six crowdmembers ejected a violent skinhead from the pit, pushing him out the door while security scratched their collective ass. MPB stopped playing, and clapped their hands above the head, singing "na-na, na-na, nanana, way hey hey, gooodbyyyyyyyyye" along with the crowd. A couple songs later, the lead singer said something to the effect of "I want to see everyone up on stage for this one," and for the first time there was a real attempt by the crowd to join the band on stage. Security reacted by throwing everyone off face first who attempted to step up, and the guy from mpb threw down his mic with a "fuck this club!", jumping down into the crowd and getting in the face of one of the security guards. I don't know what they said, but the exchange ended with security giving the crowd the finger and leaving. So for the last song, the stage became so crowded at points that most precious blood couldn't even play - but you could hear the crowd yelling the words. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
An exciting, exciting night... I just hope this doesn't mean the loss of one of the only venues in Jax willing to host hardcore shows.