Must say I feared for this gig, given the One Minute Silence were playing up the road this evening at Rock City. But, maybe it's that a name can travel, because Rival Schools are managing to feature some, I guess really some legendary names from the NY hardcore scene in terms of Walter Schraefels - I know I know that I spelt that wrong, just say Walter, the people that know will know anyway. And so it means that I'm pleasantly surprised that the place is pretty much full. Of course there's an element of cynicism running through me. I'm still alive, so it's bound to be there!
So Forever For October (I think) open it. Apparently featuring at least someone from Silencer7, they deal in pretty direct and abrasive emo style hardcore. Very melodic and tuneful, yet more in your face than some emo bands, if that's not too much of a contradiction. It's the first time I've heard them, and first impressions are very favourable, however, whether they really stand out from all the other bands that are currently pedalling this kind of style is difficult to say. Probably only could say if I were able to sit down and really listen to it over some period of time.
One of the main reasons I was here was Hundred Reasons, whom I've never actually seen live before. And I'm curious. Curious as to how they are live. Curious as to how they go down on a bill like this. See, the cynical part of me, a small part I'll admit, usually overshadowed by my overtly positive carefree nature, finds their inclusion kind of curious. A series of gigs by bands that really, despite the names that can be bandied about, are underground hardcore kind of bands. Where there is an idealogy it seems of self survival and often wary eyes are cast towards the media. And here are Hundred Reasons, who probably through little fault of their own, have had a veritable shitload of publicity, and to an extent hype. How will that fare? I kind of think that although it's a good thing, it's an uncomfortable thing. I'm kind of half expecting them to be given a hard time about it. But they're not. Although to be fair, it feels like a case of "and the crowd went mild." But they shouldn't be treated differently because musically, they fit in extremely well with the rest of the bill. Very melodic, emo ish, hell, they're actually more indie / jangly than the other bands, so my fears of them being regarded as "too metal" simply because of the association with some magazines, is totally misguided. They do seem to have a few more tricks up their musical sleeves, a little more variety, and in frontman Colin they have someone who perhaps is more likely to look to entertain. At the end of the day, it's quite likely that people will pick up on a band just because they do, rather than they can give any real concrete reason why they prefer them more than another. So I liked Forever, but preferred Hundred Reasons. Why, because I really couldn't tell you. I'm sure you understand.
And so Rival Schools, who I'd never heard of before. More of the same in many respects, very melodic. Totally didn't feel like hardcore, but that's based on hardcore "having" to be an in your face rip your head off kind of thing. Which of course it doesn't have to be. This had much more melodic, poppy tendencies, more thought out, more introspective. They even depart crying "peace" which kond of cemented the thoughts in my mind of there even being 60s influences in there. Very enjoyable as well it was, and there was the actually quite surreal moment of band asking crowd how it was coming across, "I sense there's a lack of vocal presence". "You're too loud" says someone. "We are? Ok, we'll turn down." So they do. Which is surreal in my experiences. "Everyone said they did, now we'll see who really did and who didn't." And to me it sounded like the bass didn't, pounding through. Nice one. Show these guitarists that the world doesn't revolve around them totally! It's only about 30 - 40 minutes long, they announce it's the end of the tour, their second here and they've not even got a record out, though next time they return, they will have. Sometimes it's amazing how much strenght a name can have.