RIP: The Hairhole 2008-2013

This weekend marks the final live shows at local DIY performance and rehearsal space the Hairhole. Last month word arose that the owner of the building had sold the space and that the building was set for demolition. While I’ve heard some debate on when the building will face the wrecking ball (one source said the middle of this month), I do have something to say about it.

While there was a show previous to its widely considered opening date, the first show I remember was an afternoon show in August 2008 with Times New Viking and local band Dirtmotor (featuring a very young Jamie Davis on guitar – now of Hott Lunch). While there had been some ups and downs in terms of shows, I was introduced to a number of local bands there ranging from HC punk (Gran Mal) to 80s influenced thrash metal (Battlement) to more experimental thngs (the 48 Hur Bandathon in November 2010). Also, there were a number of touring bands I first saw there from the hardcore meets noise of Minneapolis band Serenghetto, to the poppy punk of Big Fiction. While admittedly the space wasn’t perfect, over time it did feel like home to some degree.

Which leads to this weekend shows, which can be seen as both a sad and celebratory occasion. It’s sad in that a local space to see bands that might not get a chance anywhere else in Columbia will soon be gone. However, for a DIY space to last roughly four and a half years is a pretty damn good run. Lots of similar spaces both in Columbia and elsewhere has come and gone in less time than that. The No Cast lasted about a year (2006-2007). The legendary What’s This lasted three years (1986-1989). Lots of others came and went in a flash. With this in mind, the run of the Hairhole is something to be proud of.

Eventually another space or two may open on the DIY level for bands to play and rehearse. While I have heard rumors already, I’ll err on the side of caution and believe it when I learn of a show.

So, in roughly 48 hours, the Hairhole will be history and exist only in people’s memories. A wide range of emotions will emerge in the people involved, but inevitably I think, for all the pros and cons that such a place can have, those who helped keep things going should be proud of what got accomplished in a space like that, a shoestring budget, and some desire to see something happens.

As for what’s up ahead, that’s anybody’s guess.

COMUSIC REVIEW – BALD EAGLE, MEGAZILLA, JACK BUCK @ Mojo’s

Okay, so I know that 2012 is literally in it sfinal moments as I type this. Snow is falling and within 24 to 48 hours we begin the slow transition from holiday mode to business as usual (though the college winter break will make it linger on a little longer in Columbia). However, at a time when a chunk of the college kids are off with families and taking care of things elsewhere what could arguably be considered the best event of 2012 happened on December 29th when reunion fever of sorts took place at Mojo’s with the return of Bald Eagle (playing thier fourth reunion show) and Como band turned Austinites Megazilla (playing their first show since breaking up a little over four years ago).

Jack Buck

Jack Buck kicking the night off with a small explosion.

The opening slot was held by St. Louis band Jack Buck, who offered up a set of pummeling noise rock full of thick bottom end and sometimes dissonant guitars with humbucker tones that almost have to be scooped out of the speakers. The results lie somewhere between noise, punk and metal with a touch of the experimental thrown in for good measure. Some of the songs had a feel slightly similar to No Means No but the band is far from a copy of that. An interesting set that hinted at the aural carnage to come.

Megazilla

Corey of Megazilla driving home the noise.

 

After a few minutes to set up and making sure things were ready Megazilla returned to life playing the middle slot of this show. The duo took no prisoners with an intense set that merged noise rock aggression and fury with elements of almost prog like precision using just drums, the occasional sample, and an 8 string bass (tuned in fifths). Tight, heavy, harsh, and somehow melodic that band delivered some heavy music that drew on the energy of the night and made you like it. It was great to see Megazilla back (especially for those people who didn’t get to see them the first time around) and playing as if they never stopped.

 

Bald Eagle

Behold the ferocity of Bald Eagle in action.

