Maxeen/Don't Look Down/Somerset - live in Galesburg (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Maxeen / Don't Look Down / Somerset

live in Galesburg (2004)

live show

It's funny. No matter how far in the middle of nowhere a show might be, or how few people might be in attendance, there will always be "that guy." Last night at Knox College in tiny Galesburg, Illinois, out of the 30 or so people who came to watch the rock show, one was proudly wearing a Maxeen shirt. Amazing.

So with that amusing anecdote out of the way, it's time for the rock, and rock Somerset did. This Minneapolis quartet tore through a few songs off their This Thought Process EP, as well as all three of their new demos. The band's sound - intense, driving emotional punk rock motivated with introspective and political lyrics - never gets tired in these ears. They even ran through two new songs, "Clockwork" and another whose name I missed. Both show boatloads of promise for the band's impending full-length. Still worthy of the "best unsigned band in America" tag, hands down.

The surprise of the night came next, in Don't Look Down. This Nitro Records band had an off-night from their opening spot on the current Rufio tour and graced Knox with their presence. I remember not liking their last EP very much, thinking it was a bit too bland and a bit too pop-punk, but live Don't Look Down was an entirely different beast. Their set consisted of heavy, melodic skatepunk that was heavy on the low-end and breakdowns. Very Thrice-esque, only without the screaming or wailing metal solos. I wasn't a fan before, but I definitely came away one.

Finally, the Los Angeles trio known as Maxeen set up and launched into "Gettaway" off their 2003 self-titled debut. The energy was high from the first note stung by guitarist Shannon and the first note sung by bassist/vocalist Tom. The trio's Police influence shone through loud and clear during their set, with all three vocally harmonizing as well as throwing in extended jam-outs during songs like "Love Goes A Long Way."

Maxeen ran through 11 out of the 12 songs on their album [woefully neglecting "Delete Lola"], but finished strong with a new song entitled "Get Set." If this track is any indication of what the band's future material will sound like, Maxeen's follow-up LP will surely be on many of our Top 20 lists come 2005.

Three bands, three great performances, totally free show. Not bad for a Monday night.

Love Goes A Long Way
Take The Weight Off
White Flag
Shuffle My Feet
Poison June
Lead Not Follow
Good Enough
Get Set