Macrock 2005

Macrock 2005: live in Harrisonburglive in Harrisonburg (2005)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

Before I begin the review, I'll say this: I might not have, and probably didn't, see your favorite band. Macrock, to me, leads itself to a multitude of very important aspects of the punk community - only one of which is the music. The panels, the label expo, the community as a whole - these were all.

Before I begin the review, I'll say this: I might not have, and probably didn't, see your favorite band. Macrock, to me, leads itself to a multitude of very important aspects of the punk community - only one of which is the music. The panels, the label expo, the community as a whole - these were all very important parts of the event (if not even more important than the bands.)

So yes, I chose to see the keynote address instead of Paint It Black or watching The Corporation. I'm sorry. I like Paint It Black too, but listening to Amanda MacKaye say "Fuck the internet" and have an ensemble discussion of how online communities such as this very one here could shape the future of the 'scene' was more important than a half hour set to me.

That being said, it certainly wasn't Macrock of 2004. There were no huge bands - the headliners were (I guess) Appleseed Cast (whom I missed) and An Albatross (who were fucking amazing). But still, I took the nine-hour trek from Savannah, GA, up to Virginia (and now have a fucking court date for reckless driving because of it) to see what the conference had to offer.

On Friday, I was really stoked for The Snake, The Cross, The Crown, but they unfortunately had dropped off the bill due to a death in the family. Rapider Than Horsepower was much different than I remember - I seem to remember them having a vocalist, and not being an instrumentally technical ravage of sound. However, what they played was incredibly well played, it just seemed more like incessant noise. (As a side note, the schedule was way off; things were getting cancelled and changed last minute, so some of my recounts of bands may be off if this was my first time seeing them.)

Pattern Is Movement, well, I don't really remember what they sound like as I sit and write this review, which probably isn't a good sign for them. However, prior to them I caught the end of vocalist Paul Michel's set, which seemed to be quite inspired and well put together, if not slightly generic, acoustic folk-rock.

I'd always heard good things about Codeseven, but I was incredibly unimpressed by them. Their music sounded like their promotional posters for how their new album looked - spacey, uninspired, easy, and not very thought out. After two songs I was ready to leave, wondering why I had ever been recommended this band. However, they then played a totally out of the blue epic song the lead singer described (if I heard him properly) as, a "tribute to Satan." This song made me realize that I'd been recommended Codeseven probably prior to their new Equal Vision debut.

In the end, Friday was somewhat disappointing without The Snake, The Cross, The Crown appearing. (As a promotional sidenote, we saw "Sin City" instead of hanging out for the later bands, who I can't imagine would have measured up to that film.)

Saturday rolled around with much to do: lots of panels, amazing bands, the label expo, and some hard scheduling decisions to make. Since I work at the student radio station and newspaper, as well as want to start my own publishing company, I was very interested in what the panels had to offer, so I sacrificed seeing a lot of the bands that were playing in order to listen to these one-time panels. I won't bore you with the details, but a few interesting notes (if you're only interested in the music, skip the next couple paragraphs):

  1. During a panel about the evils of the Clear Channel Entertainment empire, two well dressed mid-20's guys spoke up about how they worked for the radio division, and spent most of the panel either defending the corporation or trying to relate to the panelists on an "We're just capitalists" kind of way. The reason this struck me as so odd as the same thing happened last year at a different panel on a similar subject - just another evil of this whore of a corporation.
  2. The keynote address (for which I missed Paint It Black) was amazing, and a big part of it was about adapting the internet into the punk community. I asked a question about if the anyonymity and disassociation the internet provides is doing more harm than good to the scene, to which the response was that people seem to be forgetting where punk came from, the community it's rooted in, and are using the anonymity to say such awful things that they would never say in person...while PunkNews didn't come up, it was this site I was thinking of (moreso than other 'punk' sites that more closely resemble Clear Channel with whorish advertising tactics). Anyway, not to tangent too much on it, there was a great diversity of opinions that mainly pointed at the fact that the internet is such an extraordinariy opportunity for DIY promoters, bands, and even just punks alike to join together and oppose forces like Clear Channel, but instead use websites like MySpace (which is owned partially by Sony).
Okay, end rant, back to the music. After the keynote address, I tried to go see Fin Fang Foom but apparantly they too dropped off the bill...I'd seen them open for Cursive before and they were fabulous. After that slight disappointment, the crowd was full for mewithoutYou, whose new songs live sound much better than they do on CD. I'm a fan of A-->B Life, but the new disc doesn't impress me much...however, the live show was entertaining, even though the prancing movement of the lead singer didn't fit the aesthetic of the sound too well.

