Considering I got the tickets for this show on January 30th, I have had a long time to stir over this. I had been to a few shows between the time I got the tickets and April 11th. Knowing what lied ahead, I don't think I was able to totally enjoy them. Also, please don't expect me to remember what anyone opened with or closed with, I was too busy getting kicked and punched in the face all night to remember. Anyway, here we go. . . . . . .
Let me set the atmosphere real quick. The line to get through the door was huge. Everyone outside seemed to be in a great mood knowing that in just a little while, a lot of fun was to be had. Lots of talking and introductions of friends of friends of friends. . . . . .with the doors to the Church open, you could hear Kid Dynamite sound checking. At that moment, everyone shut up and just grinned while bobbing their heads and mouthing the words. As soon as the music stopped, the people flooded in. The show was scheduled to kick off at 7:30. They did a damn fine job getting everyone in and starting the show within 30 minuets of determined time. With that, The Curse took the stage.
The Curse - They have been broken up since January, with that in mind, the mood on stage was considerably light and fun. This was to be their second to last show (the last being the following night) and they held nothing back. They only have ten or so songs in their catalog amounting to about 20 minuets of music, and they plowed through them in no time. Being they are a Philly based band, and an amazing live act, the kids ate it up. It was the most action I had seen for an opening act in a long time. "Lifeboat" and "Skipping Lunch, Leaving Early" were the stand outs in an awesome set. This was the second time I got too see them and it's a damn shame they aren't a band anymore, their science was tight. If you don't have the self titled EP, you're missing out.
Strike Anywhere - Now, I needed this badly. I had tickets to see them about a month ago in the same place and I couldn't make it. Work. It only took the Richmond boys about 15 minutes to tear down and set up. They quickly took the stage and did some sound checking and rushed into what was about a 30 min set. The kids were less into it then I had expected. It may have been due to the fact they just played there a little less then a month ago, or maybe everyone was saving their energy for Kid Dynamite. I don't know. Regardless, I was hoping for some new material and was let down. I wanted to hear something fresh. Being they are one of my favorite bands, I was itching for a sample. Oh well. Never the less, they did not disappoint. "Notes On Pulling Down the Sky" and "Sunset on 32nd" were included, which are two of my favorites, but the highlight of the set was without a doubt, a Dag Nasty cover. They roared through "Values Here", the opening track on Can I Say. The place exploded. I remember it was towards the end of the set and it down hill from there. There wasn't a lot of talk between songs, Thomas stopped a few times to speak about the war, but kept it too a minimum knowing this show was for a different cause. At any other show during any other weekend, this would have been a stand out. But this wasn't any other show.
Mark Beemer - Before Kid Dynamite played a single note, Mark Beemer, the founder of SSE (Syrentha J. Savio Endowment) stepped on the stage and had a few things to say. His first words were, "Hi, I'm Mark Beemer and I'm the reason you are all here tonight". With that someone yelled out, "Thank You!" and the place erupted into applause and cheers. It felt very real and was very touching. He continued for what seemed like a very short time, maybe three minuets, but his words were potent enough that they stuck with you. He spoke of the untimely passing of his 32 year-old wife and informed all the women there that one in eight of them would be diagnosed with breast cancer. He urged all the females at the show to pick up literature and get mammograms done annually. It was a very sobering moment, and a stern reminder of the reason we were all there that night. At that point, there was no doubt that the entire night and weekend belonged to Mr. Beemer. Thank you Mark.
Kid Dynamite - To quote the ever wise Gorilla Monsoon of the old WWF days, "You could cut the tension with a knife." Everyone was stirring around waiting for them to start. Technically, this wasn't the first of the shows. They played a living room a few nights before, but this was the first time they stepped on a stage as band in three years. The equipment was loaded the night before so the set up was fast, very fast. As Mark exited, I felt the push from behind shoving me forward until my knees were pressed again the stage. As I said earlier, I don't remember exactly what the opening song was (see Sickboi's review, it was the same list as Sunday, with one MAJOR exception) but when the opening chord was struck, I thought the roof was gonna come off of the place. Bodies literally flew in all directions. The band roared through about five songs before stopping to take a breath. Jay was handing out water to myself and all the other kids up front, and making sure no one was passing out (Yes, it was that hot) under the weight of everyone pushing up on us. He stopped to thank everyone who made the show possible, and it was a long list. Dave Wagonshultz was hitting the skins with more ferocity then I have EVER seen in a drummer. I'm convinced that man ate raw meat and gun powder for breakfast that morning. Watching him play that fast was incredible. Dan and Spider were less notable but intense none the less. Dr. Dan had his shoes off like the good ol' days. They continued on with about 25 more songs. They hit every single song that I and most others wanted to hear. "Bookworm", "Heart A Tact", "Shiner", "Cheap Shot Youth Anthem". . . . . .the only thing they didn't play that I really wanted to hear was "S.O.S". They messed up a few times, but I don't think too many people even noticed. For a band that hasn't played together in three years, they were as tight a your little sister. There was no fake ass encore or playing the audience, they stayed on stage and rocked harder then I think anyone remember they could. After about 50 minuets they wrapped up and called it a night.
All in all, the night was a total success. No fights and no tuff guys. Just dancing, diving and even the occasional hug. I saw many women walk out with literature on breast cancer, and all the proceeds of t-shirts, books, and poster went to the endowment. Over $20,000 was raised in three days in a church basement for such a noble cause. I was proud to be a part of it. Two days later I would be at the Sunday show with my new friend Sickboi, and that was even more fun. I've been to going to shows for ten years and have seen hundreds of bands, and I can say without a doubt this was the greatest weekend of live music I have ever experienced. I wish you all could have been there.