We drove 200 miles through the cold mountains and woods of Pennsylvania to go to this show. Sure, we were visiting friends and hanging out at State College, but what it all boils down to is that we drove from Philadelphia to University Park to see a concert.
We entered the Crowbar (which, by the way, is the coolest name for a bar) a little after 9 o'clock, headed up a stairwell to be greeted by the punk rock stylings of The Bronx. There seems to be a lot of buzz about these guys nowadays, and I think I know why now - the energy. It seems as if punk has started getting a little lazier these days, opting for more serious ballads and guitar trickery. The Bronx are trying to bring back the non-stop, kick in the face, rock out speed that has characterized the genre to begin with. It seemed that the crowd was unresponsive in the beginning of their set, garnering only a couple bobbing heads. I looked around and some kids seemed anxious to start rocking out, but were hesitant. The lead singer came over and stood on a barrier separating the stage and the crowd and said, "I think I know what's gettin' you all down - this barrier." And with those words, he hopped into the audience and they continued their set. Right away, a pit exploded inwards. The singer lost his microphone in the pit and it took him a little bit to get it back. I was only familiar with one Bronx song, "Heart Attack American", which they closed their set with. The audience seemed to really get into it and the vocalist removed his shirt somewhere in there.
Later, Nora came onstage and right off the bat they seemed like really cool guys. The lead singer looked out at the crowd, packed in like sardines, and said "Listen guys, I know this is a small palce, so be nice to each other. While you're in the pit watch out for one another. Other than that, have fun." Nora was pretty good, I'm just not too into them. The vocalist did a great job of getting people pumped and going nuts. He seemed like a real cool guy; you know one of those cool guys that probably isn't actually saying words half the time he has the mic, and likes to slam the mic against his chest and face. The only thing that seemed a little off about Nora was that their guitarist and bassist seemed to be playing something different than the drummer half the time. But it was loud and crazy enough for me to forgive it. Cool guys, decent music.
Soon after Nora left, the Monday Night Football theme would come blaring over the PA. Every Time I Die came sprinting onto the stage like a fucking team and a half, all clad in white t-shirts and khakis. As soon as the football song ended, they exploded into "Off Broadway". The crowd went insane, absolutely insane. The between song banter was hilarious and they all seemed really cool. Some kid started crowd surfing right when "Off Broadway" ended, and he was kinda just stuck there between songs. The vocalist was surprised, commenting, "Whoa! All I have to do is talk and you start crowd surfing. It's like moshing to feedback." Every Time I Die was awesome. They definetly stole the show and got the audience the most into the music they would be all night. They played a pretty even mix of songs off their two full lengths (although I was disappointed that they didn't play "The Logic of Crocodiles"). They closed the set with a wild rendition of "Ebolarama".
The final band of the night was Poison The Well, and lemme tell ya, they sounded like shit. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Poison The Well, none of their releases or previous live shows have disappointed me. The poor quality of their set didn't seem to be their fault either, their sound was just incredibly screwed up. The bass was turned up entirely too high, and I swear I couldn't even hear one of the guitarists. The vocals were off, but I couldn't exactly pinpoint what it was about them. They seemed to semi-sort out the problem towards the end, but the sound was still bad. The thing I like about Poison The Well's live shows is that they evenly divide all the material they play amongst their three full lengths. For the second time since I last saw them, they closed with "Nerdy", an eternal crowd favorite.
If you get a chance, I highly reccomend seeing this show, especially for Every Time I Die.