The Living End / the Lashes / Read Yellow

The Living End / the Lashes / Read Yellow: live in New Yorklive in New York (2006)
Adeline Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

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

I have been waiting for this moment for nearly seven years: a Living End concert. I have never gotten the opportunity to see my favorite band of all time, yet they had come to my locale, New York, twice since 2001. The band can sell out 100,000 seat arenas in its native Australia, but has yet to cra.

I have been waiting for this moment for nearly seven years: a Living End concert. I have never gotten the opportunity to see my favorite band of all time, yet they had come to my locale, New York, twice since 2001. The band can sell out 100,000 seat arenas in its native Australia, but has yet to crack the U.S. market. After buying tickets the moment they went on sale, the period of anticipation begun. What will they play? Will I meet them? What could I say to my idols?

Then the day of the show, August 8th, 2006, came upon me quickly. On the train into the city, my mind was aflutter over what would transpire. I was thinking a mile a minute. Anxious, I took the 1:39 train out of Farmingdale, Long Island to get to New York City by 2:30 P.M. for a show not scheduled to begin until 8:00. I am going to try to meet the band, if possible. I ponder the possibility of a life dream coming true. I am also going to the show with 15 of my closest friends from home. I traversed the short walk from Penn Station to the Avalon (the venue), and arrived around 3:00. A towering bus loomed over some of the friends and I that took the early train. Another one called, saying he was on his way in from Cape Cod, and wanted to see if I could get another ticket for him. This required further travel, to the Irving Plaza Box Office; I made the purchase, a mere 17 dollars for a night's worth of wondrous excitement.

On the way back, we grab some food, just so we will not have to worry about it later. We eat next to the venue, an omnipresent former church turned nightclub and concert venue. Featuring impressive tower structures, cathedral ceilings, and a foreboding fence around it (with a large sign giving a number to call if one witnesses any illegal activity), this appeared as if it was going to be a day unfulfilled. Or was it?

After about a half-hour, Living End upright bassist Scott Owen wandered out of the looming bus, mumbling about getting dry cleaning and doing his laundry. He tried to sneak away from a group of drooling fans, but to no avail. Questions were indeed asked and answered. Next, guitarist Chris Cheney walked out with a glass in his hand. Compliments abound, he then identified his drink as tea, and a friend of mine took the liberty to give some history to the invention of tea. Cheney was clearly impressed, but drummer Andy Strachan walked out of the bus quickly, looking to get ready for a sound check. Quickly, I ask Cheney about his lyrics and inspiration in his more politically motivated songs, specifically the ones concerning East Timor and immigration ("Don't Shut the Gate" and "Revolution Regained" off of album Roll On), and he replies insightfully and extemporaneously, saying that the region is blowing up again, and both sides are taking casualties again. He says that he wants to talk more later on, and apologizes for his necessary departure, but he must go to do the requisite sound check.

From the extreme back of the venue where I met the band (!), we walked to the area with security guards back towards the front of the venue. People (obviously affiliated with the bands playing) were milling around, going in and out of the venue, and when the door opened, one can clearly hear the sound check going on (Cheney kept saying the word "Yeah!" into the mic, and then they checked "Roll On" and new single "What's on Your Radio?"). This was shaping up to be the greatest day of my life, but it only got better.

During a lull in the sound check, I wander over to a short woman with dyed red hair and a dark dress. It is Rae, the band's manager. She is someone that I have also dreamed of meeting. I am a member of the band's message board, and she, as well as the band, is intimately involved with the board. I introduce myself as the rabid fan that posts on the board often, usually requiring a response from her. She instantly says hello, and we strike conversation, but it was substantive enough to elicit quite interesting responses. A friend of mine joins me (one of the rabid ones, and as much involved in the board as I) in asking about the U.S. tour, about promotion, the new label, etc. She gives a much more cynical response than the upbeat band members, saying that they are losing money on this tour, that the tour is not going as well as intended (venues not selling out, etc.) and that the label is supportive, but they can only do so much because of the funds required for promotion. The Living End was recently signed in the U.S. to Billie Joe Armstrong's (Green Day) label Adeline Records. I ask if that the new signing can rid the image that they are a Green Day rip-off band and she sardonically replied that they are always and will forever be derided as such in the U.S.

