A Global Threat (photo by Autumn Spadaro)
Going into this show, I didn’t know what kind of a crowd this package would draw. I anticipated A Global Threat would bring the punks in spades, while Bane and This is Hell were sure to bring out more than a handful of hardcore kids. But was there any crossover fan base between those bands and Strike Anywhere? Well, after seeing Strike Anywhere play to far less people than A Global Threat, and Bane to even fewer people than Strike Anywhere, I’m gonna have to go with a “no.”After waiting outside in the cold for an hour, the doors opened at 7. This is Hell took the stage at 8. Without giving an introduction, the band ripped into their set and didn’t slow down for the entire 30 minutes that they were on stage. A cluster of hardcore kids stayed up front, throwing their fists into the air and screaming along with lead singer Travis Reilly while the rest of the band jumped all over the stage and screamed along with the kids. This is Hell got the kids in the pit windmilling and karate chopping the air. They even got some punks to join in, but the largely mohawked crowd didn’t really care for this impressive and young hardcore band.
After This is Hell had left the stage, the legions of mohawked and leather jacket sporting onlookers moved up front for A Global Threat’s set. I wasn’t too familiar with this band before this performance, but I’ll admit that they impressed me a lot more than I expected. Rather than sounding like the countless Exploited and GHB rip-offs notorious in the street punk scene, A Global Threat reminded me much more of early Black Flag. Vocalist Bryan Lothian gave a solid delivery, even though he was sitting on the ground for quite a bit of the set, and the guitar work of this band really impressed me. Still, after about 15 minutes, the sound became monotonous. The punks up front were getting into it, but the mosh pit was entirely non-existent for a good portion of the set, and most of the people near the back of the room took no notice of the band that nearly everyone was there to see.
Despite the plea from A Global Threat’s frontman to stay, and show Strike Anywhere and Bane the same respect that the crowd had shown them, the room thinned out significantly before Strike Anywhere took the stage. The people in the back who had tried their hardest to ignore the earlier bands moved up front, and from the opening notes of “You’re Fired” the small crowd near the stage ate up everything that Strike Anywhere was throwing their way. The set was peppered with material from their earliest days as a band all the way up to their latest (and best) album Dead FM, with standouts including “Infrared” and “Amplify/Blaze.” The mic kept going out, and during “To the World” lead singer Thomas Barnett scampered across the stage looking for one that worked while the crowd kept the song going with their own voices and their fists firmly planted in the air. The band closed with “Sunset on 32nd” and pulled a bunch of kids up onto the stage to help sing along as they stage-dived unwisely into the sparse crowd that barely caught them by their ankles.
The crowd thinned out even more as Bane took the stage. Addressing scene politics and unity among the sub-cultures played a significant part in Bane’s set, and the same cluster of hardcore kids that were up front for This is Hell was getting into Bane, but a lot of the crowd didn’t seem to care. Kids were sitting on the ground and a lot of people were carrying on conversations in the back of the room. Who did these people come to see, anyway? Bane’s shows had been described to me as something of a religious experience, but I’ve gotta say that I wasn’t converted. The band was abrasive enough and the lead singer had some definite stage presence, but the general apathy of most of the crowd made me want to leave the show early, and about eight songs into Bane’s set, I did just that. As I was walking out I was lucky enough to get to talk to Thomas from Strike Anywhere for a few minutes. He seemed like a generally cool guy and talked to me like I was a friend, even though I had just met him a few minutes ago. I felt bad leaving the show early after that, since he had said that the diverse lineup was an attempt to bring together all kinds of fans of punk rock, but clearly that mission wasn’t accomplished that night. Maybe next time.