A short time later Bald Eagle came up on stage to tear the place apart. Delivering a setof their patented post metal riff rock, the band’s dual guitar delivery blended precision and heft for a sound as heavy as it was intricate. Hard driving with an occasionl lush synth element at times, the band created an energy loop that fed off the crowd and returned the vibe with an intensity that had to be witnessed to be understood. In a truly just world Bald Eagle would be album rock mainstays (or at least regularly featured on their metal shows) but for now its the crowd on the ground who’s there to see what’s up. I don’t know if there will be more shows but that would be cool if there were.

As the last distorted power chord vibe faded into the ether and we ventured out into the cold we were drained a bit from the energy inside. However, it was time to head for parts unknown and see what was ahead. 2013 was around the corner but tonight was the good early way to send off the final moments of 2012. A great show and one that met all expectations.

COMUSIC REVIEW: Prima Donna, The Dollyrots, Alice’s Anvil @ The Blue Fugue.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: my apologies for the slight delay in getting these reviews up. The past month had been busy and I needed a couple days to rest and process all the information.

The weekend of September 21 and 22 was going to be busy in Columbia due to the Roots and Blues and BBQ Festival coming to town. As a result the city was preparing for what would be an onslaught of locals and visitors coming upon downtown for music and food. However, what was less known was that September 20th was going to be an interesting day in Columbia once I learned the The Blue Fugue was having Prima Donna and The Dollyrots play live.

Alice's Anvil

Taking an audio journey with Alice’s Anvil.

Local rockers Spectravox were supposed to open but had to drop out at the last minute leaving the slot open for Alice’s Anvil. This duo performs layered instrumental soundscapes built on layers of synthesizers and live guitars. Constructed of a blend of textures (delay plays a significant part in their material) and melody lines, their material got the night off to a quite different start in comparison to the other two bands. I have to agree with Kelly from the Dollyrots that Alice’a Anvil should be doing a multimedia performance with visuals added to their sets (hell, part of me sees this sounding like it could be the soundtrack for Japanese animation). Interesting but a surprise compared to the rest of the night.

Dollyrots

The Dollyrots: conquering Columbia one gooey hook at a time.

Co-headlining with Prima Donna, The Dollyrots were taking the middle slot of the evening. for their debut Columbia show. After a few minutes to set up the band quickly tore into a blend of punk energy and pure pop hooks that mined both brand new tracks (their new album was released two days before this show) as well as old fan favorites along their 45 minutes set. Despite a change of basses for Kelly after the first song, the band managed to pull off some energetic songs with hooks fresh out of the oven and make it look relatively easy in the process. All of this leading to a closer of “Because I’m Awesome” and the new album track “Staring Over Again” to end the night. They came and made the most of the night, having their sense of fun rub off on the crowd in the process.

Prima Donna

Rocking out with Prima Donna

Prima Donna began to close out the night with a big blast of energy and charisma. The LA quintet delivered some high energy uptempo rock’n’roll with a 70s glam edge and a lot of attitude. Catchy songs full of crunchy guitars and a sneering attitude is this band’s calling card as they blasted out some solid songs and caught the attention of the crowd. Having seen these guys open for Batusis in St. Louis a couple years back, they continued that vibe that sounds as much like it would fit the early 70s glam rock era as it does today. Prima Donna have been gaining a following step by step over the past few years and they appear to show no sign of slowing down as they set out on a mission to rock.

As the PA died down and people began to venture out into the Columbia night, people hung out with the band for a bit and took in the general vibe of the night. While the night was quiet, it would be the calm before the storm as Roots and Blues would soon make for a very busy weekend in this town.

COMUSIC – Local Bands Worth Checking Out

So, the summer is over in all but the actual autumn equinox sense. School is back in and people are adjusting to a long routine of studying, work, et al. However, life is about more than just the work we have to do to survive. With that in mind I would like to talk about some bands you may not have heard of. They’re mentioned here in no particular order other than the first bands or artists that came to mind. They’re also the ti of the iceberg in terms of local music in Columbia, So whether you’ve just moved here for school or other reasons or have been around for a while but really busy and haven’t paid attention to what has been going on here musically, here are a few local bands worth checking out.

