Victory Records Tour - live in Charlotte, NC (Cover Artwork)

Victory Records Tour

live in Charlotte, NC (2002)

live show

Back in the early 1990's, Victory Records was known primarily as a home for straightedge hardcore/metal bands, due to the fact that their 3 biggest bands (Earth Crisis, Snapcase and Strife) all fit in that category. Now, in 2002, the label has diversified to include all facets of the current punk scene, as shown by this show.

The relatively new band Taking Back Sunday started the show, drawing a larger audience and better reception than one would expect from such a new band. They played solid emo, sounding like a cross between Thursday and Saves the Day. They have great stage presence, especially since no one in the crowd knew the songs.

Student Rick was up next. One of their two guitarist/singer's fathers had a heart attack, causing him to have to fly home, and the band to seek an assist from Chris from Reach the Sky. Their set was lackluster, probably because of the intra-band emergency. Mostly pretty mellow emo-type stuff, not horrible, but not very exciting.

Reach the Sky made sure that everyone knew that they were there to rock from the beginning. However, the crowd seemed mostly to be there to see the emo bands and Catch 22, so the calls for singalongs and circle pits fell on deaf ears. However, everyone who liked hardcore (including me) really got into it, with a decent pit and even some floorpunching. Plus, they get bonus points for lead singer Ian's bad jokes and the playing of Aerosmith riffs between songs.

Grade took the rock up another level, slamming the crowd with a non-stop set of their emo-metal. They also got a good response, and joked a lot about spring break and beer bongs (for some reason, this was a recurring joke among all the bands.)

Since they play here fairly often, Catch 22 has a decent local fanbase. Apparently, according to Brendan from RTS, kids have been going apeshit from coast to coast for these guys. He even likened it to seeing Sick of it All in 1992, with the kids killing each other while skanking in the pit. I stopped listening to ska a few years ago, but Catch 22 put on an amazing show, with a really brutal skank-pit (I never knew that (except for the Bosstones) a ska pit could get this crazy). They even threw in a little "Nothin But A G Thang" for the crowd. Their music is decent skacore, leaning more to the ska side, and they're great showmen.

All in all, I'm still tired from the show, so this review sucks. But, if this tour rolls to your town, check it out.