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Smoke or Fire / Fake Problems / Smartbomb: live in New Yorklive in New York (2008)
Fat Wreck Chords
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Inside the dank Tap Bar area of the Knitting Factory, what promised to be a solid and succinct show was cut even more short by traffic on the Long Island and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Why? My friend and I missed the entirety of Bridge and Tunnel's set. It was a bit of a bumout considering how cons.
Inside the dank Tap Bar area of the Knitting Factory, what promised to be a solid and succinct show was cut even more short by traffic on the Long Island and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Why? My friend and I missed the entirety of Bridge and Tunnel's set. It was a bit of a bumout considering how consistently fantastic and passionate the band's live performance is, but I'd seen them only a few weeks prior in Brooklyn so it was hard to moan about it much. There they'd showcased a number of songs from their upcoming full-length for No Idea, which is sure to be awesome.
Of note were two songs I didn't recognize -- if they're actually from the band's split with Sedona (which I haven't heard) or their debut demo (the track listing of which I'm not sure), then I forgive for calling them new and over-analyzing them. The first was actually a huge departure from their sound: Farren sang much more relaxed, there were no folk or alt-country tones, and the instrumentation was more noodly and travelling, much like their friends in Look Mexico. The song, carried by a ripping solo in the bridge, built to this huge, swelling part for a big emotional finish; it was super impressive and the band totally pulled it off despite it really not sounding like them. The second song was more in line with the band's signature base, even having Farren sarcastically self-referencing himself ("I want to be the American dream"). If these were actually new songs, the band's next full-length could be really interesting and varied. Overall, an obviously really fun set.
Set list (8:00-8:38):
That type of small camaraderie made sense given the band's usual themes of community, alienation and expression. Their occasional anti-authoritarian overtones even made sense when Knitting Factory staff became vividly agitated at the rare pile-on or stage dive that was occurring. I've been to a few dozen or so shows here and never once have I seen an audience raise the ire of their employees. My guess? Probably over the fact that Joe's monitor was fucked with during the very first song, and at risk the rest of the set.
Given highlights included "The Patty Hearst Syndrome," which had one of the biggest reactions of the night, and "Shine," for the band nailing the song's desperate and pleasingly repetitive finish.
Temporary replacement bassist Gwomper (of Avail) was predictably perfect, never missing a note. However, it would've been nice to actually hear him during closer "California's Burning," as he took Joe's job performing the last few howling lines ("HEEEE-YYYY, burn it down!"), but was barely audible.
One other minor complaint would be the total lack of pre-Fat Wreck stuff. I'm not expecting to hear stuff from When the Battery Dies, but Worker's Union is still in print, and only a couple years ago "50 Cent Hearts" was a staple of the set list. That was my primary request here ("Sunday Pints" second), but as this was the second straight time I've seen the band avoid playing anything Jericho / Jericho RVA-era, I suppose they've finally been pushed out of the set list for good. Kind of a bummer, but at least they've written a lot of good songs since.
Set list (8:58-9:38):
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