I was particularly stoked on how solid show this looked to be, even after I found out the Wonder Years was replaced (I was honestly looking forward to them having learned and liking The Upsides). Sure, the Crazy Donkey has its various annoyances--a lack of free water; a barrier; a bizarre mish-mash of Long Island's various hardcore/"punk" subcultures; overpriced and sometimes ingredient-deficient grill items--but I've sort of gotten used to them by this point as long as the lineup was pretty good.
Valet Parking was the only pockmark of the night. The local act sounded tight and professional enough--only incredibly generic, too, doing a vigorous, melodic style that would be even more generous to call pop-punk than it already is for the post-New Found Glory class (as opposed to, say, the Ramones one).
Smartbomb was next. This band got inexplicably butthurt when I called them "decent" a few years back in another review. I wonder if they'd still be upset if I thought the same thing--they were, after all, pretty okay, but their speedy, gravelly melodic punk/hardcore never quite hit with the lasting impact they likely hope to achieve with it. Still, they were a nice filler between the mediocre local opener and the first major support slot (Smartbomb was on a stint of this tour, cycling among Make Do and Mend, Murdock and TWY). They played solidly for 25 minutes including cuts like "Barely Legal," "Who's the Terrorist Now?", "Worcester, Ma" and what I thought they called "Corrupted Youth."
Title Fight. Hoo boy. These kids'll be headlining venues this size in another year and a half, probably. The crowd, while unnecessarily rough at points and sort of silly with the mosh (as TF's sets are wont to be) , was absolutely explosive and responsive to the band's every note. Well, save a new song, maybe, and only because no one knew it. It was dubbed "Dreamcatchers" and the band said it'll be on a compilation called America's Hardcore (*snicker*) to be released by Triple B Records in the near future. It's got a few more tastes of the band's '90s emo influences with an emotive, restrained guitar-led bridge, but it's an otherwise super concise, speedily melodic jam. For the rest of the set, there must have been 40 kids losing their shit and several climbing over each other only to be grappled by security guards waiting in the wings by the barrier, The band always have a slight sloppiness and corrision to their live sets but it complements what they do finely. When their full-length finally hits (I'd guess early 2011, or super late this year) it'll be a hell of a thing.
Set list (7:52-8:16):
- Loud and Clear
- Dreamcatchers (new)
- Western Haikus
- No One Stays at the Top Forever
- Memorial Field
I haven't really listened to Comeback Kid's records in a few years, so I didn't know what to expect--especially as I haven't seen them since August 2005. I feel like they sort of fell off the radar as the promo cycle for Broadcasting... was extended and not much seemed to happen. That probably contributed to them falling out of my listening tastes a bit, too. But you know what? Those songs have held up well, and they were pretty awesome all the same. Their set was straight up, no frills. tight as hell and with few stops for them to even catch their collective breath. They played plenty off Wake the Dead and I was pleased to hear a few from Turn It Around, albeit the latter with a meatier feel rather than the crisp way the album goes. This Is Hell guitarist and Soldiers frontman Rick Jimenez came out to assist for "Talk Is Cheap"--I guess if there's any song Rick would be suited for, this one's it. The spot was especially sensible as I start to notice how similar Andrew Neufeld's voice really is to TIH's Travis Reilly's. Neufeld and Reilly both have that slightly panicked, grainy yell that suits this style of hardcore really well--a little bit heavy, slightly metallic and darkly melodic. The set got just as good a response as I'd expect the band to get years ago when they were ascending to the peak of hardcore popularity.
Set list (8:37-9:16):
Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends" aka "The Wonder Years" theme intro
- Partners in Crime
- Talk Is Cheap (f/ Rick Jimenez)
- Hailing on Me
- Die Tonight
- Our Distance
- All in a Year
- The Trouble I Love
- Because I'm All (?) (new)
- False Idols Fall
- Step Ahead
- Final Goodbye
- Wake the Dead
Being a long-time SYG fan, this set was perfect for someone like me. The band packed 20 songs into a precisely one-hour set (with no encore, thankfully): three from their demo; everything on Mutiny! except the one-minute "Echoes" prelude "Don't Let This Win Over You"; most of This Will Be the Death of Us; and the Jawbreaker cover. While they occasionally skipped a beat or cue and both co-vocalists Jordan Brown and Matt Wilson started to look a little tired in the third quarter of the set, it was forgiveable--they were really blasting through these songs.
They incited a few more circle pits and pogo sessions than I'd have liked, but this was probably one of the best times I've seen them. No Four Year Strong or A Day to Remember on the bill meant less selfish floor action and slightly more communal vibes in the crowd.
Granted they're doing "Do You Still Hate Me?" in ode to their Bay Area forebears this entire tour, but it seemed extra appropriate they were playing this on the unofficial Jawbreaker Appreciation Day (May 4th). I'd say they could've gone really meta and played "Sluttering" instead, but even less kids would have recognized it.
Set list (9:38-10:38):
- Reset (Intro)
- How 'Bout No, Scott?
- Goonies Never Say Die
- Work in Progress
- We Do It for the Money, OBVIOUSLY!
- An Old Book Misread
- Look Closer
- This Will Be the Death of Us
- Do You Still Hate Me? (Jawbreaker cover)
- Flight of the Navigator
- The Fallen...
- Gaia Bleeds (Make Way for Man)
- Summer Jam
- This Very Moment
- This Song Is Definitely NOT About a Girl
- Our Ethos: A Legacy to Pass On (f/ Andrew Neufeld)
- Dead Men Tell No Tales
- To Be Continued
Lots of people rightfully bemoan the off-setting contrasting of pop-punk and hardcore in recent years but this show provided an excellent example of when it can work well.