Polar Bear Club / Crime in Stereo / Ruiner

Polar Bear Club / Crime in Stereo / Ruiner: live in Clevelandlive in Cleveland (2009)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

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

This past Thursday, the Bridge Nine Records tour, featuring Ruiner, Crime in Stereo, Polar Bear Club and Strike Anywhere (who I missed) rolled into Cleveland. Highlighting the shift the label has taken over the past few years, the tour featured only one band out of four that is clearly a "hardcore" .

This past Thursday, the Bridge Nine Records tour, featuring Ruiner, Crime in Stereo, Polar Bear Club and Strike Anywhere (who I missed) rolled into Cleveland. Highlighting the shift the label has taken over the past few years, the tour featured only one band out of four that is clearly a "hardcore" band. The bands all played in front of a Bridge Nine banner and seemed genuinely happy to be involved with the tour bearing their label's name.

Since I had to drive a few hours to the show, my girlfriend and I went up early and checked out the Cleveland Art Museum, which has a great collection and offers free admission. To bands travelling through Cleveland, I know the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will let touring bands in free, but other than a couple of rooms of the main collection, it's just not that great. If you're in Cleveland, and you like art, consider checking out the art museum as I thought it was the best one I've been too in the U.S. outside of New York. After that, we headed over to Coventry Street where the Grog Shop is and checked out this amazing old toy store. They had every '80s toy you could want including a glass-enclosed GI Joe scene complete with a fully manned Cobra Command Center and GI Joe base. After reliving my childhood for a minutes, it was on to the show.

Ruiner started out the evening with their straightforward take on modern hardcore. They don't do anything flashy or have any crazy breakdowns, but they are a solid band and received a decent response from the crowd. Having the show at the Grog Shop, which has a clearly "barroom" atmosphere, probably toned down the crowd from what might have been a rowdier audience in a more DIY venue. Ruiner played a mix of all of their material and between songs the vocalist poignantly remarked, "We do this to have fun. We fuck up, we laugh it off. Don't take this too seriously," before finishing off the set.

Crime in Stereo was up next and after following the band's career for a while, this was surprisingly my first time seeing them. I had heard mixed reviews on their live show in the past, but they delivered a performance on par with their recorded material. All songs played were from The Troubled Stateside and Is Dead, except for a quick run through "Long Song Titles Aren't Cool Anymore Because the Rest of You Fuckers Are No Good at It" off of the Love EP (or The Contract -- depending on what format you own).

The songs off The Troubled Stateside were obviously more energetic and fun for a show atmosphere, but the Is Dead material did manage to hit some of the more emotional peaks that album in question focused on. I would imagine the Is Dead material is difficult on vocalist Kristian Hallbert, as he has to switch from shouting to nearly whispered, quiet singing quickly and sometimes sing quietly over heavier material. This must be a taxing exercise while trying to maintain the energy of the show, but he pulled it off. In kind of an unintended response to the previously mentioned Ruiner quote, near the end of the set Hallbert noted that, "We do this for love of the music."

This was my fourth time seeing Polar Bear Club. I was lucky enough to catch them twice while playing on The Redder, The Better EP and once after their first full-length and it has been interesting to see their rise. They opened with "Living Saints" off Chasing Hamburg and charged straight into "Our Ballads" from Sometimes Things Just Disappear. The set was typical PBC: high energy with a good amount of crowd interaction.

While vocalist Jimmy Stadt was busy singing, my girlfriend pointed something else out to me: the dude is a dancing machine. He's not just doing typical hardcore frontman moves, but is seriously dancing like he is at a club. Late in the set, the band threw in a surprise performance of "Drifting Thing," the low-key track on Chasing Hamburg. While the first part of the song is just guitar and vocals, the rest of the band comes in just in time to keep the energy up and the song went over well. Towards the end of the set the band hit three tracks from The Redder, The Better, garnering the best responses of the night.

Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances came up and I had to leave before Strike Anywhere, so I missed them. Overall, the show was enjoyable; however, it might have been more fun at a smaller club or DIY venue. If you're into any of these bands, this tour is worth checking it because you will likely enjoy the other bands as well.


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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.
Mary86 (June 21, 2010)

CIS isn't as good as they used to be. Never cared for ruiner

mychoice (May 14, 2010)

To the dude who said Ruiner's new album is awful: Chyeah right, I'd say it's their best stuff they've put out. Every single song on that album fucking rules. Even though the quality production isn't as good as it could have been, I still think I'd give it a solid 8 maybe 9.

OverDefined (October 17, 2009)


We're both 27.

trix4kids (October 16, 2009)


OverDefined (October 15, 2009)

"Also, I pretty much guarantee dude's girlfriend is to blame for having leave the show early, and not diarrhea. Or maybe it was HER diarrhea."

Another great try. I would have guessed the same thing, but wasn't true THIS time.

drownyourselfinpiss (October 15, 2009)

Ruiner's new shit is awful,, but they still play a great show...definitely should have been headlining. No surprise that CIS toured behind their most recent material by playing their most recent material....I'd rather listen to Hot Water Music on record than pay to see PBC and Strike Anywhere is the worst band I have ever heard, and anyone who would knowingly pay to see them after hearing their music should probably smother themselves in a pool of their own feces. God damn.

millslane (October 14, 2009)

im moving back to OH and going to the grog is something i always look forward to

icapped2pac (October 14, 2009)

I also went the next night in Hamtramck/Detroit. Great show. I'm not much of a CIS fan but I enjoyed their set and song selection. PBC ruled as usual. They opened with "Eat Dinner..." which made me go ape shit and rush the stage like I was 19 again. They also played "Drifting Thing" that night which threw me off since I don't care for it and didn't expect it, but it actually came off well live and gave my old ass a much needed mid-set rest.

