We sauntered into Club Ritual as the Road Home was in the middle of their set. Apparently, the directions call for taking Mediocre Metalcore Boulevard, which turns into Rt. Late `80s / Revelation Highway about 3 lights down, the Awkward Melodic Part Bypass being optional.
A Global Threat came up next to entertain their legion of pyramid stud-clad street punks, who made sure a circle pit was in full rotation just as the feedback started to ring out at the beginning of the set. Their style of, well, street punk didn't seem quite as alive as it was the previous time I'd seen them; it was still fiery and energetic however, and made for a decent set.
Next was an experience that was sure to be interesting: With Honor's first New York City / Long Island-area set without recently departed vocalist Todd Mackey. Scream Out vocalist Kevin White was there in his place, and having seen the Mackey version of the band a few times before, it was a relatively strange sight to see. White is a young, fairly scraggly character with a mop of blond curls tucked under and backwards baseball cap. His voice was a decently powerful one with good range that fit the sound of latter-era With Honor, but his stamina was lacking, as he definitely seemed to struggle towards the end of the set. The crowd was certainly reactionary in a positive manner for songs like opener "Like Trumpets," "Gun for Hire," "Rethink, Return," closer "Bridges and Gaps," and one or two others off last year's This Is Our Revenge. However, when pile-ons weren't occurring, White's stage presence was sorely lacking, as he seemed to do little else besides walking softly about the stage, obviously surviving solely off the crowd's energy. Two new songs were played as well, which were exactly what anyone would expect; super melodic hardcore that's a slight progression from Revenge, but mostly in that vein. Only one catcall from the deep back of the audience rang out, so it seemed White was mostly accepted. A good if not slightly awkward set, as expected.
Now, Strike Anywhere? They may've only played 12 songs for their first show on Long Island since a 2000 gig with Kill Your Idols and Silent Majority, but it was easily the best I've seen them play. Something about the general atmosphere and a wealth of breathing room despite at least several dozen fans going off presented a generally spectacular vibe. The band played flawlessly as per the norm, with Thomas up front pointing the mic in all directions, and plenty of sing-alongs ensuing. Two new songs were tested on the crowd, both of which don't deviate much from the Exit English formula, and one of which was ultra-catchy if not a bit predictable/repetitive (a few in the crowd could be seen mouthing the hook as the song closed out); solid nonetheless. Thomas kept the political banter a modest minimum, but informative and relevant all the same, mentioning the recent advancement of Patriot Act-backed legal intrusions. Highlights included "Amplify" / "Blaze," "You're Fired," "Laughter in a Police State," and of course "Sunset on 32nd Street."
Set list (from the paper and accurate):
- YOU'RE FIRED
- STEAL [a star was drawn here next to it for some unknown reason]
- NEW ARCH.