Trap Them surprisingly started things at precisely 8:32 on this cold, rainy Thursday night. Why surprisingly? Well, the band's two full-lengths and a handful of EPs deep into their career, but had the slot before former labelmates Narrows. But T-squared made the most of the slowly budding crowd, hitting them with a barrage of head-banging, crusty hardcore-influenced metal. It didn't seem to be the best representation of their studio creations, which themselves are really an egalitarian melting pot of hardcore, metal, punk, grind, thrash, crust and D-beat; maybe the new alignment with Prosthetic Records foreshadows a new direction. It's maybe a little more one-sided, but it worked. It made the band's set perhaps a little less blistering, but no less intense, and still pummelingly heavy for a mere quartet. By the long, howled closer of the band's 31-minute set, frontman Ryan McKenney was draping the microphone into his mouth and toppling his drummer's cymbal to the stage.
Audience reaction improved when Narrows began a set of their own jagged, noisy metalcore. I was kinda looking forward to finally hearing former Botch frontman Dave Verellen recreate his menacing howl live, and, well, he did. I guess it just felt incomplete because it wasn't Botch. But not many others seemed to harbor frustration, and went off for the 32 minutes, opening the pit and wiling out to haunting cuts like "Chambered," "A Restoration Effect," "I Give You Six Months" and "Marquis Lights" as the band's own flashing floodlights illuminated their presence. I guess there were some Some Girls and Unbroken fans in attendance just excited to see ex-members' newest project in action. Verellen looks a little heavyset these days, but it did not slow down his ferociousness a bit; he stormed the stage and would embrace some fans up front here and there. Prettay, pretty good set.
It's wild I'd only seen Cave In once before (four years ago at the "old" Knitting Factory), but they did manage to do something again that irked me last time: play a questionably random set list. I know Antenna gets frequently dismissed by fans, but I think it's a really strong, formidable alt-rock record, and it was totally ignored. Similarly, 2005's Perfect Pitch Black might be looked at by hardcore fans as nothing more than glorified demos (as many of the tracks were just that), but it's a very solid album that combined some of the band's best traits to that point; it provided, however, just a single song.
But set list highlights were present. The straight rip of "Trepanning" made for an immediate, attention-grabbing opener, with bassist/vocalist Caleb Scofield roaring out the verses and vocalist/guitarist Steve Brodsky providing the quirky melodic chorus. And over the course of the set, the band would kick out the entirety of their new EP, Planets of Old, in tight form; it's a pretty great release, but I think two or three songs would have sufficed if it meant time for more Jupiter or Perfect Pitch Black. They even played a new new song, "Vicious Circle," which involved Scofield screaming throughout.
Jupiter, like the 2005 show, also just had one song here -- "Big Riff." Speaking of which: While things became a little ignorant in the crowd for heavy, mosh-inducing favorites of yore "Moral Eclipse" and "Juggernaut," a legit fight broke out during "Big Riff," which just seemed a little weird. The band's only comment came when Brodsky smirked disapprovingly and said, "Behave out there..."
I was happy to hear the anguished, atmospheric restraint of "Dark Driving" performed quite well, though, and it was semi-cool to hear the super rare "Inflatable Balloon"...admittedly, because, I'm pretty sure I'd never even heard it before. Some Cave In superfan I thought I was.
Overall, good show, but I do hope the "out of a hat" nature of the set list means the band is planning a 10th anniversary Jupiter tour for next year (seriously, why not?).
Set list (10:30-11:35):
- Air Escapes
- Vicious Circle [new]
- Cayman Tongue
- Dark Driving
- Retina Sees Rewind
- Moral Eclipse
- The Red Trail
- Big Riff
- [sounded like "Dead Already" to me, but the set list says "Summit Fever"]
- Inflatable Dream