After quite the interview, we wander back to the area where we can hear a sound check. We (a few of my friends as rabid as myself and I) started a conversation with someone milling back and forth, and this person happens to be a journalist working for CMJ (College Music Journal). She is extremely polite, and tries to get us in for the rest of the sound check. After going in herself, and coming back out, she says to just stay in the corner and be quiet, no one is stopping her or anyone else from entering.

Thus, we go in quietly, and walk to the far corner, by the stairs to a balcony area. We are treated to a private sound check; there are no other fans present, only the bands, their managers, and their roadies. The sound blaring, the Living End tore through new track "Into the Red" with a force I have never before witnessed. The band is clearly on today. Then, they play a punchy rendition of "We Want More," another song off the band's new album State of Emergency. More noodling commences, and my friends and I are mesmerized. The sound check abruptly ends, and Chris jumps off the stage, recognizing us rabid fans, and saying that there "was too much noise." Drums are sound checked for another couple of minutes, and then it abruptly ends. We cannot fathom meeting the band, let alone a private show!

After the sound check, we quietly exited the venue, giddy at the fact that we witnessed something that no one else got. Then again, no one is nearly as dedicated to the band as my friends and I are. After exiting the venue, we walk back again to where we met the band members before. Suddenly, Rae appears, and she appears flustered. I ask her some more questions, including one about playing a late-night television show for more promotion. She says that I think that it is too easy to book the show, because Conan O'Brien invited them to play this Friday, but they are going to be in Atlanta already. It would cost them five thousand dollars to do the show. Utterly shocked, I cannot respond, but I do not have to -- Scott comes out and speaks with us some more. He is down to earth, just like the rest of the band. We ask him why he continues to play, despite a marriage and child. He responds, "We do this 'cos it's fucking fun, otherwise there is no point to playing!" I compliment his songwriting, and say that his songs should be featured more on their albums (Cheney is the chief songwriter). Scott proceeds to thank me, and I mention his song "Stay Away from Me" (It's For Your Own Good EP) as one of my favorites they ever recorded. Continuing on the same vein, my friend asks Scott what his lyrics are during the backup vocals of the chorus. "Come to think of it, I don't remember." He had no idea. At least his fans are not the only ones confused. Scott and Rae retire back to the bus.

It is now nearly 6 o'clock, and we want to be in the front row, against the stage, for the show. We head over to what appears to be the main entrance. 15 of us together, all fully intended on experiencing the show from way up close. We are the first in line, and that does not surprise us. Legions of fans follow, and they have no idea for what they are in store.

We wait for just over an hour, until doors open, which is scheduled for 7 P.M. Tickets scanned, we all walk together and blanket the area directly against the stage. We will not move. The venue is startlingly empty for a long while. The Avalon appears uninhabited for the first act, Read Yellow, who takes the stage at about 8 P.M.

They are a four-piece band that created a wall of noise unparalleled for the rest of the show. They are loud, they are raucous, and they cannot be stopped. The band is uncompromising, and they have been compared to Rites of Spring and At the Drive-In. They hail from Amherst, MA, and all were students together at UMASS. The band calls for a ton of audience participation, including offering their instruments to the crowd in the front row. One takes a tambourine and knocks away. Another is given a guitar, and he hits a few chords heavily laden with distortion. The lead guitarist and vocalist is chaotic, dancing, and all over the place, and he brings a cymbal down to the crowd, hands out some drumsticks, and the ones with the sticks bang away at the drum. The 30-minute set pummeled me, and was completely unexpected.

After a 30-minute or so intermission, the next band (the Lashes) appear to be ready for their performance, but a troupe of rappers come out instead. They perform for about 10 minutes, taking what sounds like they were rapping over previously recorded songs blaring over the speakers. It is more chaos, and it does not make any sense. The rappers prance around the stage as they proceed to introduce the next band, but no one can hear it. The Lashes take the stage, ready for their set as the rappers exit.