Heading over to Captain Tee's for the rest of the night was amazing. This place was one building and had all of the following inside: stage, party / band rooms, McDonalds-esque playplace, slot machines, skeeball, salad bar, giant robot, full arcade, mini-golf, air hockey, and a hot dog / pizza / greaseburger stand. It was such a fucked up yet totally amazing place to have a show. Upon arriving we caught the end of Gospel, which sounded just like really good, slower hardcore. Highly recommended. Ghengis Tron came on with a three-piece mix of techno and hip-hop beats with a drum machine, an insanely good metal guitarist, and some screamo mixed in to boot. While the mix was eclectic, diverse, and pushing the limits of music, some of it didn't fit well together (as with most experimental acts). However, these kids seemed young and I bet with a little bit of work on how melody and harmony can work together, as well as a lesson in breakdowns, they'd do something extraordinary. Definite points for amazing guitar work.

Chromolodeon. Wow. Just...it's hard to take these kids seriously, but at the same time, it's hard not to. Six kids, obviously influenced by many, many hours in front of a Nintendo, played instrumental rock fused with the Japanese video game theme song sound that was just so outlandish, yet so well-executed, it has to be heard to be apprecaited. It's really hard to write a review of this band in particular because they had such an odd approach to music - instrumental rock/metal/hardcore approach to the days of Konami and the Sega Genesis. With a very well-mixed live show consisting of two keyboardists, two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer, the band would be playing loops of old 8 and 16 bit video games projected behind them while rocking. It truly was amazing, and I hope these guys get some good recognition.

Racebannon I did not care for. The vocals were inaudible, and while some songs were well-constructed musically, they all began to bleed together in a drone of "metal for metal's sake" and not "metal for music's sake." If that sounds pretentious, it kind of is, but I don't like sitting through acts that seem to not be at least putting any effort in to doing something new or different with their sound.

Due to being super behind schedule, USA Is A Monster began playing right as Racebannon ended, except at the back of the room. This allowed for Racebannon to break down and Circle Takes The Square to set up during the 20-minute set. I didn't pay attention much to USAIAM due to the fact I wanted to hold my place up front for Circle, but from what I heard they weren't the type of band I'd be interested in. More eclectic and spastic heavy rock that I really don't feel like I should review to a large extent since I wasn't paying direct attention.

Circle Takes The Square seems to be the 'it' band these days. Every time I've seen them, from basements and house shows here in Savannah to Macrock last year...these three (now four) have totally torn shit up. This show was no different. The band stormed through a good majority of their new disc, excluding only the 10-minute epic "Kill The Switch" (which, despite many requests, was never played). The crowd not only got involved (something that hadn't happened at any band yet throughout the two days), but they were furious. Stage diving, crowd surfing, taking elements of that playplace-like construction and throwing them around. The energy was incredible, and, as always, Circle stole the show.

Nevertheless, An Albatross rounded out the night with a fantastic display of spastic, energetic, loving, community-building, yet half-naked rock that exemplified what just good fun times should be. While I still do not consider myself of the Lazer Viking clan, I stood in awe and watched the frenetic display of complete adoration between fan and musician. Even though the band talked about it, you could tell that they were totally focused on having an amazing time and just being with friends, and having a fucking positive experience. It was an incredible ending to a great night at the conference.

