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Hot Cross / Transistor Transistor

Hot Cross / Transistor Transistor: live in New Yorklive in New York (2005)
Level Plane Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


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

Sometimes concerts in New York become difficult to distinguish from fashion shows, as pretentious scenesters flaunt their vintage tops and designer jeans and the bands merely act as background music. Luckily, places like ABC No Rio still exist. For years, ABC has acted as a community space for punk .


Sometimes concerts in New York become difficult to distinguish from fashion shows, as pretentious scenesters flaunt their vintage tops and designer jeans and the bands merely act as background music. Luckily, places like ABC No Rio still exist. For years, ABC has acted as a community space for punk culture with shows, poetry readings, meetings, a community dark room, and even a computer room. At ABC, egos are left at the door as kids cram into a small room with a crumbling ceiling and no stage to get down to bands that play music simply because they love it.

Gospel and Anodyne were the first two bands to play at the all-Level Plane show. Despite some problems with sound (most recognizable in the buried vocals) Gospel played long and elegant hardcore anthems that started slow and psychedelic, before building into screamy fits. Some songs incorporated keys for an added atmosphere, but it was the technical and creative drumming that really made them stand out. Anodyne, who also suffered from sound problems, came off as being pretty indistinguishable from most hardcore acts. Their blast beats and melody-lacking vocal lines quickly grew boring.

Next up was Transistor Transistor. I didn't recognize most of what Transistor Transistor played because I only own their split with Wolves and most of their set consisted of songs from their upcoming album, but their material sounded great. Transistor Transistor broke up the typical hardcore formula by throwing some rock sounds into their tone, which had some interesting results. The guitars had a lighter yet grittier distortion that allows you to really distinguish the guitar parts instead of a mass of thick, muffled noise that other hardcore bands employ. The band also seemed to focus more on melody and hooks, not so much in a pop sense, but just enough to make songs distinguishable and interesting. Their set also had a better sound quality vocally than the first two bands (maybe simply because of less screaming) and that helped the band put on a better performance.

ABC No Rio was still a bit cold (thanks to freezing temperatures outside and a lack of heating inside) when Hot Cross set up, but it didn't take too long for things to warm up. There was hardly any space left to move in the small room when vocalist Billy Werner started his bouncy swagger back and forth in front of the crowd and the band launched into "Fortune Teller." The band was able to nail every dueling lead and dynamic tempo shift, while still going through their spastic motions. Towards the end of the song the power to the vocals, one guitar, and the bass went out, but Werner still screamed his lungs out with the crowd as the lone guitar and drums finished up the song.

After fixing the equipment problem, the band went on to play "Prepare/Repair," "Throw Collars to the Wind," "Better A Corpse Than A Nun," and "Consonants" from their Fair Trades and Farewells EP, "Lend Me Your Brain I'm Building an Idiot" from A New Set of Lungs, "The Eye Is A Tricky Machine" from their split with Light The Fuse And Run, and a new song called "The Coma." While the band sounded great and put on an awesome performance, the set was strangely short and seemed to consist of a bit too much newer material. I would have loved to hear more than one song each from Cryonics and A New Set of Lungs, but I can't complain about their performance. It is always a treat to see a band like Hot Cross pull off their harmonizing guitars and sudden stops while making it look easier than riding a bike with training wheels. The crowd also made the show worthwhile by dancing, throwing fists in the air, and screaming along with Werner as he pushed the mic in front of their faces.

 

 
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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 (February 28, 2005)

fugazi. q and not u. black eyes. medications. capital city dusters. lungfish. el guapo. jawbox. blue tip. minor FUCKING threat.

i think the facts are clear. dischord is not an emocore label.

Anonymous (February 28, 2005)

i received the new transistor/transitor record in the mail today. and it rips. go to level plane online and buy it fuckers.

-TOBB

Archangel (February 27, 2005)

"Better A Corpse Than A Nun is by far and away the best song off the newest EP, which is saying something, because that entire EP absolutely ripped."

No way, man, it's Prepare/Repair.

Anchors (February 25, 2005)

Better A Corpse Than A Nun is by far and away the best song off the newest EP, which is saying something, because that entire EP absolutely ripped.

In any event, Hot Cross is the best live band I've ever seen, and I've heard great things about Transistor live too. Sucks it's not coming near me.

bizzlebrizzle (February 24, 2005)

I'm also glad that dumbass didn't even bother to try to argue with me about Gravity.

bizzlebrizzle (February 24, 2005)

dischord isnt an emocore record label. that is the moron comment of 05' so far. might be tough to top that one.
-TOBB

Cockgobbler, Dischord wrote the fucking book on emocore.

Rites Of Spring
Embrace
Fugazi
Dag Nasty
Jawbox
Nation Of Ulysess

Anonymous (February 24, 2005)

Hot Cross AND Transistor Transistor... wow.

THAT would have been an awesome show. Hurrah for the small supportive clubs free from scene prejudices... they're aren't many left.

Archangel (February 24, 2005)

"dischord isnt an emocore record label. that is the moron comment of 05' so far. might be tough to top that one.
-TOBB"

Maybe I've been reading too much fourfa, but could you tell us what IS emocore?

Anonymous (February 24, 2005)

dischord isnt an emocore record label. that is the moron comment of 05' so far. might be tough to top that one.
-TOBB

bogey4 (February 23, 2005)

I know I'm late to knowing these bands, but for the first half of this article I thought they were talking about Controller Controller and I was mighty confused by the reviewer calling them "hardcore"

musical-monkey (February 22, 2005)

great review, i was at this show too, right up in front. i definitely agree anodyne got kind of boring after a while. transistor was great and so was hot cross. i wonder why Hot Cross's set was so short though, that was kind of weird. ABC No Rio is a very cool venue though except for the plaster that kept falling on my head during the show, haha.

Anonymous (February 22, 2005)

People need to stop calling songs "anthems". Most hardcore songs aren't anthems I assure you, and Gospel does not play anthems. Score is for the singer for Transistor Transistor because he thinks Slayer is more important than the Beatles. Can't say I agree, but damn it takes balls to make that comment.

ZDP (February 22, 2005)

well written review, I enjoyed reading it.

I honestly like everything Hot Cross has put out, from the grittier sounding stuff on "A New Set Of Lungs" to the cleaner, more intricate stuff on "Fair Trades.."

kenjamin (February 22, 2005)

Good show but Hot Cross are kinda sloppy live. It's okay though, I hear they rarely practice. Transistor Transistor are tight live though. Just curious, do they have a new bass player. I was waaaay in the back and couldn't see a damn thing.

Archangel (February 22, 2005)

Good review. Hot Cross is just too fucking good.

SilentStorms (February 22, 2005)

Great review. Everyone knows Hot Cross owns, but Transistor Transistor can hold their own too (except for the first album). Can't wait to get that new double clear LP! Oh boy.

Anonymous (February 22, 2005)

who started the throwing fists/windmill dancing?? that is one of the funniest and most tragic things i have ever seen. i don't know whether to laugh or cry.

bizzlebrizzle (February 22, 2005)

level plane does emocore better than anyone else

Gravity and Dischord got them beat.

Anonymous (February 22, 2005)

level plane does emocore better than anyone else

inagreendase (February 22, 2005)

Great review.

I've come to realize I like their latest EP the best. They did the screamo thing well but they do the more melodic post-hardcore/rock stuff even better.

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