I was pretty stoked on finally getting to see my friend's band play, especially at the idea the band claimed to have transformed from solid albeit derivative posicore into a more dissonant, faster Suicide File / Modern Life Is War style. But for hilarious reasons that I can't digress here as the wrong party may come across it, they did not play.
Fortunately, there was still a number of solid bands set to rip through their respective sets.
The four-piece Disnihil opened things up playing crusty, pissed off wall-of-sound political hardcore in the vein of the headliners. They were loud, tight, and angry, laying down a short number of songs that set the mood for the night in the best way possible...definitely convinced me to pick up their 4-song demo, self-released last year.
Mikoto was next, a band who's always sounded a bit too much like Alexisonfire with breakdowns for my liking. I was happy to see that they were a solid live act though, staying energetic and generally engaging throughout the set. The singer used the space on the floor to his advantage, moving from side to side and often screaming into blank areas. During one particular song, the bass cut out and some stagehands scrambled to fix it while the band continued through the song -- and they still sounded quite fine. The band knows how to lay down some creative guitar work, especially in this song ringing it out and filling up the soundscape, which made the bass-less offering sound simply all right. Some entertaining banter went on as the bass problem was fixed, with the singer complimenting some of the crowd's "select tastes," giving an award for best shirt to a lad wearing a Limp Wrist tee. But overall, I just think it takes a lot to bring something fresh to the sing-scream table these days, and Mikoto seem to bring a few too many leftover dishes. Still, the guitarist promised me the full-length would be much different and more out there, perhaps drawing heavier from the angular guitars of Midwest emo, so we'll see what comes next for the up-and-comers.
The main attraction then took to the slightly elevated stage: Hot Cross. The band seemed a bit sloppier than usual, but it did help out bring their uniquely raw qualities. Billy seemed a bit tired, but everyone else was moving about, especially the bassist, who I'm fairly sure was experiencing the same problems, as he tended to meander about, sometimes walking into the bar area, and quite especially the guitarist, who's always a consistently entertaining live performer. The band also tends to play weird, disjointed set lists save for sensible opening/closing selections, with this set being no different. "Fortune Teller" was a welcomed opener, but during the interlude with the sinister-sounding, rythymically spoken word part, the vocals weren't bothered with, which made the song a bit weird. I've noticed the band really does not bother with many of the backup vocal parts from the record, and it's always a bit of a bothersome. I was glad to hear the live rendition of "Tacoma" now that I'm familiar with it; it's not an incredible song, but it exhibits a range you can't find in many of their other songs. "Better a Corpse Than a Nun" and its thoroughly great opening lead made for good times, as well. The new song played was similar to aspects of "Tacoma," as the band references their more raw, spasmodic sensibilities but with the talent and growth of their current makeup. "Rejoinder" also found its way into the six-song or so set list. Unfortunately, the band announced that they would head into the studio in June to record their next full-length with an October release planned, which is well beyond what was expected late last year; if the splendid, now 2-year-old Fair Trades EP is any indication however, it should be worth the wait.
Cursed is a band who I had not heard a single song from but had heard so much about that I felt like I knew exactly what to expect. And that was accurate -- manically intense, pulverizing crust-brushed hardcore. The singer moved about in unpredictable paces, usually splitting the crowd Moses-like. As their first few songs passed I was definitely into it, and it was good to see the crowd really react for the second song of the set that was played. I was leaning a bit towards picking up Two until the momentum-killer that occured towards the end; I was near completely phasing out during a six-minute or so slower cut with little rising and falling action to retain my interest. The singer ended up laying in the middle of the crowd with his back to the floor as he clenched his eyes shut and forcefully screamed into the mic, which made for an interesting conclusion, but I was just not having anything of what shortly preceded it. A better, faster and more succinct song closed it up, but that one passage had really interupted the solid flow the band had previously managed to establish. A fairly good set overall though, closing up a show that contributes to the proof that hardcore is not always an easily classifiable, straightforward genre.