The Lashes, from Seattle, WA, are a band that needs a new vocalist. The musicians in the band are quite good, putting forth a power-pop sound the Strokes, Weezer, and Hot Hot Heat would all approve. However, the vocalist belongs with the Starting Line or the Academy Isâ?¦. His whiny (and luckily, mostly inaudible) vocals are as pathetic as his image. He walks, sings, and acts like a princess. Exemplifying this point, after the first song, the plug on his mic comes out from the monitor. He stands there, hand on hip, clutching the plug, but unwilling to hook it back in. He waits for a sound guy to do it for him, and follows by saying, "An unplugged mic won't ruin my night." He proceeds to prance around as a posturing emo prom queen, snapping his fingers and making one particularly stupid dance move. Between songs, he says (audibly whiny) that his band has the number one single in America, and someone in the crowd yells that he is a liar. The band could have that number one single, but only if they fire the vocalist.

After another 40 minutes (but what seems like an hour), the lights go down, and the headliners, the Living End take the stage to thunderous cheers. The venue is finally packed out, and the crowd is in for a real treat. I am finally experiencing something I've waited for almost 7 years. "We are the Living End," Chris Cheney bellows to the crowd. They come out guns cocked and loaded, opening their electrifying set with a rousing version of their hit "Roll On." Scott Owen is standing on his upright bass. Chris Cheney is noodling on his four thousand dollar White Falcon gem guitar. Andy Strachan, a drummer I genuinely doubted, is pounding the drums like he will break through them. This scene replicates for nearly an hour, while the band pounds convincingly through singles "What's on Your Radio?" and "Who's Gonna Save Us?." They rev up the energy for show stoppers "Into the Red" and biggest hit "Prisoner of Society," which sounds more punchy and punk rawkin' than it has since its 1998 debut. They also slow the tempo a few times, including its political tour de force, the wrenching "Wake Up." They also introduce their sarcastic "Tabloid Magazine" by asking the crowd if they like Hollywood (the answer was a resounding no) and re-naming the song "What's Wrong with Paris Hilton?." During the oft-played hit "All Torn Down" there is always an insane jam session, and tonight wasn't any different. It starts out mellow enough, but it builds and builds until a loud climax with Chris hammering at the guitar, and he gets a bottle of beer, and begins playing with that in his left hand. Hitting the climax of the jam, he arches his back, and chugs the foamy Corona with a jubilant smile on his face.

The band has a stupendous stage presence, engaging the crowd by traversing the stage with their instruments in tow. Scott is widely known for lifting the huge bass over his head, as well as standing on it, and tonight is no exception. Fists pumping in the air, big choruses, this band is made for a live show. They symbolize the ideal blood, sweat, and rock band. This show was clearly something the band was revved up for, as Scott is bouncing about like never before. The same can be said for Chris, who wails at his guitar in an unrelenting manner.

Suddenly, and regrettably, they say goodbye, and leave the stage. But they are known for doing encores, and again, this is no exception. This time, they bring on the stomp with "Uncle Harry," an ode to former drummer Trav Dempsey's alcoholic uncle. The band stops for a second, and then jumps into its heavy bank robbery tale "Hold Up," in which they add a huge bass solo, and a call-and answer session between Chris and Andy. During the jam session, Scott and Chris inch closer and closer as they play. Suddenly, the bass neck dips, and Chris stands on the bass! They try to out-pound their respective instruments during this momentous event, but one cannot outdo the other. Chris announces that they have one more to do before the lights go out, and it involves a "West End Riot!" They play the hit song from their self-titled debut, but not before Cheney stops the song, and begins to mute the chords on his guitar, and introduces the band to the constantly moving, cheering, and singing crowd. He introduces Scott Owen, the master of the double bass, which he puts down, and stage dives into the crowd. Mass hysteria ensues, but Scott does not fall. Chris introduces Andy who bangs out a drum solo, and drinks a ton of water, and spits it into the air as he plays. Lastly, Chris introduces himself, and then a short jam starts, quickly brought back to the ending chorus. The electrifying, mesmerizing, and enchanting set has finally come to a close, and the band says goodnight.

I leave with a ton of memorabilia as well. I take the Living End set list, a drumstick thrown, and the beer bottle that Cheney both played with and drank from.

