The Suicide Machines / Stretch Arm Strong

The Suicide Machines/Stretch Arm Strong: live in New Yorklive in New York (2005)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

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

Due to a weather-delayed train schedule I arrived at the tiny Tribeca Rock Club shortly after Fordirelifesake had ended their set and Whole Wheat Bread began theirs. This was my third time seeing Whole Wheat Bread, and yet again, they were opening up for a ska-punk band (or at least in this case,.

Due to a weather-delayed train schedule I arrived at the tiny Tribeca Rock Club shortly after Fordirelifesake had ended their set and Whole Wheat Bread began theirs.

This was my third time seeing Whole Wheat Bread, and yet again, they were opening up for a ska-punk band (or at least in this case, one oriented enough with the genre). I suppose it's because their general nature is that of "fun" pop-punk with their awfully tired gimmick. They did seem tighter in their playing than usual though, and as they just released an album earlier this year, I doubt they were playing new songs, but a few sounded much more mature for them. It was good to hear the one or two early Bigwig-sounding songs and to hear their skatepunk influences shining brightly on a few numbers. They did definitely flaunt their "Hey, we're black!" thing at several points per the usual. Their busting into a freestyle did actually seem to differ in some material from the last few times I'd seen them. All in all, I wasn't as annoyed as last time, but I suppose that'll happen when a crowd's average age is several years older and you're well away from the pit area as opposed to right at the outskirts. A few people definitely were flailing their arms and excited for them.

Stretch Arm Strong was next, and delivered just what I expected: Half a set of pretty good melodic hardcore and another half of bad, melodic borderline hardcore (see: their new album). I'm not totally familiar with the band's material prior to their new album, Free at Last, but I already like it better than the disc in question. It just seems too conventionally melodic as opposed to cleanly integrated, and the guitarist's near-falsetto backups sound like Brett from the Juliana Theory is guesting on all tracks. Numbers like "The Hardest Part" and "The Sound of Names Dropping" didn't seem to garner the biggest reception for their entire durations. The other material did get a few of their fans to practice some trademark Kung Fu sessions. What I can give Stretch is that they were extremely tight and energetic even if their newer songs weren't faring as well as other songs like powerful closer "For the Record."

Set list (from the paper):

  • Worst Case
  • Faces
  • Outside
  • -----------------
  • The Hardest Part
  • We Bleed
  • Sound of Names
  • Sorrow
  • -----------------
  • Hearts
  • 4 tha [looks like 'Lip']
It was then time for the Suicide Machines. And while I figured a band of their longevity and decent fanbase could draw a venue much bigger than the one they were in that night, I wasn't complaining with a 4-foot-high / 15-feet-or-so-wide stage, no barricade, and an area no bigger than 30 x 50 feet (total guesstimation here). It was an intimate show that thrived off the audience's energy, and here it was tenfold in the Machines' set. After an excruciatingly long setup time, the wait was rewarded with a 20 song set drawing from Destruction by Definition, Battle Hymns, A Match and Some Gasoline, and the newest effort, War Profiteering Is Killing Us All. This means, yes, the band completely left the less-favorable-among-fans self-titled and Steal This Record efforts off the set list, which was marginally disappointing for myself since several of the latter's tracks would work wonderfully in the live setting I'd imagine (an abbreviated "Steal This Record" anyone?). Still, that meant a pure, blistering near-hour of punk rock (with some slowed down ska grooves mixed in). Jay Navarro made sure to give plenty in the audience brief mic time for songs and made quick mention of how he believes the corporations (i.e. Haliburton) are responsible for the ongoing war on Iraq, and made a (at least somewhat joking I'm sure) suggestion to bomb the offices after hours when there are only 2 security guards present. An apparently new bassist was with the band as well, but no mention was made. However, Vinnie Nobile was, of course, announced. The bald fellow, who had played trombone on two of Destruction's tracks, was present at the show and thus took to the stage to play his parts on both those songs, played conveniently back-to-back. New album highlights included "Junk," dedicated to fellow ska-punks the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, and "Capsule," inarguably the heaviest song the band's written to date. Mention was also made of the infamous ice cream truck incident of Warped Tour 2003 prior to the song in which it took place ("DDT"), which the band claimed was the craziest occurrence of their career ("We'll send this [song] out to the kid who was dancing in the pit with the stop sign"). They also made sure to constantly let us know how great a crowd we were as well; fair enough, as sing-alongs and, though I didn't see it I'd certainly expect, circle/mosh pits were abound going on behind myself. Overall, the Machines managed to avoid sporadic sound problems to deliver a powerful, non-stop onslaught and the audience, including my nostalgic self, ate it up. Great band and great set, and one I'm intensely glad I was able to see in such a small setting before they call it quits.