BATTLEMENT

Battlement

 

I hadn’t heard this band until I saw them play live recently and became a believer. This young trio delivers vintage style thrash metal with tight, relatively complex songs and a hint of prog mixed in. What emerges are songs that draw upon the roots of thrash while adding enough of a twist to show the potential they have ahead of them. More intricate guitar leads than gimmicks or tuned down crunch, While Columbia has never beenexactly known as a hotspot for metal, Battlement is a band that may change that.

GRAN MAL

Gran Mal

Ben and Nate of Gran Mal

 

What if you’re in the mood for some vintage style punk? Well, check out Gran Mal. this trio tears down the aural gauntlet with straightahead punk and hardcore that goes for the throat with medium fast beats and raw to the point,power chord guitar work. These guys know their genre and deliver no frills and in your face with a mix of sonic roughness and visceral energy that you don’t hear a lot these days. Gran Mal is the latest link in the chain of hardcore punk reamining true to its roots while trying to mark their own niche within it.

NOISE ORDINANCE

Noise Ordinance

Noise Ordinance live – May 2012

 

This is a very young band (as in they’ve only played a literal handful of shows) but these kids lay down a blend of vintage punk with occasional ska and reggae overtone that shows a lot of potential.  Yeah, they wear their influences on their sometimes tattered sleeves but they draw from old HC as much as new punk and raw a rawness that some readers will find refreshing.

 

As I said earlier, this is far from a complete list of local bands to check out.  It’s the tip of the tip of the iceberg.  In addition, just because I recommend a band doesn’t mean you’ll agree with me.  Regardless of what you think of the bands I recommend here I do feel you should take some time and check out the local music scene here in Columbia.  Yes, it may take some effort but you may also find some artists that surprise you.

 

Dirtfoot: Coming to CoMo

Off Track Events is bringing the gypsy punk country grumble boogie band Dirtfoot to town for the Pedaler’s Jamboree on May 26th and 27th.  The word on the street and the trail is that this is the one band not to miss.  They expect audience interaction, even handing out homemade bean cans to round out the band members’ guitar, banjo, bass, saxophone, drums and miscellaneous percussion instruments.

Dirtfoot is winning awards left and right.  They will be playing two shows at the Jamboree, and I plan to get there early to get my bean can.

Dirtfoot’s J Bratlie spoke with me from Shreveport, Lousiana:

Gypsy punk country grumble boogie? It sounds like all the odd people in my high school class got together and formed a cult.

Gypsy Punk Country Grumble Boogie was coined by a local writer who did one of our first reviews. He managed to sum up our sound so well that it stuck, and we’ve been running with it ever since. It’s not an intentional sound; we don’t try to write for a certain genre.  It just comes out purely primal, from the gut. Everyone says we sound familiar, but not like any other band or any style. We’ve been called Alt Country, Swamp Rock…hell, Les Claypool said we sound like a Southern version of Gogol Bordello, but not so Eastern European.

The story goes that God brought the first two band members together with one of His acts on one of His special days. Do you feel like you would be letting Him down if you didn’t continue to make music?

We do feel that a tornado, which brought myself and Matt together, is a fitting backdrop for the beginnings of the band. We formed on the same front porch of the reconstructed house, with numerous musicians sitting in and playing. Cool thing was, we weren’t trying to form a band, we just liked jamming, and if we really liked what somebody brought, they became permanent.

Was the house rebuilt while the band was forming?

The house was rebuilt by Matt and his family. They came out from west TX, and in a few weekends the house was better than ever. This happened in April 2000. Matt and I met right after the storm and basically started jamming immediately. The banjo I ended up playing was actually sitting in the corner of his house, and I saw it for the first time while examining the damage.

What’s with the bean cans?

The bean cans were a happy accident. We had a junk percussion player before we had a drummer, and homemade shakers were part of the rig. It seems like every show we were passing out the percussion to the folks, and it just kinda stuck. Now it really does help the crowd become the 7th member of the band.

