Comeback Kid, Foundation, Such Gold, Living With Lions, Gunner @ Club Sound 04.07
SLUG sent two of our best hardcore and punk music writers to the show for a bit of nostalgia, and they returned with broken glasses, scraped noses and the following reviews.
Alexander Ortega vs. Comeback Kid
Growing up as more of a “punk kid,” whenever I walk into a two-steppy hardcore show, I am reminded: Oh yeah … HARDCORE. Hoodies abound, and I’m always curious as to whether there’s a sport similar to Quidditch where these kids take ping pong balls and try to throw them through each other’s enormously gauged earlobes as a proxy for beer pong. Once I saw some of my straight edge friends, though, I settled in and enjoyed the show, equally awaiting Comeback Kid just as much, if not more than everyone else, only feeling apprehensive when the huge dude started “picking up change” near where I was standing …
Local opener Gunner kicked things off. Their guitars seemed to have their gain turned down be-low the usual, crunchy distortion level that I often hear with hardcore. At first, that element came across as kind of weird because you couldn’t really hear what their guitarists were playing tonal-ly, and it seemed like they were taking Against Me!’s Eternal Cowboy and making it post-hardcore. The sound guy finally caught on, though, and adjusted the levels, and Gunner started feeling their groove as they went on to ultimately kill their set with a distinct branding of their own. Kids started moshing from the get-go for this band’s set, but in turns, as if they were per-forming modern dance solos, and then in gaggles, reminiscent of when the Arcadians try to attack the Persians in 300. Gunner announced that they’ll soon be releasing a split with Despite Despair, which I foresee being way tight.
Living With Lions, a five piece, followed with their surprise delivery of some melodic hardcore à la Rise Against, except a bit more gruff. Nobody moshed for them—not because they weren’t good, but more so because their singer doesn’t employ the customary hardcore growl. I mean, nobody seemed to mind or anything; it was all OK because their singer was wearing a Trap Them shirt. Aside from everyone actin’ tuff and pretending not to like them at the risk of it making them pussies, the guitarists performed virtuosically as they bounced consonant melodies off of the other’s rhythms and vice versa. Though I’m sub-culturally aware enough to differentiate between melodic hardcore and emo, I couldn’t help but notice the girls who still rock the “scene-girl” haircut—you know, like, dyed jet-black hair with those straight-across bangs where the overall shape is kind of square, which was ‘in’—kind of— before the hipster apocalypse hit.
Following in a similar musical vein, Such Gold played next. Although they also play a form of melodic hardcore, their take on their music came across as having more aggressive vocals than Living With Lions, which was humorously compounded by the vocalist’s likeness to Jason Biggs, who held out his non-mic-wielding hand as if he were reciting a soliloquy from Hamlet. Their sound seemed to be infused with the husky vocal stylings of Hot Water Music/Chuck Ra-gan’s work, which worked well with the melodies that their front line played. Eventually, their songs sort of blended together and it was hard to discern how one song differed from the next. All in all, though, they deftly pounded through their set, and had a solid sense of their sound and musical gait.
Before Foundation started, I decided to grab a beer because, according to my cohort, Dylan Chadwick, “the mosh” was going to get “heavy” for their set, and I wanted to numb myself be-fore getting clocked in the face. During the first song, as I watched from beyond the portal of the bar that leads to the all-ages area, the weight of the mosh broke a few of the people up front and a fight ensued. Security eventually dragged a kid out the side door of the venue, and I saw a guard with some skin busted on the left side of his face trudge into where I was standing. Foundation’s vocalist stepped up once the skirmish was over to responsibly declare, “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t care,” and urged the audience to take any fisticuffs they might have away from the show, and gave the injured guard his radio back. They ensued with mean hardcore riddled with machine-gun chugs and atom-bomb breakdowns. The kids had been reserving their energy to go ape-shit in the pit with nonchalant fury.