Strike Anywhere/The Code/The A.K.A.s - live in Erie (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Strike Anywhere / The Code / The A.K.A.s

live in Erie (2004)

live show

This past Friday I spent my entire day in the armpit of America otherwise known as Cleveland for the 10th Anniversary of the Warped Tour. For the most part it was a fantastic afternoon spent enjoying a lot of good music and hanging out with friends. However, the hot sun, expensive food, crowded venue, and short sets really got me eager for a good club show.

On my summer quest to do whatever it takes to seek out the rock ‘n roll, a handful of us from Pittsburgh hoped on I-79 North to Erie for the boring two hour drive in hope that a few bands would bring the Forward Hall to it's knees.

Opening the evening up were A-F record's New Mexican Disaster Squad. Immediately pummeling the crowd with their early 80's DC hardcore and they refused to let up. Two new songs that fit the theme of the band infiltrated a set list made by a majority of songs from their self-titled debut. Despite NMDS rallying everyone up and setting the pace for a perfect night of rock ‘n roll the decision of having them open wasn't the best.

Welcome theSTART. Three gentlemen took the stage and it appeared as if the punk rock vibe was headed out the door to make way for some fashion based music. Then some girl came out of nowhere, picked up the microphone and requested the kids do a little hardcore dancing. While there is a lot of energy in the heart of vocalist Aimee Echo there music didn't do much for me or anyone in the crowd actually. The politically fueled indie-rock didn't feel right or fit in during a hardcore punk show so most of us were quick to right them off. I will give them credit for their lively onstage presence though.

Taking the stage next where the A.K.A.s, they took the punk from NMDS while mixing the rock from theSTART and knocked a ton of Erie kids on their backsides with a top notch live performance. Vocalist Mike Ski told the fans a little story about house his father asked him when he was going to get a real job. To which Ski asked the rest of his band mates if they were ready to get to work. Politics served as a platform for the band, but it was their vigor that played as heart and soul shown by the enthusiasm they played with. I even got "Generation Vexed" dedicated to my fauxhawk or something about Apple computers. As their time atop the stage came to the final moments Ski decided to tear it apart bringing the keyboards and drums to the floor for one last blow to their set.

Erie natives the Code were welcomed back home with a roar from the packed Forward Hall. The vibe beaming from a homecoming show is one stellar feeling, but when said even actually occurs watch out! Everyone in the venue went crazy as the punk-ska outfit ripped into "Know Your Enemy," Marc was easily drowned out by the hoards of fans singing along. The intensity mixed with energy never left the band or the crowd as songs "Riot", "Alert Aware Involved", "Revolution Now" among many others graced the sweat dripping ears. Although they finally recorded a cover on their new EP, the Code brought the Operation Ivy classic "Unity" out of their live show's retirement for one last memorable recital. These guys are one hell of a live band and terrible to take photos of as they never stop moving, jumping, or running around the stage. Closing their set with the usual "Brian's Song" really left their friends and fans pleased with one of their preeminent presentations to date.

Even though a few kids trickled out of the hall the peak moment of the evening was yet to occur, I feel bad for them. It's been a longtime coming for me but I finally tracked down Strike Anywhere live and now I fully regret not seeing them at every chance I get. The dual track "We Amplify / Blaze" started a forty five minute whirlwind of punk rock. The remainder of the crowd backed the force Thomas Barnett's vocal chords word for word while his counterparts gave ‘em a reason to dance. Choice chunks from both Change Is A Sound and Exit English were torn into during a flawless set list. "To The World" demanded a fist pumping chant and delivered like none I've ever saw in the past whereas "Timebomb Generation" made way for nice circle pit action. Closing out with "Refusal" everyone let Strike Anywhere know that Erie will always welcome them back in the future, as the crowd let their passion show during the waning seconds of a perfect night.

The combination of two tours brought an odd assortment of music to the table that put on a charisma similar to that of the Warped Tour. A lot of different sounds and looks coming from all directions, but the fervor for live music brought the fans and bands together. I commend all the acts on the memorable evening for pulling off one of the better shows I've had the pleasure of attending.

New Mexican Disaster Squad
The A.K.A.s
The Code
Strike Anywhere

The Code – Brian's Song
Strike Anywhere – Chalkline
Strike Anywhere – Refusal