Dillinger Four/Toys That Kill/Rivethead/The ShakeDowns - live in Baltimore (Cover Artwork)

Dillinger Four / Toys That Kill / Rivethead / The ShakeDowns

live in Baltimore (2002)

live show

Let me begin this review with a warning: due to all that happened that night, this will probably be very long. Stay with me though, the good stuff comes at the end. Trust me...

I arrived at the Ottobar (best venue in Baltimore) about a half hour before the show started so i could be sure to catch local bands the Springfields and the Shakedowns. I came alone that night, much to my annoyance. My friend called that morning and said he had classes that he couldn't miss and my other friend assured me he'd come right on down after work. Fair enough.

So I pay my $9, get a free D4 poster, recieve a pair of big black X's on my hands (I'm 19), and head on inside. The crowd is sparse this early, just about everyone there was either an employee or member of a band. I head over to the bar, grab myself some water, position myself in front of the television, and watch NBC in wait of the Spingfields set.

Twenty minutes and three cigarettes later, the Springfields are finished the sound check and are ready to rock out. I head on down to the floor area where a small crowd is already gathered and the band kicks it off. Before this show, my only exposure to the Springfields was a few MP3's on my computer so i wasn't sure exactly what to expect. I was pleasently surprised. The band play a very rough edged pop-punk that was catchy without being too poppy. The band ripped through about 25 minutes worth of songs before they called it quits.

While waiting for the Shakedowns to set up, i went back to the same spot i was before and began thinking how much it sucks being alone at a show. As i was casually watching the television, i heard a rather noisy crowd drinking heavily behind me. I snuck a glance and saw an incredibly drunk heavy-set guy doing the goofiest dance for the amusement of those at his table. I thought the guy looked a hell of a lot like Paddy from Dillinger Four, but dismissed that from my mind promptly. Nobody can perform that drunk.

Finally, after a seemingly endless wait, the Shakedowns are ready to go and i head back down. I notice the crowd is starting to fill out a bit more and people are entering steadily. My experience of the band before hand was limited. As with the Springfields, I just had a few MP3's on my hard drive and that was it. Once again, I proved to be pleasantly surprised. The Shakedown's play a roaring, punk-infused rock and roll sound that's not without a thick layer of sleaze. The band bounced around the stage while kicking out catchy-as-hell rock grooves that nobody could resist moving to. The singer reminded me of a chubbier Mick Jagger, which was what he was going for apparently. After about a half hour or so of playing, the guys closed with particularly loud and satisfying rock and roll finale. All in all, an excellent set.

Up next was Rivethead. I have never heard of the band so i wasn't quite sure what to expect. I head up to the little "balcony" (or whatever the fuck you call it) that hangs about 10 feet from the ground and is off to the left (audience's left) of the stage. It's a good place to watch the band if you find a good spot as it is very close to the action. You could reach out and touch the guys if you so desired to. Unfortunately, i didn't get a great spot up there so i settled for a less than perfect view instead of going down to the floor. I wanted to steal someone's seat when they got up after the set (and they always do) so i could get a good view for Toys that Kill.

Rivethead played a good set. Nothing too impressive, it was just your standard pop-punk. They played a few songs that were very good but the majority was just mediocore. Not bad but not good either. Losing interest rather quickly, I spent the majority of their set looking at my watch and wondering what the fuck happened to my friend that was supposed to arrive over an hour ago. I was starting to get a little worried.

Well, after Rivethead finished, i called my friend's place to see if he was home. "Hey man, sorry, I'm exhausted and I don't feel like driving down to Baltimore tonight. I'll catch ya tommorow". Ya, ya, fucker. Half the fun of going to a show is enjoying it with other people so naturally I was a little angry. Still, I refused to let it ruin my show.

I hurried back up to the "balcony" and the crowd had cleared out as i predicted. I grabbed the perfect seat right above the stage and watched as Toys that Kill set up their equipment. I sat there for a few minutes when i heard some heavy foot steps coming my way. It was the chubby dancing guy at the bar. He plops down next to me and says, "Hi, I'm Paddy. Who are you?". "Adam." I responded. "The Paddy from D4?" I ask. A big, drunken grin spreads across his face and he nods. He then offered me some of his rum, which I gladly accepted and we took turns taking sips. He then began to go into how much he loves this place, how much he loves being drunk, and how much he loves Toys that Kill. "They're my favorite band ever man! This is gonna be awesome!". Meanwhile, I'm just thinking about how cool it is that I'm drinking with the legendary St. Patrick himself.

