The Living End / Bombers / Days of Rage - live in Levittown (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Living End / Bombers / Days of Rage

The Living End / Bombers / Days of Rage: live in Levittown

live in Levittown (2006)

live show


4
The Living End delivered a mild disappointment with their middling new album, State of Emergency, but still, it was hard to deter me from going to see a band I once considered (and still do to an extent) an all-time favorite in such a mind-bogglingly intimate state. The last time I'd seen the Austra...

The Living End delivered a mild disappointment with their middling new album, State of Emergency, but still, it was hard to deter me from going to see a band I once considered (and still do to an extent) an all-time favorite in such a mind-bogglingly intimate state. The last time I'd seen the Australian trio it was May 2001 opening for Green Day at one of New York City's biggest indoor concert venues with a standing room floor (Hammerstein Ballroom). Here at Club Ritual in Levittown, NY, they played a stage that was no more than two feet high and 20 feet wide, under a ceiling that couldn't have been higher than eight to 10 feet -- along with a crowd that couldn't have been much higher than 60 at its peak. For this type of setting it was rather surreal to watch a band I'd been a fan of for so long that's essentially the Green Day of their home country.

It seems as though the band hasn't brought along a real support act with them on this current U.S. tour, so a meager two area bands got the chance to open for the punkabilly stars. Usually the booking companies around these parts will load up the show with a staggering number of openers, so it was refreshing to have a simple three-act lineup.

First up was Days of Rage. I was getting a weird Boys Night Out / iffy nü-emo vibe at first, which lingered a little bit through the set, but after a few songs it was clear the band's modus operandi was more melodic punk/hardcore in the vein of major label-era Rise Against. That and the four-piece's frontman was practically Tom Rheault's (No Trigger) vocal doppelgänger. The songs were a little raw and pretty scrappy, but I didn't mind the 32-minute set, and they seemed to have a solid political fervor about them as well.

Next was Bombers. Coincidentally enough I'd just heard of them earlier in the day after receiving a press release regarding their support dates with Bayside. I didn't actually listen to them at the time, but their MySpace had listed them as "indie / pop / punk;" thus I assumed they played some type of unassuming indie pop. I'd also say that was pretty far off base. The first couple songs from the three-piece sounded sort of like the album Alkaline Trio is on pace to make in another five years; one of the guys sounded so much like (albeit, a little underdeveloped) Bayside's Anthony Raneri I was convinced it was either him or a direct relative. Their drummer even looked like Dan Andriano -- complete with Andriano's new snazzy glasses. But here's the thing: halfway through they played some weird power-pop song that began with a line talking about alligators -- and the next had dance beats. I didn't really know what to think. While they promised two more songs, I suppose their time was up and the set was forced to end abruptly. I bet their 10-15 friends and family that left immediately after they played were pretty pissed; I couldn't really remotely give a shit, obviously. Not horrible per se, but I've spent better 15 minutes.

At this point I still hadn't a clue to the actual lineup going down that night, but once I caught a surprising glimpse of that black stand-up bass I was thrilled; the Living End's instruments were taking their respective places on the stage. At 9:04 the trio modestly walked on to rousing applause for the crowd of 40 -- the number of people standing anywhere in or near the vicinity of the stage. Honestly, it's been a while since I've seen a band play as flawless as them; I was well aware I was witnessing one of punk's most talented acts, but it wasn't until a song in the encore that it sounded like they actually missed a note -- and I think even that was due to an out of tune guitar. They played what I felt were the better songs off State of Emergency too, and all came off splendid in the live setting -- even the quasi-ballad "Nothing Lasts Forever" thanks to its ridiculous hook. The audience benefited from the intimate setting in more ways than one: The band acknowledged and played two requests, both of which were from a single patron; "Fuck the set list," cracked Chris Cheney before tearing into "Monday" with the rest of the band. In the other request, the band offered a long, methodical pause before launching into the big stomp of "Uncle Harry." "All Torn Down" found the band delivering a fantastic, extended bridge, Cheney wailing away like a modern day Johnny B. Goode there and during an instrumental (which may or may not have been "Hellbound," doubtful though) where he held a foaming beer in one hand and his dancing pick in the other. Scott Owen rode his big bass effortlessly during "Second Solution," and Cheney even hopped on without a hitch for the final cut, "West End Riot" (though I'd have preferred another riot, the one on Broadway). Andy Strachan deserves a mention too for holding it down so consistently too.

The Living End is great in any setting, granted, but for an hour and 20 minutes in a tiny club in America's premier suburban town, you won't often get better parameters.

Set list (9:04-10:04):

  1. 'Til the End
  2. Roll On
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  3. We Want More
  4. Who's Gonna Save Us?
  5. What's on Your Radio?
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  6. All Torn Down
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  7. Into the Red
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  8. Nothing Lasts Forever
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  9. Second Solution
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  10. Monday [request]
  11. instrumental
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  12. Long Live the Weekend
  13. Prisoner of Society
    Encore (10:07-10:24):
  14. Wake Up
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  15. Uncle Harry [request]
  16. West End Riot