Speaking of unusual instruments, how does one play a rubber chicken?

Ah, the rubber chicken… It is but one of our many accents that our percussionist, Daniel Breithaupt, has at his disposal. It was heavily featured in our song “Break My Bones” until, unfortunately, the chicken lost its voice a year or so ago. We’ve also had squealing pigs, horns, sirens and other fun things to make the necessary noises.

Is Dirtfoot acoustic or plugged in?

We are mostly acoustic. Our bassist plays his upright through an amp and does alternate with an electric bass. Matt and I both run our instruments through pedals to “play” with the sounds. Matt has also added an electric guitar recently, so you never know how it will morph and change.

 

You shot your video for “Cast My Plans” at the Wade Correctional Facility in Homer, LA, and it is fantastic! How did that project come about?

Well, that actually started with a music video.  We were approached by Jonathan Rothell, a film editor from California who wanted to make a music video of our song “Cast My Plans.”  He had the whole basic concept of the video: we are all thugs and you see us committing our crimes and getting caught. At the end of the video, the band forms in prison and we play in front of the inmates.

It seemed easier to actually go to a prison for the filming rather than attempting to build sets, costumes, etc, so we contacted the local prisons for help. Wade Correctional was very interested. We quickly decided that if we are going to go to a real prison and shoot ourselves in front of real inmates, then we should actually play a show. And if we’re going to play a show and we have cameras available, we should record that.

Then we reached out to our friend William Sadler, who we met playing a wrap party for the movie The Mist, to play our warden. At this point the buzz began to build about the project, and we had a whole crew of people who actually work for the movie industry in Shreveport volunteering for our video.

We then had a documentary crew put together to film the whole process, making the video, recording the live performance and put it all together in a sweet documentary “Making of the Cast My Plans Video.”  Of course the project had ballooned out of our small budget quickly. We decided to use a 35mm film camera to shoot the video to give it that “look,” which of course meant the extra expense of film processing. We also had to get Mr Sadler from New York to Louisiana for the shooting. We decided we had to come up with a way to fund this project, so we set up a Kickstarter campaign.

We set out to raise $10,000 in 30 days and spread the word mainly online: facebook, website, etc.  Well, we were very surprised by the quick response and actually hit our goal in 20 days.  So, after a little prodding from some of our die hards, we decided to up our goal. If we hit $15,000, we would print a special run of vinyl as well. On day 30, we had raised $16,200 and were blown away by the response.  So, needless to say, we spent all the money on making the best album, DVD and vinyl that we could. We have at least 175 people to thank for that one!

 

I’ve read that your audiences should expect an “aerobic workout of their bodies and ears” at every show. You sound like the perfect band for bicyclists. Have you ever played a bicycling event?

The Pedaler’s Jamboree is our first bicycling event. We’ve played many shows with folks riding around on bikes, but never for a bike-specific event. We are really looking forward to the shows, and we have good friends in Columbia too. It’ll be like a mini vacation.

If Dirtfoot were a meal, what dish would each member be?

Hmm…not sure what meal we’d be.  Being from Louisiana, a lot of folks compare us to a gumbo: lots of different flavors blended together to make something new.

I guess individual members:
Daniel – Spice. He definitely gives the music some zing.
Scotty – The sauce.
Nathan – Mystery spice. He gives that flavor that can’t be identified but rides underneath everything else.
Lane – Vegetables, good and hearty.
J – Some type of meat, like crawfish and sausage.
Matt – Meat. With a little gristle.

**Photographs curtesy of Dirtfoot.

COMUSIC PREVIEW – May Live Music Preview (Part Two)

About a week ago I posted part one of a live music preview for what’s going on in Columbia in May. However, due to time issues on my end, I wasn’t able to get everything in that you readers might be curious about. While note a complete picture I felt it necessary to try and get a general idea. So, with that in mind, here are a few more shows coming up this month in Columbia.

