Have you ever been to a show and said "damn, those people who didn't come to this one sure missed a great fucking show?" Well, this one takes the cake: New Mexican Disaster Squad, Lords, and one amazing and one semi-crappy opening local band: Forest Fire and Jasper, respectively.
The show was at the Mad Hatter on a Tuesday night, so when I showed up and barely anyone was there I was a tad disappointed, but not in the least bit surprised. My friend Erik and his band Forest Fire arrived with a woman named Pat Rice. To people in the Greater Cincinnati area she is known as the Punk Rock Grandma, who despite her old age continues to go to shows and garner respect from young and old(er??) alike. By looking at her reaction, bands can judge their performance because she is such a respected individual. I think after the first song Jasper played Pat went to the back of the club to sleep.
This lineup originally included a local band who is very good, called the Frankl Project. Because of a graffiti incident that forced their drummer to miss the show, they did not play. Even so, check them out here.
I was told that Jasper was a ska band ahead of time, but from their first song you wouldn't have known. They began with a really tight hardcore song laden with fast heavy metal riffs á la the headliner. It went downhill from there. These guys are freshmen in high school who if they played more songs like their first would be really good. The problem is that no one is going to take a bunch of freshmen who play fast metallic hardcore seriously. Oh well, they brought a bunch of jackass kids with them who tried to start a skank pit for Jasper's terrible ska songs. They also proceeded to yell phrases such as "Ham Sandwich!!!" and "Four!!! You didn't go 1, 2, 3, 4!!!" all night long. I am pretty sure I was not that annoying as a freshman in high school…right??? The long and short of it is these guys need to stop worshipping Less Than Jake and start getting some Lords records…fast.
Forest Fire has never played horribly, and whenever I see them they get better and better. Their guitarist was out of town, so they had a replacement named Sean who managed to be a stellar replacement on guitar. I would describe them as Gorilla Biscuits and Minor Threat meets the Suicide Machines in both the hardcore and ska parts of that band (RIP). They played a solid set in which their singer Erik got into the crowd to stir up some excitement among the people who were coming after getting off of work. They handed out 3-song samplers of their CD, which is to be released soon. Check out the song Rice Patty about the aforementioned punk rock grandma here. They are awesome dudes who, sadly, because of bad attendance had to pay the bands out of their own pocket. Definitely check them out; their new record Steal Things! is really good.
New Mexican Disaster Squad was up next. Having heard other stuff off of their previous releases I was totally psyched. They set up pretty fast while I talked to other bands and folks about the burgeoning Louisville hardcore scene and the fact that Pusher owns Young Widows. Never mind that, pay attention to this next bit. New Mexican Disaster squad fucking ripped. They started their set without pretentious opening music and pleaded for the crowd to come closer while they played: we obliged. I was amazed at their set. I only know a few songs that they play, but I do know that they played "Tightrope" and it was total insanity. They talked it up with Lords while they were on stage, referring drunkenly to themselves as the New Sexican Disaster Squad from Borelando, Florida. It was really fun and many of us could not see Lords even rivaling the performance that NMDS had just called one of their best on this tour and about 5th best ever in their history as a band…wow. Little did we know, but Lords would make us rethink that comment.
Lords have a setup that is totally insane (though not really far off the norm for other Louisville bands, i.e. Breather Resist). They have their amps and then they have these (it is difficult to explain because I am so naïve about musical equipment) sort of plug-in amps that just amplify sound and have no knobs. They moved the drum set into the middle of the stage and placed this huge wall of sound behind them. They played the most intense live music I have ever heard. They played 4 songs, one of which was "Stigmata Rites," and then called for the guys from New Mexican Disaster Squad to come and join us concert-goers at the front. They then called for the lead singer from NMDS (Sam) to join them on stage. They proceeded to tear through "Gimme Gimme Gimme" by Black Flag, which included a lot of giving the mic to the crowd. I was so psyched. Then when Sam left the stage, the lead singer of Lords (Chris) called on the crowd to join him on the stage for the remainder of the set. When the first person went on the stage the rest of our stage fright went away and we jumped on. I asked them to play "Mouth to Mouth" and they happily obliged. Then we all banged our heads and shook our fists for the remaining 20 or so minutes left over in their set. We writhed and moved around and had a fucking amazing time.
I will never forget this show. I consider it my first real "hardcore" show as I listen to all these bands but never had the balls to attend. Lords was truly amazing and so was NMDS. Easily the best show I have been to ever...
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