The lineup was Hank Jones, Crime In Stereo, Dead Hearts, and Modern Life Is War. The show was at Brave New World in Pittsburgh and it's actually a record store. I live out of town and had been to Brave New World to record shop once before, so I was thrilled to be able to do so as the bands played. There's nothing better than record shopping during bands you're not terribly interested in. Drinking doesn't count because I have to drive an hour and a half home and record stores don't sell booze anyways.
I was too busy vinyl hunting to stop and watch Hank Jones play. They are a hardcore band out of Erie, PA. I'm not a hardcore aficionado by any means, but I like my fair share. Their set did not stand out in any way to me. Very standard stuff to this listener. Of course, I probably couldn't properly describe hardcore styles if I had to, but this isn't a record review...
Hailing from New York, Crime In Stereo was up next. This is the band I was there to see and they didn't disappoint. The flyer for the show referred to them as melodic hardcore á la Avail and Strike Anywhere, and that's a reasonable comparison for those who haven't heard the band. The guitarists were content to mostly stand in place and the drummer was so stiff that it appeared he was struggling, but the musicianship was tight and the singer lacked no energy as he roamed around the whole time. The singer mentioned that he'd been steadiily losing his voice each day and it was apparent at times, but he got the job done. I think some more enthusiasm from the crowd of about 50 people would have helped, but sonically, they put on a very solid performance and I easily could have gone home happy at that point.
Dead Hearts were next, yet another hardcore act. They are from Buffalo and recently signed to Ferret. I was far more impressed with them than I expected to be. Having never heard the band before, the songs didn't particularly stand out as much more than well-played hardcore, but I thought their live show was quality. The singer had a nice, strong voice and the band played with enthusiasm. I expected to peruse the store some more during their set but they fully held my attention the whole time.
Modern Life Is War (out of Iowa) played last and really seemed to take it to another level. They sounded so much heavier than the other bands that I could have sworn they were playing through a different sound system. They put on a tremendous show with the most energy out of any band all night. The singer absolutely screams his brains out and his voice is incredibly powerful. He even stated towards the end of the set he thought he was going to pass out. He obviously exerts himself one hundred percent. (Well, the stifling heat due to the lack of air conditioning didn't help either). I pre-ordered their new album on vinyl a couple of weeks ago, so now I'm extra disappointed I wasn't more familiar with their songs, although I do have the ass-kicking tune "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." downloaded and it was every bit as good live as expected.
All in all, a great show. And it was over shortly after 9PM, which was a nice change of pace for a weekday show.
Crime in Stereo set list in no particular order and probably only partial:
- New Harlem Shuffle
- Long Song Titles Aren't Cool...
- Twice Daily to Prevent Nausea
- It Aint All Hugs And Handshakes
- Warning: Perfect Sideburns...
- Play it Loud Fuckers
- If You Think We're Talking About You...