The Bon Scott 5, The Many Colored Death @ Mojo’s (Saturday May 12th)

Okay, maybe you’re not into indie or folk but just want some metal or some classic rock to kick out the jams to. Maybe you’re in a classic rock frame of mind for a night. Either way, if you feel like that check out this appearance from local AC/DC tribute The Bon Scott 5. You know the music (especially if you grew up in Missouri), you know the songs. Curious about THe Many Colored Death. Have a feeling if you want some hard rock and metal, this could be an option.

We Live in Public, Truett and the Traitors, Mondo @ The Bridge (Friday May 18th)

This is recommended (in my opinion, anyway) mainly for Mondo, whose melodic punk/alt rock draws to mind such bands as The Replacements, the Ramones, et al. If you’re into a more jam band vibe, you will want to check out We LIve in Public.

New Tongues, Jack Buck, Mad Anthony @ Eastside Tavern (Saturday May 19th)

So it’s the 19th and you’re want something heavy and maybe a little dissonant. In that case head on over to Eastside for New Tongues, who will unleash another sonic attack along with St. Louis’ own Jack Buck Ithe band, not the late sportscaster – in case anyone was confused) and Mad Anthony from Cincinnati.

Mojo’s Happy Hour with Polly Finn @ Mojo’s (Happy Hour Fee Show on Friday May 25th)

As we all know Memorial Day weekend is pretty much considered the start of summer. So, if you wanna kick off the summer with some music check out this free show from local band Polly Finn. Still haven’t heard them yet but with members of the Goldbugs and the Harrows, this should be interesting

That pretty much covers the bases. While I don’t have everything going on, I hope to give you readers a good jumping off point for seeing some live music this month.

COMUSIC PREVIEW – May Live Music Preview (Part One)

COMUSIC PREVIEW – May Live Music Preview (Part One)

  AUTHOR’S NOTE: Due to time constraints (i.e.: me being way busier than I’d like) this will be a two part post.  My apologies in advance for this.

May is always a strange month for Columbia. Spring is in full effect with fairly warm days and relatively cool nights; providing a sign that summer is just around the corner. However, with three colleges in town, May is also the end of Spring Semester and the time when the student population dwindles by varying degrees due to finals week and other plans making the town a bit smaller in t e process.

But what if you’re not a student and just live in Como? What if you’re a student who’s staying over the summer either for summer school or due to a job? If you’re one of these people (or if you’re a student looking for something to check out before finals and/or your lease ends and you have to head on out of town), here are a few shows that you might be interested in this May.

9th Street Summerfest with Primus on 9th St – outside the Blue Note. (Thursday May 3rd)

While the summerfest shows have become a sign of nice weather and summer in Columbia, this kickoff is unexpected. Fans of peculiar song topics and massive funk meets jam band bass will likely fill 9th St for this show. I know most of you know about this show but I realized I had to put it here just to kick things off (and to avoid any comments if I forgot about it).

Mutilation Rites, Gran Mal, Creaturezoid, Gay Uncle @ Cafe Berlin (Thursday May 3rd)

So what’s going down on the 3rd if you’re not into Primus, can’t afford to see them, or just need a fix of something heavier.  This show should fill that void.  Mutilation Rites  will lay down some metal along with the HC of Gran Mal, local metallers Creaturezoid, and the grind/powerviolence of Gay Uncle.  This will be hard and intense at times but something the metal fans amongst you may be curious about.

No Coast Final Countdown Day One @ The Berlin Theater (Friday May 4th)

If you’re into rap/hip hop than this rap battle fest should be of interest.  With rappers from places ranging from St. Louis to Atlanta involved this will be something far removed from the cliche and a must see for the hip hop fan seeking out something different.

Portland Cello Project, Emily Wells @ Mojo’s (Wednesday May 9th)

I know what you’re thinking: cello music? Really? Hear me out. Portland Cello Project is taking the instrument into unexpected territory, playing music you wouldn’t normally hear on the instrument. A revolving crew of performers, over the years they’ve played with Peter Yarrow, Thao, and The Dandy Warhols and have a repertoire that ranges from Beethoven to Pantera and Kanye West (yes, you read that right). While I have little clue what they’ll do @ Mojo’s, I can safely say it will be interesting.

