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Sick of It All / Stretch Arm Strong

Sick of It All / Stretch Arm Strong: live in Chicagolive in Chicago (2006)
Abacus Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


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

It's an odd feeling when you're a bit angry that a good band gets added to a show. My original plan for tonight was to walk in the door right before Sick of It All started, but Ryan's Hope was added to the lineup. Punknews Records' favorite sons opened the show with a bang. I picked up Apocalypse.


It's an odd feeling when you're a bit angry that a good band gets added to a show. My original plan for tonight was to walk in the door right before Sick of It All started, but Ryan's Hope was added to the lineup.

Punknews Records' favorite sons opened the show with a bang. I picked up Apocalypse in Increments about a week ago, so I was a little familiar with the material, but not enough to pick out more than a few words at a time. I have to say, their metal influences come out much stronger in a live setting than on record, with lead vocalist/guitarist Terry Morrow putting out some blazing solos and quick, almost undetectable breaks within the songs. Their short, twenty-five minute set was over before I even realized it. Some highlights were "My Motivation: Your Demise" and "The Carpathian." They're going to go places in the next couple of years.

The second Ryan's Hope's set ended, a third-rate Hatebreed rip-off came over the PA system and guys in basketball jerseys and camouflage shorts started setting up equipment. This could mean only one thing: First Blood were next. I already knew that I didn't like this band before the show tonight (come on, the name of their album is Killafornia), but I was not prepared for the total onslaught of absolute shit that I was about to see. Imagine this scene taking place inside your eardrum; there is a whining baby being ripped apart by a rabid dog that's being eaten alive by Ted Nugent. Or if you lack imagination (calling all members of First Blood!), just think of the same open E chord palm muted and played with the required "chugga chugga" beat for thirty minutes with alternating hyena screeches and Cookie Monster growls. First Blood excel in three speeds; mid-tempo, slow, and breakdown. How they manage to throw breakdowns into songs that are already slower than your average Phil Collins ballad, I'll never know. The sound was so muddy and bass-heavy that everything blurred together to sound like putting your head directly onto a really loud car engine. The most charming moments of the set came from the "singer" announcing song titles like "Next Time You're Fucking Dead," "Execution," and "Firing Line." I'd like to send out a big congratulations to the members of First Blood for making it to the top five of "Worst Bands I've Ever Seen" along with Simple Plan, the Rotten Fruits, the F-Ups, and the Street Brats. You earned it fellas; it took quite an effort to knock Go Betty Go off the list.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be happy for Stretch Armstrong to start, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Stretch Armstrong have become the band that I can't avoid seeing; tonight was the third time in a little over two years, all by accident. They were still boring and mediocre, but at least they weren't terrible. It's all about the situation sometimes, and I actually caught myself tapping my toes a few times throughout their set. Oh well. At least their singer managed to not say "mosh it up" at all this time. Their set was mercifully brief as well.

Finally 9 o'clock came and the legendary Sick of It All took the stage for the last night of their twentieth anniversary tour. Any lingering annoyances from earlier went away once Pete strummed the first chords of "Good Lookin' Out." They quickly followed up with "Take the Night Off" and "Let Go." To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Sick of It All has recently put forth what might just be their best album with Death to Tyrants; the new material like "Machete" and "Uprising Nation" proudly stood side by side with classics such as "Goatless" and "My Life." What separated Sick of it All's live performance from the other bands of the night (outside of the fact that they're legends) is that they have a sense of humor. Lou had some genuinely funny rants about a magazine article about how not to smear your make-up at a show as well as setting the "Braveheart" move up as a Cubs vs. Sox deathmatch, which the White Sox side easily won (just like in real life). The energy of SOIA, whether it was Pete stomping around like a monkey or Craig bouncing around the stage like a boxer, fueled the crowd into a frenzy. They didn't let up and neither did we. The mark of a great band is when the end of the set comes, you honestly feel like they just started. Sick of It All's had been going for an hour by the time they finished with "Us vs. Them," but it seemed no longer than fifteen minutes. Here's to twenty more years.

Set list (by album):

Blood, Sweat, and No Tears

  • It's Clobberin' Time
  • Friends Like You
  • My Life
  • Injustice System
Just Look Around
  • Just Look Around
Scratch the Surface
  • Goatless
  • Step Down
  • Scratch the Surface
Built to Last
  • Good Lookin' Out
  • Built to Last
  • Busted
  • Us vs. Them
Call to Arms
  • Let Go
  • Call to Arms
  • Sanctuary
Yours Truly
  • Blown Away
Death to Tyrants
  • Take the Night Off
  • Machete
  • Uprising Nation
  • Die Alone
7/10 for Ryan's Hope, 1/10 for First Blood, 3/10 for Stretch Armstrong, 9/10 for Sick of It All, rounding out to a nice three and a half stars overall.

 

 
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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.
vampirates (June 6, 2006)

Score is for Phil Collins reference.

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

Hahaha, amazing "roast" of First Blood.

As for SOIA, they're one of the few "classic" punk/hardcore bands who are still putting out good records today rather than shitty attempts to sound as good as they did like other bands in their situation. Nice work guys.

miff (June 6, 2006)

i went to see sick of it all in feb n they encouraged the crowd to partake in a chicken fighting wall of death.
it was fun

Anonymous (June 5, 2006)

IN THE UNNNNNNNDERGROUND...........