Set list:

  • Roll On
  • What's on Your Radio?
  • Who's Gonna Save Us?
  • Into the Red
  • All Torn Down
  • We Want More
  • Pictures in the Mirror
  • Wake Up
  • Black Cat
  • Prisoner of Society
  • Tabloid Magazine
  • E Boogie (instrumental)
  • Second Solution
  • Encore:
  • Uncle Harry
  • Hold Up
  • West End Riot


People who liked this also liked:
My Bloody Valentine - LovelessDarker My Love - Darker My LoveThe Bronx - The Bronx (2006)The Living End - State of EmergencyA Wilhelm Scream - RuinerA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Bronx - The Bronx (2003)

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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.
RiotOnBroadway (October 26, 2006)

You guys are fuckin assholes. TLE, too, are my favorite band, and if i had a night like that i think i'd not only shit myself a dozen times but probably die of a heartattack. Best show review ive ever read, almost makes me feel as if i was there

sicka (September 23, 2006)

OMG i saw them live this week in melbourne... they ROCKED! is was sooo good. they even played tainted love in the encore! chris also told the crowd (it was an under 18's gig) not to drink, whilst skulling a cruiser.

Anonymous (August 21, 2006)

"and the beer bottle that Cheney both played with and drank from"


pwfanatic (August 21, 2006)

props on a very indepth review. too bad only a quarter of it is actually about the show, although i am glad you got to talk about tea with the band.

Anonymous (August 21, 2006)

well consequentalbantry for the record your the first person I've seen on this site write a love story about how he wants to swallow some bands cum. Sheesh buddy the living end is ok but nothing to start pissing your pants and slobbering over. You'd think beyonce was playing that night with obviosly desperate you were to fuck the main act. You 16 year old emo girl.

Anonymous (August 20, 2006)

detail minded= OCD bitch

ConsequentialBanditry (August 20, 2006)

For the record, I did not identify the band whose drumstick I got (it was Read Yellow) and further, I KNOW that you hold bands in high regard as well. The fact that I am a dedicated and detail-minded fan does not mean that I am about to "spit or swallow." I am ashamed of all of you for responding this way. This site has lost all credibility because of its idiotic, ignorant, intolerant, image driven, and utterly stupid readers. I am sure that some show and band has given all of you a transitive experience, just none of you have either the balls or the memory to write about it.

Anonymous (August 20, 2006)

read yellow are alright, but their fans are douchebags.

mashole (August 19, 2006)

yes the show was fucking amazing but wow every detail every convo? the living end are amazing but thank god i stayed away from you and your schizophrenia. and btw I was the one who caught the stick. liar.

Anonymous (August 19, 2006)

...and then he woke up.still a spotty, 13 year old fuck.

freesandwich (August 19, 2006)


Anonymous (August 19, 2006)

I'll bet your a guy who follows them into the washroom then watch them pee and when they leave pull out your straw and start drinking. Then look for little pube strands. You fag.

SalsaShark (August 19, 2006)

I feel like I'm reading a review of the Second Coming.

SlowStupidHungry (August 19, 2006)

Wow... Holy shit. This is really, really, really weird.

lushj (August 18, 2006)

This score is for the "Dear Diary" comment

lushj (August 18, 2006)

Score is for the band.

This review is TOTAL fanboy. Cute and maybe worthwhile as a portrait of a superfan, but worthless as a review.

DenBez (August 18, 2006)

It really pisses me off when people respond to a really positive review by saying "wow, how did that band's cocks taste?"

But seriously, how did that band's cocks taste? That was the most ridiculously over-the-top thing I've ever read.

halfcutskeleton (August 18, 2006)

The first line should read:
Dear diary I had the best day of my life!

The band is awesome but this review is insane.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

'can rid the image that they are a Green Day rip-off'

really? thats bizarre. I would NEVER think that.

Great live show, the first 3 records i loved alot, haven't got into the last 2 much, but probably quality.


grealy (August 18, 2006)

longest fucking review ever.

wtf 100 000 fans? that's the most retarded thing i've ever fucking heard.

you could have condensed that into about 6 words: "i want to bum chris cheney".

score for band.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

so do they spit or swallow??