Set list (from the paper):
  • Islands
  • Someone
  • S.O.S
  • ------------------
  • Capitalist
  • Too Much
  • Did You Ever
  • ------------------
  • Hey
  • Vans
  • War Profit
  • ------------------
  • High Anxi
  • Step 1
  • BTG
  • ------------------
  • Junk
  • Capsule
  • Burning
  • ------------------
  • 17%
  • No Face
  • Your Silence
Encore (not originally planned / not on paper):
  • DDT
  • New Girl


People who liked this also liked:
The Ataris - So Long, AstoriaBigwig - Unmerry MelodiesFairweather - LusitaniaBandits of the Acoustic Revolution - A Call to Arms5¢ Deposit - We Have Your Daughter!Scraps and Heart Attacks - Still SickNo Trigger - The World Is Not A StageCapdown - Pound for the SoundVarious - This is Solid State Volume 4No Motiv - Daylight Breaking

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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 (November 18, 2005)

I saw this show last week in DC.
S.M. were awesome.
I witnessed my 1st W.W. Bread show and honestly, i thought they were really good. i liked the "We're Black...." talking and stuff. My only complaint was that the 1st half of their songs were much better than the 2nd half. Towards the end, it just started to lose vibe.

I'll pick up their cd shortly.

sickboi (November 14, 2005)

I saw this Saturday (review, pic's, video and interview to come) and I have to disagree on the WWB thing. During the set, they did not ONCE make any mention of being black or whatever. The closest thing they did was a chant of "When we say 'WHOLE WHEAT', ya'll say 'BREAD", and the audience would respond.

They talked about smoking weed. I smoked with them. A good time was had by all.

Anonymous (November 13, 2005)

One rushed sentence does not equal a dumbass, but keep talking and you will achieve that status.

Anonymous (November 12, 2005)

one good album does not a good band make.

greenerton (November 11, 2005)

Well, this show started a half hour early, with fordirelifesake starting their set at 6:30pm when the tickets said 7pm, so yeah...

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

Okay, wait a minute. How in the fuck does everyone seem to miss the first few bands when they review a show? I show up to every show at least an hour late and still seem to get roped into to helping bands carry their gear in to the basement. I've never EVER seen a punk show start on time. You gotta show up at like 9pm when the doors open at 6pm in order to actually miss a band! Holy fucking shit! And don't tell me that shows in NY start on time, either...I won't believe that for a second.


greenerton (November 11, 2005)

"I didn't think it could get worse than Steal This Record, then Jay did the trendy thing and tossed in a heavy political message (bomb bush lollerscoops)."

Are you kidding me? They've always had a heavy political message, especially since Battle Hymns.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

Awesome show. I actually think Steal this Record is an awesome album (maybe their best). I am glad I saw them while they were touring for that record. They played a lot of songs off of it then.

poopypants (November 11, 2005)

awesome TSM setlist. i didnt' think they played 'vans song' anymore...

nice balance...but 'steal this record' wasnt nearly as bad as the band thinks it is. jay told me he thinks 'all my people' and 'honor amongst theives' are the only good songs on it or something. glad i saw them on the 'steal this record' tour, they played a lot of songs off it, including 'steal this record' which is a great song.


cant wait to see them in december!

skolarx (November 11, 2005)

blueprint 76 is alright for what it is, i think there is stuff on the myspace page to listen to. i haven't really paid much attention to the suicide machines albums really since not caring for battle hymns but their live shows are always fun. we just confirmed 2 shows after x-mas which are always some of the best shows of the year in detroit

greenerton (November 11, 2005)

No, I was the guy next to her. Black hair and glasses, leather jacket, red 7 Seconds shirt.

inagreendase (November 11, 2005)

4 tha lp maybe ?

Ah, that would make perfect sense.

inagreendase (November 11, 2005)

I was in the middle of the front against the stage

Girl in the white Black Flag shirt?

skaboom (November 11, 2005)

I'm seeing this tomorrow, hoorah!

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

4 tha lp maybe ?

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

SAS has been a consistantly good live band for about the past 8 or so years.

suicide machines are great as always, and the new album rules. just wish the two opening bands were as good

iheartadam (November 11, 2005)

Score is from Jack Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines through Destruction by Definition.

I didn't think it could get worse than Steal This Record, then Jay did the trendy thing and tossed in a heavy political message (bomb bush lollerscoops). Still, as said earlier, nothing will ever dampen how great they were when they got going.

Side note: Has anyone caught any of Royce's band? I looked for something to hear and this is as far as I went:


greenerton (November 11, 2005)

Awwww, I submitted a review for this too.

Fucking incredible show, I was in the middle of the front against the stage, I wished the Suicide Machines' set never ended. Soooooooooooooo good.

etwiels88 (November 11, 2005)

I'm sure SAS's closer was "For The Record".

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