Anonymous (June 4, 2006)

i was at the show in pomona, and i have to agree that im definately not a fan of First Blood, but the crowd went apeshit when they played. All the douchebags flailing their arms and round house kicking the air. SoiA was amazing though. When they closed with Us Vs. Them there were about 30 people on stage singing along and what not. Too bad there was no moshing.

SalsaShark (June 3, 2006)

RKL, points for mentioning Rambo. That used to be one of my favorite movies. I think it still is. No one does violence like John J.

feeeding5000 (June 3, 2006)

Sick of It All seem really genric to me, and I have their first album. It's just crappy late '80's tough-guy hardcore, with bad, generic vocals and no redeeming message.

rkl (June 3, 2006)

what makes first blood suck even more is that theyre tainting the legacy of john jay rambo

Anonymous (June 2, 2006)

Great review. I was at the L.A. show at the Roxy and felt the same way.
Mr. Kenzington

SlowStupidHungry (June 2, 2006)

"Funny, I despise the "NYHC sound" if we're referring to bands like Agnostic Front and Madball, but I like Sick of It All."

Instructions:

Get on Soulseek.

Seek out Agnostic Front's "United Blood" EP.

Realize how kick ass A-F were in the early 80's.

Seriously, I can totally understand hating on the new Agnostic Front because they totally blow, but in their prime, they came close to perfecting the hardcore sound.

kman1224 (June 2, 2006)

haha....I was the guy who heckled the First Blood singer to play a song without a breakdown.

lookmommyididit (June 2, 2006)

-- Lou had some genuinely funny rants about a magazine article about how not to smear your make-up at a show

haha, zoli from ignite did the same thing when i saw them last week, he actually read the article from the magazine.
first blood fuckin suck.

jamespastepunk (June 2, 2006)

First Blood was painfully generic. It was my first sick of it all show and I nearly didn't get in. But shit, was SOIA good.

guitarmy87 (June 2, 2006)

i got kicked out of this show,

second time in a row ive missed sick of it all because ive been too drunk.

goddamnit.

gregs (June 2, 2006)

"Score is for getting to the club right when the shitty openers start when you think you were late enough to miss them."

You are so right. I have to travel at least an hour to any show and as long as the show starts on time, it's easy enough to calculate when to get there. But when the show starts later than it's supposed to, it's the absolute worst

theOneTrueBill (June 2, 2006)

"Funny, I despise the "NYHC sound" if we're referring to bands like Agnostic Front and Madball, but I like Sick of It All."

Me too. SOIA and Gorilla Biscuits are probably the only New York hardcore bands I like. Madball is one of the worst bands in the history of the world.

I'm also extremely happy and surprised that people actually agree that First Blood is terrible. I was expecting a ton of "you're a faggot, respect the scene" type comments.

With a band like sick of it all, get on a good torrent site and download a discography, then buy all the records you like, that's the best you can do it these days.

skankin_in_the_pit (June 2, 2006)

Idiots fighting during/after First Blood's set almost got the Vegas show canceled. Most of the people fighting weren't even there to see Sick Of It All, and the ones that didn't get kicked out left willingly (probably to go fight more) instead of staying for SOIA.

The exact same thing happened a few years ago when Bleeding Through, Himsa, and a bunch of shitty bands opened for D.R.I.

Score is for getting to the club right when the shitty openers start when you think you were late enough to miss them.

skaboom (June 2, 2006)

No way are SAS a 3/10. They had ONE below-average album, and their live sets are very light on Engage material.

Anonymous (June 2, 2006)

"First Blood excel in three speeds; mid-tempo, slow, and breakdown"

Amazing comment.

Davo-88 (June 2, 2006)

Good review looked like a pretty good setlist! SOIA is so gd live, I would like to see them play few tracks off Life On The Ropes live tho, thats one of my favourite SOIA albums

gregs (June 2, 2006)

"The most accessible SOIA record is Yours Truly. Its also their best."

I agree. Built to Last and Scratch the Surface are two others that give a much better representation than Life on the Ropes, in my opinion

niveK82 (June 2, 2006)

A fine show, it was rather sad that there were only like 150 people there

sickboi (June 2, 2006)

The most accessible SOIA record is Yours Truly

Its also their best.

inagreendase (June 2, 2006)

I like the old school NYC bands but I've just never been able to get into sick of it all.The only album I have is "life on the ropes". I know they must have better albums than that. Where is a good place to start??

Funny, I despise the "NYHC sound" if we're referring to bands like Agnostic Front and Madball, but I like Sick of It All.

miff (June 2, 2006)

a good place to start would be blood sweat and no tears followed by scratch the surface n then built to last n then death to tyrants

Anonymous (June 2, 2006)

I like the old school NYC bands but I've just never been able to get into sick of it all.The only album I have is "life on the ropes". I know they must have better albums than that. Where is a good place to start??

Anonymous (June 2, 2006)

I like the old school NYC bands but I've just never been able to get into sick of it all.The only album I have is "life on the ropes". I know they must have better albums than that. Where is a good place to start??

Anonymous (June 2, 2006)

wow...why does no one care? damn. sad. good review though i don't really listen to any of these bands.

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