After shouting plenty of obscenities at the band and after much passing of the glass of rum between us, Paddy looks over at me and says, "This is how we say hello in Minnesota". He stands up, pulls the back of his shorts down so his bare ass is exposed, and proceeds to climb out over the railing and shove his ass in the band's faces as they set up. After getting a good laugh from Toys that Kill, the crowd, and myself, he pulled himself back inside the balcony and sat down. After a few more minutes of screaming at the band, he looked over at me with a dead serious look on his face and said, "Did you hear Johnny Unitas died? That fucking sucks! I've been talking about that all night." Apparently, he's a big football fan and was very upset over the Baltimore/NFL legend's death. He takes a big sip of rum looks over at me and finally notices the fact that I have huge X's markered on my hands. "So you're under 21?". I nod. "Here, drink some more.", he says.

Finally, Toys that Kill were ready to go. I'm somewhat familiar with the band. I own a few FYP records, so i guess that counts as familiarity. They rip into their first song and Paddy nudges me. He gives me this grin and a "this-is-gonna-be-awesome" look which i returned. They played an excellent set. Very tight and lot's of fun. Of course my perception could have been slightly altered by having the very drunk and very funny bassist/singer of one of my favorite new bands headbanging to every beat next to me. About 1/3 of the way through their set, Paddy nudges me and drinks just about all of what's left of the rum (leaving a little bit) and hands me the glass. "Kill it." he says. So I finish it off, and thank him for the drink.

A few moments later, Paddy is out on the balcony again. This time he jumps off of the balcony onto the stage. Toys that Kill continue on while he dances around like a lunatic and occasionally steps up to the mic to add some vocals. After a song or two he disappears off to the side of the stage. The band rips through a few more songs and then I look down over the balcony and see a bottle get chucked up on stage. The man of the night comes back on stage again, this time with two members from Rivethead right behind him. Chaos ensues.

The three guys jump and wrestle and fall all over the stage, performing hilariously exaggerated mock sexual acts on each other (Paddy, of course, recieved the brunt of the faux-butt-rape). Somehow he managed to get his pants halfway down his ass, the front of his shirt pulled up over his head (revealing his "How much art can you take?" tattoo across the chest), and a beer bottle hanging and swaying out of his asscrack. He of course managed to get a good mooning of the crowd in before exiting. Anyway, this shit continued on for quite a while and was incredibly entertaining. Toys that Kill had a helluva memorable set to say the least.

The band somehow finished up with everyone in tact. No deaths or broken limbs to speak of. Pretty amazing, really. By the time Dillinger Four came out, the Ottobar was positively packed. It didn't take the band too long to set up their instruments. Well, everyone did it rather quickly except for Paddy. It seemed it took him about 10 minutes just to tune his bass, he also managed to get a guitar cord stuck in his case, and kept trying to speak into the mic's that were off. I was beginning to wonder how the fuck he was going to be able to play this drunk.

My worries were alleviated a few minutes later when they kicked off their show with a flawless version of "Noble Stabbings". I ran down in the pit to get in on the action that was already taking place. I don't particulary remember every song they played as I was a little distracted by the sweaty bodies and limbs flying all around me. I would say about half of the songs they played were from the new album and the other half was split equally between "Midwestern Songs of the Americas" and "Vs. God". They played incredibly well. Paddy, of course, was the center of attention once again, ranting and raving about everything and anything he could think of between songs. The guy is fucking hilarious. He went off on how much Victory Records sucks, the Warped Tour sucks, Emo sucks ("That music is fucking boring"), Johhny Unitas' death sucks (he dedicated just about every other song to the guy), getting fired sucks ("Everyone in here has either been fired or doesn't give a fuck if they get fired." As they broke into "Fired-Side Chat") and about how the rumor is that punk rockers don't know how to have sex.

After what seemed like not long enough, Paddy said that they would close the set with an Emo song and the guitar part for "Putting the F back in Art" (if memory serves me correctly) began to play as he did his best to make a sad, crying face. After an excellent performance that had everyone chanting "Walk Awaaaaaay", they said that song was a bit premature, they forgot a song. Paddy said whoever could do the best "crazy homeless guy" dance (which he demonstrated) would win some free shit. So they tore into a song from "Midwestern Songs" which i can't remember the name of (the titles are too fucking long!) and the crowd erupted. There were people on each other's shoulders, people climbing on the stage posts, people attempting to crowd surf, and the most vicious moshing of the night. And of course a few people attempting the crazy dance. Lots of beer got flung into the crowd soaking my hair and shirt and making the floor very slick. When they finished the song, the winner of the contest was hard to miss. This guy that was about 7 feet tall was going nuts doing this dance. So when the song was over Paddy half jumps, half falls into the crowd and slips on the beer soaked floor falling on his ass and rolling around right next to me. I try to help him up and slip and fall right on top of him along with some other guy. After much struggling we make it to our feet and Paddy takes this giant dude over to the merch table for his free shit.

After grabbing some merch myself, i head out onto the street letting the cool night envelope me. As i walked to my car, I couldn't help but grin. This was one of the best shows I had ever been to and it's definitely something I won't be forgetting anytime soon.