Blacklisted / Verse / The Carrier - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Blacklisted / Verse / The Carrier

live in New York (2008)

live show

Having missed locals Probable Cause and Reclaim the Crown (unassuming acts I've previously witnessed), the Carrier was just getting into the swing of things as we walked into the Knitting Factory's Tap Bar area. I'll be honest: I found this band's demo promising, but I was shocked when I learned of Deathwish, Inc. inking them. However, they put on an impressive, intense performance here and garnered a hell of a reaction, with a number of kids gatering up front and shouting back lyrics. Perhaps it's fully warranted; granted, I haven't yet heard their full-length, One Year Later, released this past Christmas Day by Rock Vegas. They already have a followup 7", No Love Can Save Me, planned for release on Deathwish, which they played a song or two from. It's not a major change -- just more of their well-crafted, midtempo metallic hardcore in the tradition of Shai Hulud. Some awful thug mosh was stirring, but the band sounded great and the set was enjoyable.

The crowd movement practically died altogether for Verse though, which was a little disappointing in the sense that really nothing was happening at all. Maybe it was that, or the either extremely broken-up nature of the set (see below), but something seemed to be missing. Still, the band was pretty good and even threw in songs old (2004's Rebuild) and new (the upcoming Aggression). Though Verse were taking frequent breaks between songs, the guitarists were often toying with their instruments, playing soft, melancholic chords that helped establish a little more continuity. I fully expected Sean Murphy -- one of the more socially and politically conscious as well as outspoken figures of the genre -- to condemn the small swelling of violence that was beginning to occur at the show. After maybe two or three songs, he did just that by drawing a contrast between "the [metaphorical] fight out there" -- pointing to the doors -- and the fighting inside that shouldn't exist at all. While I have to give him major props for a rare instance -- in this scene, at least -- of preaching to the choir-less, his words seemed to fall on deaf ears. A fight between two females broke out maybe one song later, supposedly based on a drink being knocked out of one's hand. Despite the unified sing-alongs that were multiple enough to partially obfuscate his view, the frustrating look that spread across Murphy's face when he noticed the fight was really disheartening.

Set list (9:20-9:47):

  1. Rebuild
  2. Hard to Breathe
  3. -----
  4. new
  5. -----
  6. Weather to a Stone
  7. -----
  8. Lost
  9. -----
  10. From Anger and Rage
  11. -----
  12. Salvation (new)
  13. Tear Down These Walls
  14. Follow. Conform. Repeat.
Only 18 minutes later, a humorously George Hirsch waded out onto the front of the stage, not unlike another Phiadelphia figurehead. His in-between banter was, naturally, a little more economical than Murphy's, and it better allowed the band to knock out their brief blasts of balls-out intensity.

However, the meatheads reigned here supremely; the Tap Bar became a rec room of crowdpunches, confrontational cartwheels and "moshing on the edge," eventually culminating in a legit fight in the midst of "Eye for an Eye," which the band paused to allow a "resolving" of sorts. This has sort of become the Christian right of hardcore: Lots of sensible hardcore fans decry the sort of behavior, but it's so united and volatile that it seemingly can't be stopped. Is legitimately liking the music a dying trait?

But Blacklisted still played quite well, and while they couldn't quite capture the experimental flourishes of their new album, Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God (actually released that very day), the songs translated admirably. Hirsch's desperate declaration of "I just want to love myself" felt like it hit new depths of emotional revealableness with him standing in front of you and looking so vulnerable. And as expected, "Memory Layne" was fantastic; the speeding up of its first half makes it even more compelling and dynamic.

Set list (10:05-10:38):
  1. Circuit Breaker
  2. Ivory Tower
  3. I Am Weighing Me Down
  4. -----
  5. Long Way Home
  6. Finding Faith
  7. -----
  8. Tough Test
  9. -----
  10. Eye for an Eye
  11. -----
  12. Burning Monk
  13. Tourist
  14. -----
  15. Matrimony
  16. ?
  17. -----
  18. Canonized
  19. Memory Layne
So while select members of the NYHC scene (or beyond?) seemed to completely disregard some famous advisable words, the last three bands bore few detrimental qualities themselves.