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A Wilhelm Scream / Living with Lions

A Wilhelm Scream / Living with Lions: live in Seattlelive in Seattle (2009)
Paper and Plastick

Reviewer Rating: 4


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

Upon finishing my interview with A Wilhelm Scream, I entered the venue only to hear "The Decline" by NOFX playing in the background. Setting up any musician to follow that is silly, though I enjoyed the tune nonetheless. I found myself a seat near the stage to document my first evening in Seattle. I.


Upon finishing my interview with A Wilhelm Scream, I entered the venue only to hear "The Decline" by NOFX playing in the background. Setting up any musician to follow that is silly, though I enjoyed the tune nonetheless. I found myself a seat near the stage to document my first evening in Seattle. I was alone and about to be shown a modern-day lesson in punk and hardcore.

Hometown heroes the Damage Done kicked things off with their flavour of melodic guitar-driven, fast-paced punk rock. The vocals were gruff and abrasive, bordering on screaming, though riding that line well. The pleasant, anthem-like background vocals complemented vocalist Ryan Koreski's style. The dynamic worked especially well and couldn't have sounded any more appropriate than on "Mumpa," a recent tune from (2009's Scream All of Our Clichés). Chris Eligaza's bass solo, a lost art, was the highlight of the tune and a favorite of the set. They will be playing the upcoming Seattle Greenhouse Showcase. I'll keep my eyes open upon my return.

Seattle's second set of locals and the first of three Paper + Plastick Records artists to follow, Shook Ones came out playing a heavier brand of hardcore. The songs, while fast and full of energy, came across quite noisy. While the bass stood out well, the vocals were very harsh, lyrics were mudded, and the higher frequencies of said vocals clashed with the rhythm and lead guitars. Though not necessarily the band's fault, it certainly made for a less-than-desirable experience. Vocalist Scott introduced "Raised by Woofs," a song in support of gay marriage. He suggested that if you're interested in partnership rights and the legalizing of gay marriage to vote "yes" to keep referendum #71. The songs that followed carried a typical balance of skatepunk-like hardcore with the odd catchy pop hook, but I noticed abrupt, unfavourable endings on more than one song, "T.Monk" included. I'd be interested to see what their performance might be like another time, as I've enjoyed their studio recorded music more than I thought I would have, based on the nights' performance.

The most enjoyable of the three opening acts, the Riot Before wasted no time expressing their discontent with Canada and relishing in their familiar surroundings. They gave me the Face to Face and Hot Water Music feel of the '90s while incorporating the desperation of American Steel and Against Me!'s post-millennium efforts. Although the vocals were slightly drowned at points, overall I heard a very clear live mix. "You Can't Dance Sexy to Punk Rock" delivered the signature "palm-muted guitar with vocal only" bridge before a breakneck, forbidden beat return. "Words Written Over Coffee" was a strong, catchy though folky ballad with lyrics apologizing both to mother and father. It was introduced with guitar and vocals only, but later joined by the band, incorporating an enjoyable, melodic guitar solo. Kind enough words can't be written about the tight, skilled drumming through their entire set. They closed by dedicating their last song to the strippers in Canada, who must hate the coins as much as they do.

The lovely friend I made throughout the evening came to see Living with Lions and she was surprised that I've been missing out. After all, both the band and I are from Vancouver, B.C. The lotus love and loyalty was evident as one of the tattooed guitar players appeared, sporting a Vancouver Grizzlies jersey. A very poppy brand of punk was played, turning me off almost immediately. The vocals were reminiscent, though a tad snottier than those of Bouncing Souls. They would stand better on their own without the constant, whiny background vocals. All songs seemed to tread a little too close to emo without much variation. Closing with "A Bottle of Charades" piqued my interest with its heavier guitars and catchy lead vocals, but became quickly watered down with too many "heya! heya!"s thanks again to the backing group. It seems there's something the 20-year-old friend understood that I simply did not.