Hooten Hallers @ The Blue Note (Saturday May 12th)

This local duo has gotten a lot of media hype lately (even placing number two on Paste’s Ten Bands From Missouri You Should Know) and there’s a reason – they’re that good. Their raw stripped to the core bluesy rock has earned a fairly solid local following, The past year has found them busy touring so this homecoming of sorts is a chance to see them in the habitat they’re best suited for: the concert stage.

Cabin Sessions, Jowlz @ Mojo’s (Friday May 19th)

The local songwriters collective makes a rare live appearance @ Mojo’s the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.  With a sound that can go from folk and roots music to indie pop, this octet manages to put on an interesting show.  This may be our last chance to see Cabin Sessions for a while with band member busy with other projects so if you’re a fan of theirs (or just curious) check this show out if you’re able to do so.

That’s it for now.  Keep on the lookout for part two of this post shortly.  Hope you found something on this list you might want to check out.

COMUSIC REVIEW: Jack Grelle – self titled CD

Jack Grelle lives in one of the more interesting dualities in the world of Columbia, MO’s music scene. On one front is his footing in punk and hardcore, having been both the drummer for Bookmobile and the male vocalist in Task Force. However, what is slightly less known, is his foray into folk and country music that has occurred in tandem with his work in both bands, first under the pseudonym Javelin Track but eventually under his own name. After several years of intimate shows in houses and a couple of tours, this side of his work has finally been caught on disc.

On Jack Grelle’s self titled solo debut, he takes a stripped down approach in these tales of drifting and traveling delivered with a feel that’s part old timey yet also moody and relevant. Built around his acoustic guitar work and vocals, there’s a lonesome feeling on some of these tracks (“Jack’s Blouse,” “Troubled Mind”), while others use a minimal approach with some occasional banjo, fiddle, and some backup vocals to create a sound that both longs for connection while carrying on within its own space. Whether it’s a traveling song of sorts (“Don’t Follow a Line”) or a catchy live favorite that fans will recognize instantly (“Talkin’ Pocatello Blues”) Grelle and company manages to create audio tales of life, struggle, longing, and travel in its ups and downs that, while staying traditional in nature, seems way more current than the slick twanged up pop too many try and pass off as country music these days.

Jack Grelle isn’t a CD that will be everyone’s cup of tea. The stripped down sound and diverse subject matter will likely alienate those who just want some love songs or a simple aural wallpaper. However, for listeners willing to take the risk it does provide a listen that’s worth going to the store (or checking out his bandcamp page) to hear.

Weekend Music Preview – True/False and Elsewhere

First I want to wish everyone a happy night before the True/false Film Festival. While this weekend brings a wide variety of documentaries, short films, and other events, there’s a bit going on: a lot to do with the festival but some unaffiliated. With that in mind I thought I’d point out a few of the more interesting music events going on this weekend.

Tonight: In Defence, Heck Yeah, Gay Uncle, Thinline @ Cafe Berlin.

I know there’s good music tonight at the T/F Opening Party at Eastside with pscyh indie underground rockers Hott Lunch (who are great live) and Catacombz. But what if someone’s in the mood for some METAL!!!!! Or some metal with some HC punk mixed in. This is the event to get that fix. Minneapolis’ own In Defence come through town tonight to deliver some metalized HC blending thrashing power chord, humor, and their anti pizza agenda. Add to that new rising local band Gay Uncle and the return of Thinline and this should be of interest to those amongst us in the mood to bang their head, slam, or just throw up the devil horns and kick out the jams.

March 1: Bass Drum of Death, Jersualem and the Starbaskets, Ming Donkey @ Mojo’s

We all know the Jerusalem will blow minds as usual live (it’s what they do at this point). However, Bass Drum of Death lay down a tasty sonic brew of garage rock that should be interesting to see live. I know this has been mentioned elsewhere on this site but it will be a good rock n roll fix for the weekend (hopefully one of many).

