New Found Glory's Easycore Tour 2008 presented a lesson in contrast. The band was playing a "hardcore-oriented tour" in smaller clubs than they've played in some time, complete with one band on the tour from an actual hardcore label and assuring that there would be a small handful of covers of hardcore bands (tonight, Gorilla Biscuits and Suicide File). Except, there were also covers of pop songs (Sixpence None the Richer, Kelly Clarkson), NFG are doing this in a tour bus, and their T-shirts (two of which were ironically GB and Judge ripoff designs) were $20.
But those glaring inconsistencies and ironies were overshadowed by the fact that NFG's set was fun. Like, really fun. But let's talk openers first.
Crime in Stereo's set was unfortunately cut short, stripped from 20 minutes to 15. Bummer, since I was probably looking forward to them just as much as NFG (and more than anyone else on the show). I overheard something about NFG's manager being present at the show and wanting things to move ahead of schedule. Wonderful, since that wasn't even accomplished as NFG finished their own set two minutes after the scheduled end time.
Anyway, they played fairly well, but were a bit damaged by the sound. Kristian Hallbert's vocals became extremely low midway through the set, though maybe he was already losing his voice; apparently he was sick, so that probably didn't help. The band busted through a six-song set evenly split between their last two full-lengths to roughly ten really stoked kids and an otherwise unfamiliar audience. They're definitely improving their live renditions of Is Dead songs, as steady and slow as that practice may be. Alex Dunne is experimenting more with his guitar tones and finding better, cleaner fits than before. Not a bad set, but it probably would have been 10x better for them to have had those five minutes and maybe fill it with epic closer "I, Stateside."
Set list (6:59-7:14):
- Everything Changes / Nothing Is Truly Ever Lost
- Bicycles for Afghanistan
- XXXX (The First 1000 Years of Solitude)
- Third Atlantic
- Small Skeletal
- Abre Los Ojos
I originally thought it was pretty insulting to have the one Long Island band play first (before a joke band, no less), but the International Superheroes of Hardcore sure gained a healthy fanbase packaging that album with the Tip of the Iceberg
EP. They came out in their superhero shirts, while Chad Gilbert sported a gray zipup, hood up and face covered by a black ski mask or something. A pit of dudes that probably get unironically stoked on Madball unironically moshed and sang along to ridiculous songs like "Back to the Future" and "Captain Straight Edge." The band's reaction was seriously sorta big; even bystanders shouted along and pumped their fists to familiar declarations like "Screamo gotta go!" They were better live than on CD; I can say that much. It was more funny than fun, and it was nice to have a legit...sort of...okay, hardcore-sounding band playing. Jordan Pundik wasn't a terrible guitarist, either...not that he was challenged much.
- ISHC Theme Song
- Captain Straight Edge
- ? (eBay Revenge?)
- Seat Belt
- Back to the Future
- Madball's Got Our Backs
Then it was Four Year Strong's turn. They had superb energy, engaged the crowd like complete pros and played nicely. Too bad they're doing bastardized pop-punk / pseudo-melodic hardcore with totally unnecessary frills like double-bass, cheese city keyboard and pointless breakdowns. I mean, fuck, they're not a horrible
band, and this performance certainly evidenced it -- they had kids awkwardly two-stepping and limb flailing nearly as much A Day to Remember would later on, and upbeat sing-alongs could be seen going all the way back to the bar. But whatever they're doing, it just isn't for me; it all sounds a little contrived and rather cartoonish.
showed their hardcore roots, though. Their keyboardist stepped up to do the main vocals for a cover Suicide File's "Ashcroft," which was done well enough. I like Suicide File but none of their songs are entirely distinct to me. I certainly didn't expect anyone else to get psyched, and as expected there was minimal response in that department. At least it wasn't like the other night here, when the Ataris covered "Hybrid Moments" and "Rise Above" to several dozen completely clueless teens. Man, what a scene.
- Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated
- The Takeover
- "Beatdown in the Key of Happy" -or- "Put You On"
- Maniac (R.O.D.)
- Abandon Ship or Abandon All Hope
- Ashcroft [Suicide File cover]
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Hell
- Bada Bing! Wit' a Pipe!
- Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
But ugh, at least they weren't A Day to Remember. More like, A Set to Forget. How does anyone not crack up when a band opens with some randomly brutal mosh part and then busts into a super whiny fourth-rate Saves the Day melody? Granted, like Four Year Strong, they were tight enough, but their sound is so outrageous it's hard to understand anyone taking them even remotely serious. It's like the contrasting ends of Stretch Arm Strong stretched to the most ridiculous proportions possible. And there was so many mosh parts. So many. And they sounded precisely put in place only for kids to look dumb exercising. At least Victory Records has found a profitable way to help curb child obesity.
To see the whole venue shouting along and an enormous pit actin' a fool was mind-boggling; ADTR's response easily
matched that of NFG's. I mean, when they did their Kelly Clarkson cover of "Since U Been Gone" (expectedly nowhere near the quality of Ted Leo's version), there wasn't really that many more people audibly singing along.
- Fast Forward to 2012
- Speak of the Devil
- The Danger in Starting a Fire
- Show 'Em the Ropes
- A Shot in the Dark
- Since U Been Gone [Kelly Clarkson cover]
- Why Walk on Water, When We've Got Boats
- You Should Have Killed Me When You Had the Chance
- The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle
After reshaping my definition of tedious, I was ready for pop-punk that was a little more pure...you know, as far as the 21st century is concerned. Sure, New Found Glory wasn't perfect
-- Jordan's voice was comically nasal a lot of the time and some sloppy stop-starts soured the dynamism. And yeah, they played some of their less-than-stellar songs ("Singled Out," "Hold My Hand," "Forget My Name"), but more often than not, it was just fun
. There was plenty of room on the floor to bounce around and sing along ("Better Off Dead"? Stoked.). Mosh activity was limited to more awkward dancing, a circle pit here and there and the occasional douche, but nothing entirely irritating at all (except to one girl, perhaps, who retaliated with an amusing attempted blow to the head to someone who didn't seem to be causing any real trouble).
I would point out the absurdity of Jordan wearing a Verse shirt, but you have to imagine that Bridge Nine just sent the band a box full of shirts at some point to help promote things.
Speaking of which, the small collection of hardcore kids in attendance obviously went off for "No Reason Why," as well as some of the older songs. Chad attested playing it over "Cutting the Tension" to the fact that they were in New York, after all.
Speaking of older songs, Chad mentioned that they had to play something off of Nothing Gold Can Stay
since it was a tour of this nature, and began to suggest songs. He first said "Passing Time" and it got a few cheers. Then he asked about "3rd and Long" and it got way more cheers. What gives? "Passing Time" fucking kills the rest of that record -- to have actually heard that live after buying that album probably seven or eight years ago after the band had blown up would've been incredible. Oh well. "3rd and Long" certainly wasn't bad.
Jordan occasionally propped himself against the barrier for more intimate sing-alongs, and some were willing to take advantage, climbing over everyone else to shout back quintessential jams like "Hit or Miss." Even Chad did the same at a few points, letting a roadie or someone handle guitar duties for that time being.
When thanking the opening bands for coming out, starting with Crime in Stereo, they took the time to give shoutouts to the Movielife, Silent Majority and even Tripface, which was amusing. ("To tame the 'L' word!!" Chad and Jordan rabbled back and forth.)
- At Least I'm Known for Something
- Better Off Dead
- All Downhill from Here
- Something I Call Personality
- All About Her
- Kiss Me [Sixpence None the Richer cover]
- Tip of the Iceberg
- Singled Out
- Failure's Not Flattering
- No Reason Why [Gorilla Biscuits cover]
- Hit or Miss
- Hold My Hand
- 3rd and Long
- Truth of My Youth
- Forget My Name
- Dig My Own Grave
- My Friends Over You
So, yeah. The conclusion can probably be drawn from the mixed results of this show -- I had more than enough fun during NFG to make up for the iffy aspects that otherwise made up Easycore 2008. Plus, the Mets came back to win in extra innings and stayed tied for the wild card. Now that's crucial.