Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Empire of Idols
Headed back to the Moose Lodge last night to catch a six band line-up that was part of the final night of War Hungry's handful of shows to support the new LP. Wanted to be sure that I made it to the show on time for once, so I didn't miss the opening band, Beware. It definitely backfired on me. Being 32, it's tough to scrape together friends willing to go to shows, let alone make an hour drive from Cape May County to Brick hang out in a hot social club or stand around outside and get bit by mosquitoes on a weeknight. I guess I'm just weird like that. The last thing I wanted to do was end up standing around by myself, which is exactly what happened. Factor in that I didn't really know anybody and there weren't a ton of people at the start of a six band show, it made minutes feel like hours. Awkwardness on my part.
Finally, Beware was ready to go. If you heard the demo, you know what you're getting: mid-tempo, west coast influenced HC that brings a lot of Chain references to mind. Vocals remind me of Tim McMahon, but the band's sound is a little faster than MP was, maybe more Hand Tiedish. They ran through the songs off the demo and sounded good. Vocals could have been louder, but that seems to be a common thing at the Lodge. They closed with "No Exceptions", which was a good choice considering the venue and the style of the band. If the response to the demo is any indication, kids are going to be into this band. With only a couple shows under their belt, they proved that they can live up to the hype that their demo has brought.
Following Beware, was Born Annoying, a new band from the shore featuring some ex members of some previous shore bands. I'm not sure if the name is a nod to Helmet (cool if it is), but they had a really good sound. They definitely leaned on a hardcore with a groove, bouncing between breakdowns and more rhythmic parts, kind of like Cro-Mags meets Supertouch or Planet Mental era Mental. They played five songs or so and I definitely was digging what I was hearing but was disappointed that there wasn't a demo available. Hopefully, there will be one available in the future and they'll keep the project going. The band had a good sound and was a lot different than most bands on shows these days.
Loose Ends were up next and played for-ev-er. Not a knock against them, their set just felt really long for a non-headliner. L.E. plays a lot punkier version of hardcore that borrows from earlier hardcore influences like the Adolescents or TSOL as opposed to Revelation worship. They were young and sounded good, although again, the vocals were tough to make out. I know they've been playing out and hopefully I'll catch them again at some point.
There was a huge gap between the Loose Ends and Rattling Cages set. Not sure why, but when you have a pretty lengthy bill, flesh eating mosquitoes outside and a hot venue, it's nice to keep things moving. I don't know a whole lot about Rattling Cages, so I'm not going to let my ignorance interfere with my observations. They sounded heavy and had some really good riffs; I'd say they were more on the metal side of things, but kept my attention.
Again another long layoff in between Rattling Cages and Dead End Path, mainly due to equipment trouble. Pretty sure they might have cut their set a little short, due to mic issues, but everybody was way into what they did play. DEP focused mainly on tracks off of their seven inch, and sounded a lot tighter than the last time I caught them. Endless touring will do that, I guess. The crowd reaction was nuts and the Lodge set up creates an almost bowling alley-like style pit for the mosh. Think traffic on the Garden State Parkway, if both the north and south lanes were merged into one at the same time. It was a great set to watch and I was stoked to get to see them play out again. This band has worked their ass off and it's cool to see kids into what they're playing.
War Hungry closed the show and all I can say is goddamn. Let me preface that by saying, I wasn't the biggest War Hungry fan, pre-LP. I had some songs I dug, would listen from time to time, but they weren't a band that found themselves in constant rotation and since they hadn't released anything as of late, I'd kind of fallen off playing their 7 inch tracks. They always seemed to be a really polarizing band: it you dug 'em, you really dug 'em or you just didn't get it. I think it's pretty safe to that that if you haven't heard the new songs, then you really have no idea what you're in store for until you hear them. There's been a lot of hype around this LP and let's face it: between twitter, facebook and hardcore messageboards, it's easy for mediocre shit to get hyped easily in this day and age. I was skeptical that the LP would live up the hype swirling around it for the past couple of years, but after hearing it and seeing/hearing the new songs played, I'm a flat out believer.
I had caught their set in Bethlehem, PA to open their mini-tour, so I kind of knew what I was in store for the second time around. Frankly, I was just psyched to hear the new songs again and see kids get stoked on Wungry. No keyboards for this set unlike Bethlehem, but the set seemed smoother than their first night. The new tracks are ridiculous and completely blow their previous releases away. And by ridiculous, I mean ridiculously heavy. A lot of crunchy riffs mixed with more a more metal guitar makes for an incredible combination. The crowd was into it and between War Hungry and the mosh being brought, it was an extremely entertaining set. During the intro to "Spoken Through the Serpent" I thought the floor was going to collapse from kids losing their minds. At the close of the show Arthur decided to throw his guitar into the crowd, signaling that the set was over and that was my cue to hit the road. I was lucky enough to grab a tour press of the LP from the 150 they had pressed up and have listened to it at least five or six times today alone. Safe to say it was worth the wait for the return of War Hungry.