I would like to begin this review by saying two things: One, that this review is for a show headlined by the Fall of Troy (which, in my opinion, played a musically AMAZING set) but this review will only mention them briefly (I came for Blackout Pact and Protest the Hero) because I know next to nothing about them, and two, that there is one decent small rock club in Covington (The Mad Hatter, which coincidently is where this show took place) which serves as a venue for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area dates.
There were two local openers, the first being Angry Ryan and the Nose-Breakers, a trio that played a very aggressive type of hardcore hybrid á la Dillinger Escape Plan. Since very few people were at the show (the promoters predicted a better draw) to begin with, let alone for the first band on a 5-band bill, Angry Ryan and Co. tried to appeal to the Fall of Troy fans by jamming on some really “out there” numbers that were definitely not their strength. I made a note to myself to see them at a local basement because they seemed out of place at the bar. If anything, this band should revolve more songs around their drummer, as he is probably one of the best drummers in the Cincinnati scene today.
Next was Crybaby, definitely the odd band out on this bill, who played Ted Leo-esque indie-punk with more of a nod back to classic rock and a breakdown or two from Metallica. This band was pretty tight, but they should have definitely played a shorter set. The intensity was apparent in their set, but there was no way in hell that it matched up to that of Protest the Hero.
Now, I am just going to warn you guys, I wrote the review for Kezia, and that CD was in my opinion one of the best releases of 2005. That being said, Protest the Hero set up knowing that there was probably no one in the audience (besides me and my brother) who would know any of their material. Well, I can tell you that the Protest the Hero merch booth was the one most frequented by the concertgoers that night (and not just because there was a free Kezia sampler). They played all the songs off Kezia except for “No Stars Over Bethlehem” and “Plateful of our Dead.” When I heard about Protest’s live show, I heard the words 'intense' and 'fast' repeated frequently, and those rumors are totally true. Rody ran all over the stage, jumping and pumping his fists in true hardcore fashion. These guys were genuinely nice people who talked to us the entire time between them and Blackout Pact. As it turns out, Tim (one of the guitarists) is very big on politics and had a lot to say; go figure.
The Blackout Pact is one of the best new punk bands out there. Some naysayers may have qualms because their full-length is produced by Thursday frontman Geoff Rickley, but once they started, they didn’t let up. They played crowd pleasers “We Drink So You Don’t Have To” and “You Punch Me I Punch You.” Afterwards, I spoke with guitarist Joe, and he enjoyed our company so much that he said that he would put me and my brother’s names on the guest list for their show in Columbus with the Lawrence Arms and Latterman!!! If you don’t have their new record (Hello Sailor), then you should get it; it’s a mix of early Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, and Lawrence Arms.
Next, the Fall of Troy played. One word I have to say is, wow. Their singer / lead guitarist is one of the best guitarists I have seen. The only two songs I knew that they played were “I Just Got This Symphony Goin'” and “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” They also played two new songs, “Sea Atlantis” and “Amanap Lanac Eht Nalp a Nam A” ('A Man, a Plan, the Canal Panama' backwards).
The sound guy at the Mad Hatter is great, and his interest in the bands playing heightened the show for the people who actually showed up. It’s a shame, because Blackout Pact and Protest the Hero stole the show, and barely anyone was there to see it.