River City Rebels - live in Danbury, CT (Cover Artwork)

River City Rebels

live in Danbury, CT (2002)

live show

Living in Connecticut, I find that it's hard to see a good show unless you want to make an hour-plus trip somewhere. Sure, there's the El-N-Gee and the Webster, and places in the city, but I'm too lazy to make the trip. I probably shouldn't be whining about the lack of good shows in that case, but that's besides the point. Here, in a crappy little town not far from Danbury or Norwalk, the best place to find bigger bands (by bigger I mean not local) is the Empress Ballroom. While it's basically some abandoned warehouse with horrible acoustics, some larger bands have found their way there. Bigwig has played there several times, and the River City Rebels have been there a total of three times I think. Anyway, that's just a little background on the venue and my hate for Connecticut.

The first five bands were pretty much horrible. One was pop punk, one was indie/emo with random screaming, and the other three were pop punk. I think most of them were local, one was from Pennsylvania, and I actually don't remember/care about any of the bands' whereabouts. I don't remember any of their names either. The last three of the five were all pop punk trios and it was hard to distinguish when one left and another took the stage. Luckily, at Empress the side walls have old couches and beat-up chairs for people to sit on. I took a seat for most of the evening until the Rebels hit the stage. Boy, was I in for a treat!

Not really. The Rebels' set was good, but way too short. They must have played for only twenty minutes, and they were headlining. Well, can't win ‘em all! The set included "Hate", "Religion", "No Good", "Should Have Been Aborted", "That's The Way It's Gotta Be" (the closer), and probably five others. I don't have the new album and they played some other songs off of that. They played with intense energy though. Singer Dan O'Day jumped into the pit when "That's The Way It's Gotta Be" started and stayed there for the remainder of the song. They sounded on-key and got everyone involved in every song (mainly due to the easy-to-learn singalongs). There was this one guy who just let loose and kicked everyone's ass. I got punched in the stomach numerous times; all in good fun though. The band complained about a group of people who were sitting on the couches during their set. The group of kids were pillow-fighting, to be exact. Oh boy, you wouldn't believe it, but Dan O'Day sure told them off! There were only like thirty kids there to begin with, and to see some kids pillow-fighting must've gotten his goat. It's understandable.

All in all, it was a decent show. I didn't like how I had to sit through five shitty bands, but I guess I could have just arrived later. Maybe next time. The Rebels could've played longer, but it was good for what it was. They are nice guys, after the show my friends and I talked to them and they said if we wanted they'd put us on the guest list for the next night's show, in Madison. It was enticing, but I didn't feel like making the drive. They were probably just joking anyway. If they're in your area, catch ‘em if you can. They're not exactly the best band ever but they put on a good show.