Photo by Kealan Shilling
Subhumans Put On A Supra-human Show
As I walked into Club Sound, a sigh of relief washed over me as I realized that I hadn’t been arrested yet. It’s not that I find myself getting arrested on a regular basis, nor do I have a warrant on my head, but the last time I was assigned to review a show, I found myself in handcuffs 20 minutes before the doors opened. I was supposed be at the Blitz show in Ogden, but instead I sat in the back of a police cruiser. Much to my dismay, the last original member died a few days later after being hit by a car. It was quite a bummer, to say the least. The folks from SLUG that you all know and love decided to give me a second chance and assigned me quite a killer review: Subhumans.
The show was slow to start, as attendants moseyed in and began some casual conversation, everyone a little unsure that it’s still okay to smoke inside. Negative Charge, one of the best local groups that Salt Lake has to offer was first in the lineup and their equipment was already on stage. I claimed a spot of my choosing, right in front of the mic, and waited. As the group entered the stage and began strapping on their instruments, the crowd slowly began to move forward. Kick starting the concert off right, Negative Charge played most the songs off their EP, along with a few new ones like “Lock and Load”, “Bring ‘Em Down” and “Bad Feelings.” As usual, Nick Fiction held the mic out to the people who knew their songs—and occasionally someone who didn’t—and really got the crowd energized. Nearing the end of their set, Negative Charge played “Alternative Ulster,” a Stiff Little Fingers cover. This got the crowd moving, sparking some of the biggest circle pits I’ve seen in a long time. Anyone that wasn’t in the pit was up front, tightly pressed against the stage, singing along.
Following Negative Charge was All Systems Fail, who has a much bigger fanbase than I had realized. On the first song, everyone went apeshit. While I stood in the back and tapped my foot, I saw people in front screaming along and a circle pit that was never short of 15 people. Their set continued at about the same pace, and even though I had seen All Systems Fail on numerous occasions, I was blown away by how good they were. Either I had just never really paid attention to their sets, or the band has really come out of their shell and started kicking ass. With two vocalists, deep guitars, and a heavy bass, All Systems Fail were quite the treat. I’m hoping that they continue to get better, but I was so blown away by them that it would be just fine if they didn’t. Their brand of Anarcho-punk really set them apart from Negative Charge, but not to the extent where the lineup would seem mismatched. The circle pit continued to get bigger and faster, especially during songs like “Bully Boys”, “Sex For Salvation”, and “Biological Warfare”. It seems to me that All Systems Fail is the Aus-Rotten of Salt Lake, never mind that they share—or shared, really—the same drummer.
Next up was Witch Hunt. I had never heard the name before, but everyone I had talked to about them seem to label them, almost negatively, a “chick band”. For me, “chick bands” have never been mind blowing, but never particularly bad. I’m a big fan of old school Devotchka, so I thought it would be best to keep an open mind. They started their set, but I never really got into it. Some of the crowd seemed very familiar with them, while the rest either kept the circle pit going, or sat in the back, most likely bitching about how “chick bands” suck. I could hardly understand anything the lead singer would say, and her singing voice just sounded like screeches from a banshee. After a few songs, I got bored and started up some conversations to pass the time. I will admit though, I occasionally found myself tapping my foot along to the beat.
Finally, it was time for Subhumans to big their long-awaited, always awesome set. Kick starting shit off with “All Gone Dead”, and immediately everyone there got the kind of satisfaction that one can only get from a warm, fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, but from an old man wearing glasses and a ratty, no sleeved T-shirt. Dick Lucas, the Subhumans front man, never ceases to amaze me at how long and how much he can move. I’m seventeen, and probably at my physical prime, and I can’t manage to do what he can. In between “Big Brother”, Dick stopped for a moment to tell the audience about England, and how there seems to be a camera on every street corner in order to keep citizens “safe”. It was difficult to hear him, due to the panting and his accent, but he got his point across—which was met with yells, and middle fingers. Subhumans also incorporated the crowd into their set, but in a slightly different way than most bands do. Before the beginning of one song, Dick tried to get someone in the audience to shout out “One, two, three, four” explaining that he’s had trouble with it so far. “I’ve… gotten a ‘Fuck you!’ but I’m not going to judge Americans as a whole based off one dickhead’s ‘Fuck you’ so I’m going to try it again.” He held the mic down to one person, who said something that I, along with almost everybody else, couldn’t understand. Not even Dick understood, so in response he said, “In fucking English, you idiot” and moved on to someone else who managed to get it right.
Everybody has the ideal set that they would want a band to play, but rarely is it ever perfect. Subhumans got about as close to perfect as possible, and played just about every song that one would like to hear at a show. Fortunately, they didn’t play “From the Cradle to the Grave” like the last time they rolled through, which really killed the all the energy of the show. This time around, Subhumans played classics like “No”, “Mickey Mouse Is Dead”, “Religious Wars”, “Apathy”, “Parasites”, and a few of their new songs which will be release with their new album. When their set was over, Subhumans left the stage and after some hard work, the crowd managed to call them back on for one hell of an encore.
When the show ended, I bought some merch and went home, still without being arrested. Considering that the show was on Aug. 28th, my first day of school, I don’t think there could have been a better way to start off my school year.
Check out photos of the show on SLUGMag.com's Photo Gallery!