Being a big fan of any band and getting to see them live for the first time is usually an exhilarating experience. The crowd's energy seems to add to your thrill, and as soon as the first note hits through the PA, you become engrossed in the moment and engulfed in a sea of like-minded fans.
This was not the case with GBH. For some reason, the doors to the venue opened at NOON when GBH was slated to play at 10 p.m. There were four local bands on the bill. The Socialists from Port Saint John, FL were up first and payed homage to the Bouncing Souls by opening with the worst "True Believers" cover I've ever heard. They continued to obliterate every song they played and talked about practicing once in eight months. The bass player was tripping on Cloriceiden pills and didn't seem to know that they were even at a show. Terrible. So bad, in fact, that everyone left for the next hour to smoke in the parking lot. In doing so, most of the crowd missed the Cynix, another band lacking in originality and going off of the three-chord generic street punk format of late. I managed to catch about two identical songs before going next door to get a slice of pizza. I got back to the club in time for the Trash City Rockers to play, who were actually really funny and put on a great show of pure punk mayhem. Finally the crowd seemed to have some hope of a show that was worth coming to that early on a Sunday.
About 30 minutes after that, the clock read 5 p.m. and it was time for Moral Decline to take the stage. After drinking a few beers with the kids on the floor, the band climbed to the stage and did what can only be described as stealing the show. They didn't waste any time and got right to it, opening with their new song "Crime Inc." and crushing the entire set with no mercy. This set inspired the first pits of the day, as well. As soon as the music started, people began diving into each other with reckless abandon and beer went sailing. It was a great performance all around. I hope to see them a lot more in the coming months. I missed most of the Big City Bombers' set, who played right after MD because I went for some fresh air due to so many sweaty skinheads and punks gathering. I did catch their closing song, a much better version of "True Believers" than what the first band did.
DJ Will.I.Ain't spun some old Rancid, Op Ivy and other punk-friendly tunes for an hour while Outernational set up their gear. After the intermission, Outernational took the stage and played a great set of what they dub "future-rock," except it is way more reminiscent of the Clash than anything. Think Clash meets Iggy Pop. They played for around an hour with people dancing, dance/moshing, and throwing drinks at each other in good fun. There were some very Spanish-influenced songs in the set, culminating with their closer "The Fighting Song." I was able to meet them afterward and they were all very nice guys.
At this point in the night, I am guesstimating the number of skinheads by the number of pints of Guinness on the bar at any given point and watching a few punks fight outside of the club. This looks like it could get hairy. I anticipate GBH coming out to play at any moment when I notice that I should probably step back out of the pit area before it starts up again. As I run for the back of the club, GBH starts playing. The sound in the club was phenomenal, but GBH couldn't manage to stay on time with each other. Little things here and there were off, but nobody seemed to mind, with huge pits starting every new song. I was not impressed with their performance and every song seemed to sound identical with the exception of "City Baby Attacked by Rats." I remarked to someone nearby that I'd like to hear "Big Women," and they looked at me with confusion and explained that they played it 20 minutes ago. When the response to new material was not incredible, the singer kept telling the crowd to "shut up." He was very rude to the younger punks in the crowd, even stopping to call the fans "annoying" at one point. They slopped through every song they've ever written it seemed like, and afterward I overheard them talking about how much America sucks and how stupid Americans are--this right after the promoter handed them $3000. In addition to the most disappointing live show ever, the guys were dicks. If I was any younger, this probably would have devastated me and turned me off to punk rock in general. Oh well. At least I got to see Moral Decline put on a good show and pick up a CD from them. As for GBH, it seems they're no longer "charged."