Strike Anywhere / A Global Threat - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Strike Anywhere / A Global Threat

live in New York (2005)

live show

Strike Anywhere, Paint It Black, and Hot Cross in the same room on one night? At NYC's tiny, beautifully sized Knitting Factory? Damn it to hell if I was going to miss this.

Bad scheduling on my part caused me and my fellow show attendee to miss the first four songs of a short, 22-minute Hot Cross set. Bummer. I was thankful "Throw Collars to the Wind" was omitted altogether rather than played early, as it's usually a set list staple but missing here tonight, as well as one of my 3 favorite songs by the band. They're still in the early stages of their newly established four-piece status, but don't sound like it; their slightly raw and intense, throwback post-hardcore sounds just as good live as on record, even if around half the backup vocal lines weren't bothered with. The jumpy actions of the guitarist and vocalist Billy Werner's flailing about the stage looking like a puppet on strings (in a good way, as in, loose flopping around of his limbs) made for an entertaining 3 songs. And, these band's clean guitar leads are still ridiculously amazing. The breakdown of "Better a Corpse Than a Nun" is still a rather captivating one. Too bad more of the crowd wasn't into it. Here's the set list to the best of my memory; at least, regarding the last 3:

  • "Fortune Teller"
  • "Existence" (new demo)
  • ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • "Tacoma" (from a recent split 7" with the Holy Shroud and Fat Wreck's PROTECT benefit comp)
  • "Rejoinder" (also a new demo)
  • ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • "Pretty Picture of a Broken Face"
  • "Better a Corpse Than a Nun"
  • ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • what the set list reads as "MAIDEN," new song I believe

Paint It Black was next to tear shit up. I cheated before the set started, glancing at the set list to see FOURTEEN (14!) songs. Wow. A pretty ridiculous number for a band playing in the 2-of-4 spot, even for one whose songs have never once eclipsed the 2-minute mark on record. Dr. Dan only seems to have one singing pose, where he stands sideways and glares at the crowd as he holds out the mic and very seriously spits into it with a crazy look in his eye. His lack of variation in that one position was just fine, however, as his intensity was so high you could quite literally see several veins bulging nearly right through his neck. The hardcore punk veteran helped lead a furious charge through songs new and "old," with the more melodic, paced numbers from my favorite album of the year, Paradise, helping to mix things up wonderfully. The band had somewhere in the range of 2-to-3 dozen fans in attendance and it made the camaraderie all the more inclusive. At any given second, everywhere you looked a finger was pointing vertically. Definite highlights included "CVA," "Pink Slip," "Cannibal," and the anthemic, room-inviting finish to "Memorial Day." Great set, including a stellar Stella reference by the guitarist and bassist, and not just any reference ([heavy Italian accent]"I want a real fuckin' Brooklyn pizza!"[/heavy Italian accent]). Fucking great, expletive stressed. Set list:
  • Ghosts
  • CVA
  • Head Hurts Hands on Fire
  • -------------------------------------
  • Womb Envy
  • Pink Slip
  • The New Brutality
  • -------------------------------------
  • Cannibal
  • Panic
  • Angel
  • -------------------------------------
  • Void
  • Atticus Finch
  • 365
  • -------------------------------------
  • Burn the Hive
  • Memorial Day

A Global Threat was next, bringing out the street (fashion) punx by the dozens. Several dozen, anyway. I know next to nothing about these guys, so I'll keep it short: Their more-hardcore-influenced-than-usual streetpunk was enjoyable stuff, and they played downright solid. Circle pits and crowd movement were aplenty, if even their own fans didn't seem to recognize any songs until several tunes in. Still, it was quite a good set that kept things moving smoothly. Also, they did an encore and thanked Strike for letting them do such and take up a bit of their set time.

So here was my third time seeing Strike Anywhere, and I was looking forward to it just as much as the previous two. And boy, they delivered, confirming my belief that the RVA melodic hardcore outfit is a great, great live band, perhaps one of the top 5 in punk rock going. Their cohesiveness is ridiculously spot on, their energy is abundant, their playing is more together than some bands twice or more their experience, and their passion is conveyed in spades. The act walked onto stage and Thomas yelled at the tip-top of his lungs "TO LIVE IN DISCONTENT!" to which the crowd responded appropriately, "anti-establishment!" It was a greatly unexpected way to kick things off, and everyone in attendance seemed to agree. From there we were treated to a fantastic, rousing display. Thomas included some banter here and there, at one point giving information on how to sign up for a petition to prevent military recruiters from visiting school campuses, another time explaining how the No Child Left Behind Act is really a euphemism for a crude invasion of privacy. Some other banter of the non-political area included announcing a September 2006 release date (oof) for their forthcoming Fat debut, with the one new song played very much in the vein of Exit English, in the mid-to-fast tempo range. Fans who still prefer the older, rawer, less musically developed Strike may not be so stoked, as you can imagine. I couldn't get ahold of a set list, but I know for sure it included the following as well: "Chorus of One," "Timebomb Generation," "Refusal," "Sunset on 32nd" (of course), "Laughter in a Police State," "Chalkline," "Asleep," "Amplify" / "Blaze," "Infrared," "New Architects," "Modern Life," and "To the World" to close it out.

This was an incredible show and met just about every expectation I had. Even Dr. Dan, ever the hardcore fanboy as well as performer, was in the crowd for SA's set, diving from the stage a few times himself. It's this type of show and this variety of stellar bands that remind me why I got into punk rock.