Hot Water Music/Don't Look Down - live in Gainesville (Cover Artwork)

Hot Water Music / Don't Look Down

live in Gainesville (2004)

live show

I arrived at the show on time, but due to parking and the line at the door, I unfortunately missed Strikeforce Diablo. Although I haven't heard anything by this band, I'm pretty sure I missed a good thing due to the fact that Matt Sweeting (assholeparade, tired from now on, true north) plays with them. And, pretty much every band from Gainesville on No Idea is almost a sure thing for a fun live show.

I was a little bit worried about entering the new Common Grounds (you can skip this paragraph if you aren't from Florida). I loved the old coffeehouse, personally, and I can't say I was a huge fan of the covered dish. The place has been totally re-worked, however, and the sound and atmosphere were dead on. Nothing to worry about there.

The second opener was a group called Don't Look Down. You've heard this sound before. Rhythm guitar playing slightly chuggy but upbeat power chords in drop D while the other guy is playing solos on the high strings. Vocals kinda singing without trying to sound like he is. This band wasn't bad, they were just not good. They could definitely play their instruments, but their presence and lyrics were pretty bland. I was digging them a little at first but was turned off by the fact that the lead singer could talk only in cliches (How are you Gainesville?! This one's a rocker! This is probably the greatest show we've ever played, thank you so fucking much! Give it up for the opening band!) and they mentioned the merch table between literally every song. We have a new CD, buy it! This is a new song, on our new CD, which you should buy! We have to buy gas... so.... buy our stuff!... etc. Anyway, they were loud, and there were a bunch of Warped Tour-y looking kids having a good time. The rhythm section wasn't half bad. This paragraph is unorganized. Oh yeah, also, Don't Look Down took almost 45 minutes to set up because they are rock and rollers.

After some enjoyable music over the loudspeakers including (appropriately) Leatherface, Avail and Tiltwheel, and pretty short set up time, Hot Water Music came out to the introductory sample from No Division. (If you haven't heard it, and don't know why it would be appropriate, I suggest you buy/download the album. You shouldn't be disappointed) and kicked right into the first song off that album, "Southeast First." The rest of the night was a prime example of how a band benefits from being around for 10 years and more than 130 songs (or so Scott counted). Upbeat, older songs (thought not as many old ones as anyone in the crowd would like, I'd think) were mixed skillfully in between the newer, more laid back and pounding tracks. I have to say, I am not a huge fan of Brian McTernan's work with the band - the tracks come off so much more driving live, the vocals harsher, the guitars louder, the percussion more urgent. The band also played Fenders for the bulk of the night - maybe my memory is fading, but I always remembered them playing Gibsons all the time.

In the crowd, there was no one quesitoning the band's integrity or criticizing them for "changing" their sound. There were just people, glad to be there, singing along, and a band playing their hearts out, still in love with the sweat and the heat after an entire decade. The choruses were fucking huge, the riffs were fucking slicing, the dualing vocals were fucking goosebump-inducing, the dance was fucking on, and the water was fucking free (score).

The highlight of the set came at the end of the encore. Chuck said that they were going to dedicate a new song to his fiance, but after a short band discussion, he came back and said they'd changed their mind. I was expecting one of the staple older songs that they hadn't played yet - Free Radio Gainesville, Turnstile, Just Don't Say You Lost It, maybe Manual. The crowd went nuts when the beginning of "220 Years" hit us like an anvil, and it sounded just as fresh as it did eight years ago.

In short, if you were ever a fan of the band, or honest music in general, don't pass up a chance to see these guys, even if your not a huge fan of their most recent work. I'll have to admit, I was not Caution or The New What's Next's biggest fan, but now when the discs spin all I can think of are dim lights and pile-ons. Not to mention, they seem to be the best out there at mixing in a good amount of older material at each different show. Recommended.

Oh yeah, and they had a voting registration table. Everyone should get on that.

Set List (more or less in order):
"Southeast First"
"Paper Thin"
"No Division" (dedicated to the new Common Grounds)
"Under Everything"
"The Sense"
"At the End of a Gun"
"Jack of all Trades"
"Flight and a Crash"
"All Heads Down"
"Keep it Together"

"Kill the Night"
"Better Sense"
"220 Years"