A Wilhelm Scream / Heartsounds - live in Rockville Centre (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

A Wilhelm Scream / Heartsounds

live in Rockville Centre (2010)

live show

I have Man the Change's EP sitting somewhere around here for review and remember being relatively impressed upon my sole listen. So I ensured I would get to this show in time for them and made it pretty much on the dot. They kicked off this show (post-metalcore local openers) with a fairly promising sound that resembled a collision of the No Trigger, Small Brown Bike and Bigwig demos. The only thing that really bugged me was how loud their one co-vocalist was mic'd compared to his bandmate. It was borderline obnoxious.

Ink & Lead followed. One of the newer Hot Water Music-esque upstarts out on Long Island, they play a faster, slightly hardcore-inspired version that made a lot of sense on this lineup. But it was kind of a bummer, since they said it was their last show (unexpected, to me anyway) and they were down a guitarist (and the lone guy had technical issues). Plus, most of the band's few followers didn't even seem to be there for their buddies' farewell. They still sounded ruggedly good for the songs they plowed through from both their demo and split LP with Sister Kisser.

Heartsounds had a surprisingly big reaction. Maybe I just forgot about their Epitaph signing, which could have either resulted in a bit of a following or helped act as the cause for the inking in the first place. Anyway, they all were super into the band's scrappy, poppy take on '90s skatepunk with hints of guitar wizardry. They busted out three-fourths of their 2009 full-length, Until We Surrender, with polite but charged sing-alongs coming from the crowd in front of them. The band played pretty tightly, unraveling their harsh lyrics through super melodic jams.

Set list (8:48-9:21):

  1. Our Last Hope
  2. Walking Dead [?]
  3. Slave to a Heart That Strays
  4. Reoccurring Grey
  5. ?
  6. I Climbed for Miles
  7. Until We Surrender
  8. The Song Inside Me

There was a theme this week of seeing awesome bands in smaller venues and A Wilhelm Scream continued it. Usually they're playing in NYC at the Knitting Factory when they come around this way, but they came a little further east to play the Vibe Lounge, a pretty tiny place (~150 cap) near the Rockville Centre train station. I wasn't sure how the turnout would be, honestly, being this is kind of a pseudo-market for them, but oh, people came out. Most packed out the front; others formed a push-pit for most of the set; several others did the best they could to dive off an eight-inch stage and otherwise get horizontal on the crowd.

Song titles were shouted out to the band pretty much the entire time. But AWS didn't ignore all of them (as they did for hearty, relentless requests for "Diver"); when they ended their set with "Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks" (a woefully underrated cut from 2004's Mute Print), they were informed they had time for another, and obliged the crowd's mouth-foaming with "The Rip."

All the while, though, the band, well, ripped. What's more to say? Speedy punk with a melodic hardcore flair and precision playing, through the exhilarating pace of cuts like "9 to 5," "The Horse" and "Me vs. Morrissey...". The set list spanned the band's most recent three LPs, plus their newer self-titled EP, so fans of every shade seemed sedated.

Set list (9:37-10:24):
  1. Career Suicide
  2. When I Was Alive: Walden III
  3. Australias
  4. Get Mad, You Son of a Bitch
  5. The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks
  6. Skid Rock
  7. Me vs. Morrissey in the Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)
  8. I Wipe My Ass with Showbiz
  9. 5 to 9
  10. Dreaming of Throwing Up
  11. The Horse
  12. The King Is Dead
  13. Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks
  14. The Rip