The Knitting Factory's Tap Room seems a bit more appealing for a punk show than its main performance space, thanks to its cramped feel and stage that barely rises a foot off the ground, but it also brings a lesser sound quality. It seems the venue was not expecting to have to handle the volume that bands like Paint It Black and the Loved Ones can bring.
Voice In The Wire and the Arsons opened the night. I had only heard a couple MP3s from Voice In The Wire and was not too impressed, but live they had me sold. Their set was full of energy despite the fact that they were only playing to the early arrivals and the patrons glued to bar stools. They were also the first victims to sound problems, thanks to vocals that seemed too low throughout the set. Despite this issue they still rocked on and provided plenty for the few fans up front to tap their feet to.
The Arsons took the stage next. I remembered not being too impressed when I saw them play with the Bouncing Souls a couple years back, and they were still just as unmemorable. They went through a set of old-school sounding pop-punk that recalled bands like All or the Vandals, but never reached that level. The lead guitar parts seemed like out of place noodling, the bass lines revolved around simply playing root notes, and again, the vocals were hard to hear.
After the rearranging of some equipment the Loved Ones took the stage with a six pack of Rhinegold in tow, and preceded to give punk rock a rock and roll make over. From the opening note of "Chicken" the band gave an impassioned performance. Dave Hause seemed to abuse his guitar as he hopped around on stage and his singing was fiery and on target. Sure, there were little mistakes, which Hause was quick to point out and blame on the fact that the band had had a bit too much to drink, but they didn't detract from an amazing set. This intoxicated state also lead Hause to some interesting conclusions such as, "This show started so fucking early cartoons were still on," and "This thing will be over early enough for you guys to catch TGIF. I thought this was the city that never sleeps."
The band ran through all the songs off of their new EP except "Drastic," two songs from their demo, and a new song. It was surprising to see what a following the band has already amassed. At numerous points Dave Hause could stop singing and simply let the crowd take over. The trio themselves seemed surprised as huge smiles came over their faces during the singalongs.
When you see a skinhead in a soccer jersey stretching before a band's set you know shit is about to go down, and sure enough, when Paint It Black took the stage it did. They launched into their first song and floor punching, fist swinging, and vocal screaming quickly ensued. This was my first time seeing the band minus Dave Hause but they were still able to nail all the parts with only one guitar player. As always, singer Dan Yemin was frighteningly intense as more veins than I knew existed popped out in his neck and face.
The band's jokes between songs made for a nice contrast to their pummeling sound. Yemin took shots at the bands playing the bigger stage upstairs (Throwdown, the Chariot, and It Dies Today) saying that, "You don't need that metal shit, this is the real hardcore show." He also mocked the concept of Christian punk and the intoxicated state of friend Dave Hause, who joined the band for the song "Memorial Day." Yemin did get serious for a moment when he brought up the current political state of the country, but His PhD-level vocabulary was apparently too much for one hardcore kid who yelled out, "Too many big words!" Luckily, bassist Andy Nelson was ready to translate as he announced, "Warpath. Fuck Bush."
Paint It Black's set, though packed with cuts from both of their albums, was relatively short because of their brief song lengths and draining performance style. The set included songs such as "Election Day," "Pink Slip," "Exit Wounds," "The New Brutality," and "Atheists In Foxholes" from their new album Paradise and "Cannibal," "Womb Envy," "Atticus Finch," "CVA," and "Void" from CVA.