Strike Anywhere killed it as well. They played a perfect mix of songs spanning their catalog (and by perfect I mean very little from Dead FM) and the new stuff sounded awesome live.

PBC setlist from Detroit (not in order):

Eat Dinner, Bury the Dog, and Run
Living Saints
Election Day
Burned Out In A Jar
Parked In The Parking Lot
Drifting Thing
Bug Parade
Our Ballads
Most Miserable Life

Also, I pretty much guarantee dude's girlfriend is to blame for having leave the show early, and not diarrhea. Or maybe it was HER diarrhea.

TROOF (October 14, 2009)

Ruiner>CIS and PBC combined

shitsfucked (October 14, 2009)

The store is called Big Fun on Coventry i love that store. that shows ruled so hard. strike anywhere was good too.

martinNZ09 (October 14, 2009)

Sounds like a great show
I would love to see each of these bands live!

party-animal (October 14, 2009)

I agree with your assessment that this would have been better at a DIY venue but the Grog shop is not that big. I haven't seen a show since it moved to its new location but I really don't thnk its too big for anything. I saw some of the best shows of my life the old location down the street and even got to play there a few times. I don't live in the area anymore but I do miss me some Conventry.

IanIsSuperRad (October 14, 2009)

I was at this show too. (I also second what Babrook said). Had an awesome time. I got the Strike Anywhere setlist but I'm too lazy to post it.

givemenewwave (October 14, 2009)

Everyone left after Polar Bear Club's set in Philadelphia too. Like the place was practically empty. It blew my mind.

Score is for Strike Anywhere's new record.

levidolphin (October 14, 2009)

I was there too... You should have stayed.

Ruiner was pretty good, i couldn't understand one word though. But it was rockin.
I was really looking forward to CIS, but the song selection sucked (not a fan of half the Is Dead album) You open for strike anywhere and your singing slow shit in falsetto. I came to rock. but anyways, i couldn't hear the lead guitar at all... imagine no guitar solos on the troubled stateside. REALLY disappointing. One positive- the drummer is bad ass.
Polar Bear Club played great, but the singer, my god, could have added a little bit of gruffness to his voice. On the albums he sounds like he's got a little bit of balls, but live... not even close.
Strike anywhere did not disappoint. The singer has iron lungs and runs around like crazy, the guitars are right on point, drummer is really really good. The only thing i dont like is the political speech between some songs. The songs speak for themselves i don't need a lecture, but i have seen worse bands with that (anti flag). Iron front is incredible!
Best band i have seen since the D4 show at Now Thats Class. The Grog is a pretty sweet venue, i always like going there.

tom1022 (October 14, 2009)

Saw this show in Detroit the next night. I went to see Strike Anywhere and Crime in Stereo, though I enjoy Polar Bear Club as well. I was surprised to see that Polar Bear Club had by far the best crowd response of the night, even though SA and CIS have been around much longer. I also thought Crime in Stereo was a little on the sloppy side, at least compared to their flawless records. Strike Anywhere was great, but I was disappointed that so many people left after Polar Bear Club. Ruiner was tight, though I just don't find that type of music very compelling.

Babrook (October 14, 2009)

Helluva show. Stadt is insane on the stage.

Us Cleveland orgsters need to meet up sometime.

OverDefined (October 14, 2009)

"sorry you got diarrhea and had to leave early."


red_eye_inc (October 14, 2009)

Why would you review a show when you missed the headliner? Pick something else to review.

midgetoolbox (October 14, 2009)

Does anyone have Crime in Stereo's setlist?

thatguyfromthatband (October 14, 2009)

sorry you got diarrhea and had to leave early.

oldpunkerforever (October 14, 2009)

score is for Strike Anywhere and the new CD, for anyone who lost faith in them after Dead FM, you will have it back after hearing the new one. It can be summed up in one word, and thats the title to track 7 , " Spectacular". I would say, brilliant-oldpunker-

Archangel (October 14, 2009)

Does this review seriously feature an entire paragraph about fucking museums in Cleveland? Holy shit.

american_666_jesus (October 14, 2009)

I saw this in Chicago and it was amazing. Four of the most impassioned performances I've seen in a long time. One of the highlights was seeing a 2 year old boy and 3 year old girl rocking the fuck out to the music.

DougLife (October 13, 2009)

Saw this tour in Detroit, Strike Anywhere and Ruiner were awesome.

Strike Anywhere's set list:

Chorus of One
Sunset on 32nd Street
Opposite Number
Aluminum Union
Timebomb Generation
South Central Block Party
Prisoner Echoes
Sic Semper Tyranus
Postcards From Home
To the World

great set great band

Amazingthemike (October 13, 2009)

I was at this show too. Good times were had. I got a chance to talk with Jimmy from PBC and Thomas from SA. They had some great stuff to say.

ozmanx (October 13, 2009)

This show is coming to Socal next week so it's something to look forward to, should be good.

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