All Weekend: buskers.

Yeah, there are always a couple of them downtown, but their arrival at T/F adds to the whole weekend, giving the town a special vibe that I actually wish happened more often in Columbia.

Saturday – Run on Sentence @ Cafe Berlin

With two T/F affiliated shows pretty much across the street from each other (the other Believers playing @ Mojo’s), this is a tough call to make. This may be worth trying to catch bits of both shows.

I know this is far from a complete view of the sounds that will go down in Como this weekend (including tonight). However, I hope it gives you a taste of what’s become a very special weekend over the years. Even if you can’t make a film for whatever reason, one can at least take time to check out some music.

COMUSIC REVIEW – Landlord Holocaust, Kills and Thrills, Dead Icons, and Gay Uncle @ Cafe Berlin.

It’s been a warmer than usual winter so far. There have been a couple moments of snow but nothing much sticking around. Meanwhile the semester is underway and the “holiday” many don’t want to deal with is on its way. So, as February 1st reminds us that it really is 2012, I needed to get out for a bit and decided on this show at Cafe Berlin

Gay Uncle opening up the night.

 

Gay Uncle first caught my ear at a show a couple weeks back so their appearance on this bill was an added bonus. They started off a little slow this time around, but after the first song the duo quickly veered into a set of guitar and drum forged hardcore that neared powerviolence levels of aggression at times. Loud, fast, and in your face, they value intensity and rawness slightly more than precision (though precision is there, make no mistake about that). WIth songs that go by at breakneck speed, Gay Uncle’s music sometimes seems to go by before you know it. However, there’s something here that makes me curious about them. These guys are on the way to becoming one of Columbia’s best underground bands so check them out if you get the chance.

Tearing up the stage - Dead Icons

 

Dead Icons from Kentucky proceeded to take the night into a completely different direction. This quartet threw down a heavy set of metal tinged HC punk with hoarse vocals and lots of scooped tone guitar leading songs set on pummel. Hard edges crunch and double bass drum rolls connected instantly with the kids in the pit. Their songs are more loud, fast audio missiles that aim to explode on contact. Admittedly some can say that Dead Icons’ music leans a lot on metal but the power is evidence regardless when they take over a stage and lay waste to the crowd. While I’d never heard Dead Icons before I saw the flyer for this show there’s something here that makes me curious what they’ll become down the road.

 

Kills and Thrills in action.

After a brief break and the usual tear down and setting up, Kills and Thrills came on to play. From the start this band lead a sonic throw down with some modern sounding HC punk delivered with a heft and intensity that surprised me. Seeming to be one part noise/one part punk fury, their music is dealt out in full force with a singer more than willing to dissolve the barrier between band and the sudience, this band playd hard driving music that takes no prisoners and has the ability to head in unexpected directions. While they take a relatively common dual guitar fired format, they approach it in a way that’s shocking yet somehow comfortable in the process. I’ve tried to explain what they’re about but Kills and Thrills are a band that you have to see live to understand.

Finally, it was time for Landlord Holocaust to wrap up the evening. This local quartet plays vintage influenced stripped down punk built firmly in the three chords loud fast rules camp with power chords in full effect and a straight ahead rhythm section. The band is talented but seemed to be slightly misplaced on the bill, having to close the show when they would’ve been better placed earlier on the bill. The band also appeared to be having an off night, though that could be as much due to bill placement than anything else. Yes, they’re talented and wear their vintage punk roots with pride but right now I feel it best to wait and see this band again before i make a judgement.

Bringing the night to a close with Landlord Holocaust.

 

Then the show was over. Most of us ventured out into the chilly but warmer than usual February night dazed and wondering what’s next. As I headed over to a friend’s house to wish him well on his birthday, I realized how early it turned our (two of the bands had to cancel, shortening the bill significantly). Still, it was a nice way to spend a milder than usual winter night here in Columbia.  I wonder what the rest of the month will be like.