Ven89 (August 18, 2006)

Wait, you stood around the venue for five hours before the show started?

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

"a mere 17 dollars for a nightâ??s worth of wondrous excitement."

Ha! I got to this and I literally laughed out loud. Relax over there buddy, it's just a band and this is just a website.

Imagine you put the same amount of time and energy into something relevant as you did to this?

The Living End was definitely ripping on your nerdy ass's in their bus.

joeg (August 18, 2006)

whew! that was quite the myspace inflected and effusive commendation brimming with verbosity vis a vis the trio of homo sapiens by way of the continent of australia playing that rock and roll melodicism. but yea, cue psyco background music while you're reading. much more entertaining.

the_other_scott (August 18, 2006)

wtf. was that?

oh yeah and read yellow are fucking horrible. one of their roadies/groupies/fanboys stopped the band in the middle of one of their sets once because my friend was dancing around and mimiking the way their guitarist moved.

a lesson to bands, when there are 5 people watching you, you don't get to call out audience members, and if you do, you better be prepared to back your shit up.

also The Avalon is the most horrible venue in New York City,

mattp330 (August 18, 2006)

this is the weirdest review i've ever read on this site, or at least in the top two, i can't remember who the other review was on, but it was written by a yeah dude and all it talks about is being outside of the club and smoking with the band and how they aren't into guys. weirdest shit ever

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

So the reviewer forgot to tell us what The Living End's assholes taste like.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

This is just borderline creepy

borderline? this is creepy. worse, i bet this fanboy makes fun of his kid sister for being in love with (fill-in movie star of the moment).

kirbypuckett (August 18, 2006)

Is this a concert review or War and Peace?

- Kirby

sickboi (August 18, 2006)

This is just borderline creepy.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

I leave with a ton of memorabilia as well. I take the Living End set list, a drumstick thrown, and the beer bottle that Cheney both played with and drank from.

No doubt they'll go on your shelf next to your collection of Living End bodily fluids and souvenirs taken from Chris Cheney's garbage can. I'd rather read crazytoledo than this fanboy shit

LeightonESmith (August 18, 2006)

This review was a little bit too much fan boy for my taste. No criticism at all.
I have seen The Living End twice, once in 98 getting supported by Eskimo Joe and Bodyjar (they weren't as good as either of those bands and were pretty dull/boring) and the second time was at the big day out in 99 (where they were pelted with thongs, bottles etc and drowned out by screams for Soulfly who were playing next).
They must have lifted their game in the past 7 years.....

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

The living end have never sold out a 100000 capacity stadium in australia... what drugs are u on... dead set, the biggest show they did on their last tour was to sell out the hordern pavillion which can fit about 6000 rather comfortably. they did sell that out in a week or so, but still. the biggest shows those guys would have been festivals in the uk, belgium, japan etc. their a helluva lot bigger here in australia than the us i guarantee you, but get your facts straight before you hype them up to be these massive rockstars in australia but nothings o/s. ive seen about 4 or 5 times and every fuckin time they have been right on the money. all i read of the review was that bloody opening paragraph and i had to set the record straight. if you cant get to see TLE live, i suggest that you buy their DVD. Its fucken brilliant. its so funny to see them play in front of 6 people at macquarie uni in sydney when they were first getting started. BTW, the more old shit the better. S/T was the first punk-esque album i ever bought. havent really goten into all their new stuff. i just bought the new album cos it was cheap and still havent listened 2 it.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

Am I reading a review or a novel?

ozmanx (August 18, 2006)

This score is for them not playing "Save the Day"

TheRhetoric (August 18, 2006)

Saw a video for some living end song the other day, I couldn't have been more bored and I totally wrote them off. Review is way too long to read, so my under-informed opinion remains... this band sucks!

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)


Nap (August 18, 2006)

too long
wont read cause I know a Living End show must be perfect

inagreendase (August 18, 2006)

Just a note to anyone reading this: I can promise you this is not someone working for the band. This is indeed just a really, really dedicated fan.

BrendanKelly (August 18, 2006)

too long. didn't read it.

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