So, Macrock came and went and I now have to return to Virginia in June for my court date. I guess there was a huge problem with the school (James Madison University) not giving any funding to the program, and I'd like to take this time to say that this sort of thing is imperative to the future of the indepenent music scene. While it's always fun to see a bunch of bands, the speakers and labels that round out the conference experience are just as necessary. I really hope Macrock continues in the future, because this year it almost didn't happen.

Oh, and if you were there, I was the tall skinny asshole in the pink / reddish hair. Say hi.


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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.
tylerdurden8136 (March 31, 2006)

go kill yourself, colin.

Conduit (April 13, 2005)

Great review. However, I figured I would let you know that the Codeseven song your talking about is actually from their Equal Vision debut. It's called The Devil's Intreval (sp?)

bannedinct (April 12, 2005)

this score is for CTTS, an albatross, racebannon, Sin City and Myspace.

Anonymous (April 11, 2005)

vvvv that guy knows what he's talking about

Anonymous (April 11, 2005)

i think "metal" is one of the last things i would ever tack on racebannon. more like captain beefheart turned up to 11.

Anonymous (April 10, 2005)

you spent almost all of saturday at the screamo show, which would lead one to believe you're into that sort of thing. yet you didn't mention once that HOOVER played this fest.

kids today....*sigh*

Anonymous (April 10, 2005)

if you think racebannon is "metal for metal's sake" you obviously don't know a thing about them and/or weren't paying attention while they played.

but you liked an albatross, so its safe to say your taste is already beyond fucked

Anonymous (April 10, 2005)

Alternative Press treat their staff with dignity.


ubershep (April 10, 2005)

"Scott works for Alternative Press. Not Absolute Punk."

What's the difference?

fritobandito (April 10, 2005)

Where can I find Circle Takes the Square in stores? No place I know carries them.

huh? even Tower Records has CTTS albums...

just order it from Robotic Empire or something. Mailorder's fun.

jamespastepunk (April 10, 2005)

I don't know where the Hot Topic is in Chicago, nor do I care. But if I can find CTtS at Hot Topic, I'll venture into the proverbial Mordor.

pierrebouvier (April 9, 2005)

damn i wish the appleseed cast would come to montreal

Jesse (April 9, 2005)

To the one person -

Scott works for Alternative Press. Not Absolute Punk.

lou (April 9, 2005)

Where can I find Circle Takes the Square in stores? No place I know carries them.

in all seriousness, did you try hot topic?

Anonymous (April 9, 2005)

ah, i know, she hates scott

colin (April 8, 2005)

the comments from her as well as the rest of the panel were basically that the scene always revolved around a web, a community, a communication network of phone calls and letters, friends and basement shows, and now that this technology allows that to expand to no extent, it seems as though it's being used for the wrong reasons... people flooding inboxes with "join my myspace group!" stuff, etc., and not making real friends. just fake internet acquaintances in order to book a show or make money.

sickboi (April 8, 2005)

She said its all my fault.

Kenjamin (April 8, 2005)

The new Gospel record is fucking ridiculous. Oh may 24th can't come soon enough.

Anonymous (April 8, 2005)

what did she say about the internet screwing the scene up?

colin (April 8, 2005)

macrock is struggling and without support it's going to get cancelled. so yeah, i went even if it wasnt the greatest just to support it and hope that they'll be able to keep it going.

mjg (April 8, 2005)

i wasn't even willing to drive the two minutes from my apt to see it.

Anonymous (April 8, 2005)

You drove from Georiga to see this? This is probably the worst macrock yet. I wasn't even willing to drive the 2 hours from my house to see this.

jamespastepunk (April 8, 2005)

Where can I find Circle Takes the Square in stores? No place I know carries them.

Benjasaurus (April 8, 2005)

Circle Takes the Square are the shit. I looove them. Cathy is gorgeous.

dazed (April 8, 2005)

Wasn't Kylesa there? I would have seen them, but yeah this kind of event sounds like it could be fun.

ubershep (April 8, 2005)

I envy you and your panel viewing.

joeg (April 8, 2005)

i saw paint it black in dc the other night. you probably didn't have to see them to know mother fuckers tore the place apart and are the kings of hardcore punk.

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