I missed A Wilhelm Scream the night before while at Gogol Bordello. I was hoping that the drive, the border dick-around and my anticipation were all worth it, to see them kill it at the end of the day. After the venue played an entire Propagandhi record in between opening acts, AWS were ready to do just that. The set opened with "The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks," and "Jaws 3, People 0" followed with its relentless guitar shredding. The guitars could have been a little more distinct in the mix, though hearing a different twist on the solo in "Get Mad, You Son of a Bitch" was a treat indeed. Some vocal clipping was brief, albeit apparent. Mike Supina and Brian Robinson both shared guitar and bass guitar tapping throughout "The Horse." They even shared a quick high-five at hip level between scales. The tightness and intensity on stage was literally awesome, in the true sense of the word. Wilhelm showcased material from past, current and upcoming releases such as "Bodies and Suitcases" (a B-side cut) and "Skidrock" from their forthcoming self-titled EP. "Skidrock" sticks to the same ultra-fast tempo heard on 2008's Career Suicide. Songs about "going to college, doing a lot of drugs and eating" and "drinking whiskey and beer until your body submits" rang out with tales of debauchery. "These Dead Streets" played amongst classics such as "Me vs. Morrissey in the Pretentious Contest" and "The King Is Dead" within their 20+ song set list.

Taking Iron Maiden-influenced metal guitar modes and blending them with furious skatepunk stylings, A Wilhelm Scream didn't leave much room for error. The ferocious speed and energy, with melodic undertones ensured me that a hike across the border was worth it then and will be again.

 

 
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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.
sweetser (November 9, 2009)

To the members of A Wilhelm Scream,
I am a longtime follower and fan of your band, writing to let you know about a problem I had with your performance this past weekend. I want to start by saying that I‚??ve been involved in the punk rock scene in varying capacities for over 12 years. When I was in high school I booked and promoted a show for Smackin‚?? Isaiah with Choke and Moneen (Spring of 2001 in Port Jefferson, Long Island). I‚??ve picked up every album you‚??ve put out since then, and bought a ticket to see you every time you‚??ve come through New York. These days I work full time as a NYC public school teacher, and although I am less involved in the scene than I used to be, I still find time to make it out to about 5 shows a month. Naturally I was thrilled to see that you guys were playing my hometown of Brooklyn on your current tour, and enjoyed seeing you guys headline this show. The reason I‚??m writing, however, is not to compliment your performance, but to complain about the actions of one of your guitarists during the set. I believe it was the start of ‚??We Built this City on Debts and Booze‚?Ě that the guitarist (the one who does not sing, Mike Supina maybe?) took a swig of water, then turned and spat it onto the crowd standing closest to the stage. My initial reaction was disgust and anger when I realized that he had just spat on me. I‚??m still outraged and grossed out, but mostly just dumbfounded that you would think this is somehow a cool thing to do. You guys are extremely lucky to have fans willing to buy tickets and travel to see your shows, and at just about every show that I go to the bands express sincere gratitude to their fans for supporting them. As far as spitting on someone goes, that‚??s a rude enough action that in most states it‚??s considered to be assault. In addition, I am baffled that the same weekend I am going to get my seasonal flu shot and recommending to all of my students that they get their swine flu shots, a stranger thinks it‚??s alright to spit water on my face as part of a performance. I‚??m writing this to let you know you need to think about your actions on stage a bit more. Whether or not you‚??re willing to accept it, you guys are role models, with a large crowd of young punk rock kids who are looking up to you. Please set an example of treating others, particularly your fans, with more respect than that. I am genuinely hoping for an apology, or at the very least an explanation. Please don‚??t give me any line about his spitting somehow being ‚??punk rock‚?Ě or that he was drunk, because you guys are a bit too old for cop-out excuses like that. If this complaint is not acknowledged I will feel compelled to stop supporting your band. Awaiting a response.
-Alienated Fan #1

m-oo (October 25, 2009)

"I found myself a seat near the stage to document my first evening in Seattle."

Score is for sitting down at a gig. What the fuck?

trevor905 (October 21, 2009)

awful review, and living with lions rule, listen to dude manor.

damnitsderek (October 21, 2009)

"I was at this show too, the bar for most of the night, and if I remember correctly, ew. Couldn't get into Living With Lions at all."

