It is only by some unforseeable providence of [insert your deity] that I managed to get in this show. Having completely spaced on the date, and learning it was sold out, I still went to the venue anyway, because why not? I work up the street from it now anyway. With the help of some friends, I patrolled up and down the line in search of tickets, with a hastily scrawled sign in hand that read “Need 2 Tickets. Whill Pay”, since I and another were joined in struggle. My Anthony Fantano-looking accomplice paid $40, I paid $20, and the Spaniard, who was present at a whim and originally had no designs of attendance, got in for free after waiting just for the sake of having nothing better to do. Fuck that guy.
Look at that self-assured lionesque sneer. Ripe for a sneering back.
The true openers were Slingshot Dakota, but the ‘truer’ opener was a bizarre 4-piece group that went under the name of “Youth Sex Cult” or something like that. I’m not gonna spend all my time google-fu’ing it, because I’m sure it was a gag put on by the other bands to fill everyone’s dose of “WTF” for the day. The “singer” swayed back and forth like a tree in an evil wind, both hands slightly cupped, containing burning candles, all the while warbling in a tone that begged surreal quality. The bassist plucked an odd rhythm while the guitarist churned out simple but dark riffs, changing them to fit their caprices. An auxiliary member played programmed beats from a laptop computer. All wore black cloths to conceal their heads. It was something between ritualistic drone meanderings and psychedelic leaning rumbles and audio gleams that just smelled of “This is art, man, and we don’t care because we’re taking it as seriously as you are”. At least I hope.
Anyway, Slingshot Dakota, perhaps one of the more unique acts that can claim the Pop-Punk/Melodic Hardcore tag, was a just-married-as-of-the-night-before-the-show duo of some of the cheerier people to take the stage that night. Happy-go-lucky synth lines meld sensibly with drum lines that hearkened to 80’s Hardcore mosh parts and pop-punk trots through bright avenues of positivity. It was a fascinating sonic experiment, pulled off well by this couple, who are damn adorable, by the way.
Awh. You’re making me not want to mosh ever again and just become a veterinarian.
But no time for that silliness can be found when Cruel Hand is immediately after. And as nice as the band themselves may be, and as unfair as it would be to disparage their fanbase for doing what they do, it must be said that Cruel Hand’s a hard band to enjoy live unless you’re either willing to put yourself in harm’s way just by standing within 3 people of the pit or are by nature a spectator and aren’t a sportive individual. As much as their formula of modern thuggish pit riffs and thrash/old school punk worship has managed to capture the minds of many audiences, I’d be hard pressed to compare seeing them to anything short of No Zodiac on a lazy day. And I haven’t even seen NZ yet, hence why I’m still alive, fool. In all, they did perform well, though I had much more fun even at the Acacia Strain show that nearly cost me my pelvis.
Emotional indie songweavers in The Balance And Composure were a delightful surprise. Not only because they had suffered a van accident on tour and yet were still able to make it along and continue the tour, but because I ended up enjoying their set a lot more than I assumed I would, and even then I was expecting to walk out with something good to say of them. Spacey post-rock atmospheres intertwined with their more rousing post-hardcore passages and lighter-than-air ambiance, with dense textures provided by three guitarists, all equally competent. I’m just confused as to how there were so many pits and stagedivers, but I suppose they were gearing up for Kingston’s heroes awash in tears.
Title Fight is a band that is hard to define not because they’re so anomalous in what they play for want of clarity, but because they can balance the old-school 90s emo sound, post-hardcore, indie, and pop punk on one fine-edged blade of creativity and melody that can unravel before those patient enough to give them a good listen, or rattle nonsensically of lost love and life.
They’re a good band, and very emotional, is what I’m saying. It goes with the territory of the genre, understandably. with lyrical themes oft revolving around death, separation, and the nature of human relationships, it’s hard to stay cold and distant. Balance And Composure opened the road for waterworks onstage, and Jamie Rhoden followed along, ernestly thanking all of the bands for joining them and making the tour possible. I may give a lot of modern indie and emo acts a hard time for seeming contrived in their appeals to my tear ducts, but Title Fight and their ilk seem to be those bands that make me feel that they mean it, and aren’t playing the part for sympathy. the mellow, reflective reverberation of “Head In The Ceiling Fan”, the hardcore tinged gallop of “Symmetry”, the desperate elegiac sting of “27”, it all hit the way it was supposed to; with passion. And somehow nobody managed to get their gear broken or swept away by the ceaseless torrent of bodies on and off of the stage. Doubly amazing. Give them your money.