Dude, ew doesn't say half of it. I suppose it's a good strategy though, because I'm sure a number of people there that night drank until she looked like Megan Fox. Do you know which songs Shook Ones played? I got there just as The Riot Before finished because my asshole friend, who was also my ride, bailed on me an hour before the show because he "didn't feel like going anymore".

thegreatestmanalive (October 21, 2009)

Blackjaw

Yeah man, i went to that show, good times, except artist life were fucking rediculous. That and i missed We built this city, still an awsome show.

mxguy33 (October 21, 2009)

The Damage Done is one of Seattle's best bands.......seriously.

PMAtill_imDOA (October 21, 2009)

saw this in vancouver.
awesome awesome awesome

Blackjaw_ (October 21, 2009)

Well I didn't mean 'bad' as in poorly written, which is why I said no offense. As a huge fan of The Riot Before, it almost offends me or something to read a line like, "Words Written Over Coffee√Ę‚?¨¬Ě was a strong, catchy though folky ballad with lyrics apologizing both to mother and father." That song means so much more to me than that, and the lyrics go way deeper than you suggested. It's about Brett transitioning from the Christian faith to an agnostic/atheist one, and... yeah. I guess you did the best you could for not knowing the bands that well. It's just that most people would probably want to read a review from someone who's more familiar, that's all. Maybe I should have said 'relatively useless' review instead of 'bad' or something... I don't know. Sorry if I seem like a dick.

westcoastweasel (October 21, 2009)

Excuse the 2007 / 2008 fuck up. Brett from The Riot Before complained about all the Canadian coins and was happy to be out of that god forsaken country. I don't blame him on hating the coins.

As for the opening bands... I wasn't overly familiar with them, which I thought was more or less clear by what I wrote in the review. I went for one band, though chose to review them all. It was nice to be introduced to The Damage Done and The Riot Before.

Blackjaw_ (October 21, 2009)

thegreatestmanalive:

I live in Bowmanville (near Oshawa), but I went to Ottawa for two weeks because I plan to move there. I had to come back for a couple weeks to get my wisdom teeth out and some other stuff. You live in Ottawa?

TheChemist (October 21, 2009)

The SF show ruled. Never been to a AWS show when the crowd was THAT into it.

westofwaco (October 21, 2009)

"Hell yeah, I was totally at this show. Score is for how hot Studio 7's bartender was that night."

I was at this show too, the bar for most of the night, and if I remember correctly, ew. Couldn't get into Living With Lions at all.

thegreatestmanalive (October 21, 2009)

Blackjaw_ you live in Ottawa? Minds have been blown today

friokir (October 21, 2009)

career suicide was released in 2007.

Blackjaw_ (October 21, 2009)

Hmm this review is actually pretty bad, no offense to the writer... he just doesn't seem to know the bands well enough.

ecpresto (October 21, 2009)

AWS setlist from last week in SF, in order:

Bag of Dicks
Jaws 3, People 0
Soft Cell
Get Mad, You Son of a Bitch
Bodies as Suitcases
The Horse
Less Bright Eyes, More Deicide
These Dead Streets
When I Was Alive: Walden III
Skidrock
The King is Dead
Mute Print
Me vs. Morrissey
I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz
5-9
Killing It
The Rip
Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks

westcoastweasel (October 21, 2009)

Correction: My interview with A Wilhelm Scream is here: http://www.westcoastweasel.com/2009/10/informant-inquisition.html . The review is at the provided link above.

damnitsderek (October 20, 2009)

Hell yeah, I was totally at this show. Score is for how hot Studio 7's bartender was that night.

Blackjaw_ (October 20, 2009)

Wait what did The Riot Before say about Canada? I saw them in Ottawa on this tour... guess I didn't get too into it because I was with a friend who didn't really like any of the bands. I really wish I left him at the back and jumped in there, TRB are a really special band to me.

TheChemist (October 20, 2009)

2007's Career Suicide*********

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