Posts Tagged ‘Post Hardcore’

Glassjaw (FB) performing Tip Your Bartender at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 2, 2013.

For most music fans, if their favorite band or artist rolls into town for a show or performance, they will make an effort to go see that show. Some music acts occur quite often, while others rarely occur in a given area. For example, Social Distortion used to play so many shows in Southern California that local fans started to attend those shows less often. On the other hand, artists not from the west coast would rarely perform in California, so whenever they came into town, fans immediately flocked to see them. In extreme cases, some bands break up or some artists take an indefinite hiatus. So when a band reunites for some more shows, you can bet that fans will want to catch this act one last time until they disappear for good. This sparked the reason for me attending Coachella in 2012 when both At The Drive-In and Refused reunited around the same time. This also sparked the reason for me to jump at the opportunity to see my favorite band back in action after many years of missing them, Thursday.

Legendary post-hardcore band Thursday announced late in 2011 that the band had disbanded, approximately a day after Thrice announced their hiatus on Twitter. Prior to this announcement, I had not seen Thursday live since 2006, so of course my heart sank upon hearing the news. Many years later at the start of 2017, the Thursday Twitter account started to bustle with activity, followed with the announcement of a reunion tour. I acquired my ticket to see them again in Los Angeles, and that show wrapped up last Tuesday night at The Wiltern in Koreatown. This tour will continue onward across the nation, culminating with the end of their tour in New York at the end of this month. What Thursday will do following this tour remains ambiguous, but personally I hope they have a few more tours or shows left until they retire the band for good.

As the banner above indicates, a couple of bands open for Thursday during the tour. From now until the end of the tour, Cities Aviv will open the show. For the show in Los Angeles, we had indie rock band Wax Idols opening, as they opened for shows during the first half of the Thursday tour. UK rock band Basement played second in the show, followed by LA’s own post-hardcore band Touché Amoré, both popular in their own right. While every band had its fair share of fans in the crowd, obviously everyone present awaited the arrival of Thursday to the stage. For that hour and a half, the entire room went ballistic as the nostalgia hit from a band prevalent during much of the teenage and young adult years of all the fans present. Despite an all-ages show, since Thursday had their primetime in the mid-2000’s, most of the audience consisted of fans from the mid-20’s to mid-40’s. Everyone got their hit of nostalgia and got to relive their youthful years during this show. Hopefully this paves the way for other legendary bands to reunite soon and play some shows.

Many music fans have some sort of “music checklist” – an intangible list of music acts that they would like to see live. Last week, I finally had the opportunity to cross off one of the top lines of my list: seeing United Nations perform live. They started their west coast tour in Los Angeles, then went on to perform in Orange County before heading north up the coast. I opted to attend their Orange County show at The Observatory’s Constellation Room, which got overshadowed by a larger band performing in the main room, causing massive parking overflows and other crowd problems. Undaunted, I charged on in to bask in the glory of the United Nations.

Sick Feeling opened up the night with their post-hardcore set. Based out of New York, Sick Feeling best reminded me of two bands meshed into one. Their instrumentals reminded me of the strange, trance-like chords of At The Drive-In, or even The Mars Volta. The vocals straight up reminded me of the raw power of traditional Converge. Put together, you have what the band describes as simply Chaos.

Up next, we have Silver Snakes. Hailing from Los Angeles, Silver Snakes took the crowd on a journey away from the night’s post-hardcore theme. They certainly do not have the intense screams that the other bands do. The powerful yet emotional vocals give way to a greater melodic sound, allowing the audience to enjoy more of the instrumental performance and soak in the true musical prowess of Silver Snakes. I find it difficult to compare Silver Snakes to any one band – while they understand how to perform gracefully with true transitions, I cannot see them stand toe-to-toe with well-known bands of their genre. Placed on a bill with lesser known bands, Silver Snakes can kill it as a headliner. But when Silver Snakes performs with a “buzz” worthy band such as United Nations, they unfortunately fit the spot of the band right before the headliner.

At last, the moment I had craved for over a decade had finally arrived. With United Nations about to take the stage, high school memories of seeing vocalist Geoff Rickly perform with Thursday flooded my mind, fueling my passion to lose myself to the music once it started. Though a pit never truly started, I would have gone nuts if it did. United Nations hit the stage with engines blazing, going from silence to blasting the decibels through the roof in a matter of seconds. Although they bear little resemblance to Thursday, I still cherished this like a Thursday show, just with a greater emphasis on the hardcore aspect of the music. Who needs transitions when your songs leave people breathless? They used some of their transitions to briefly mention politics, but then reminded us that Election Day had already passed, so they had little left to say. United Nations followed their set list to a tee and stuck around after the show for a meet & greet instead of playing an encore.

I finally can say that I have successfully seen the lead singer of my favorite band perform once again. Now that I have marked that off my music checklist, the only lines remaining above that require two bands to reunite: Thursday and Minor Threat. I would like to thank Geoff Rickly for mingling with the audience for most of the night and for his modesty. Now that I have met my musical hero, I can safely say that I have accomplished a great feat of my life.

Miss out on the United Nations on the west coast? Their tour still has a few days left, and they will play their final west coast show of this tour this Saturday in San Diego. Make sure you do not miss this!

Many great music shows have gone on in the past few weeks in Southern California, covering all sorts of genres, age ranges, and price ranges. Last Friday night, a free all-ages show took place at Inkonsiderate Board Shop in Riverside. Originally planned for Back To The Grind, this show got moved to a new location, and with it, one band dropped out for another local band. This show still saw a huge turnout, considering no age limits or cover charge to attend. This location also attracted quite a number of skaters, as ramps and pipes decorated the area around the music area.

An hour and fifteen minutes after the first band should have started, Pubic Zirconians finally got under way. This local punk band from Riverside plays, as their name suggests, dirty filthy songs about sex and money. They performed a solid, energetic set, enough to get the crowd in motion.

Up next, we get a different change of pace in the form of Stay Wild. This band from Apple Valley sounds a lot like a post-hardcore band than a hardcore punk band, based on their instrumental style and lyrics with a message. A huge difference exists between what punk bands say and what post-hardcore bands say. Punk bands will generally say lots of curse words, and talk about sex, money, drugs, and/or alcohol. Post-hardcore bands will say meaningful things with morals and calls to action. As I have not gone to a post-hardcore show in quite a while, seeing Stay Wild felt refreshing to re-embrace a genre that I occasionally listen to.

Touring all the way from Seattle, Waywards came on next. Along their way down here from Seattle, they played at shows regularly, from Portland to Fresno, all while enjoying the sights and taking in this slight vacation. Despite this pseudo vacation, they still know how to rock, albeit with a different style of punk than Southern Californians might recognize. Their gritty tone sets them apart, an instrumental vibe not heard often in Southern California.

At last, Slow Children riled up the crowd for their headlining performance. Everyone squeezed in for this last reprieve, leaving little room to do much else. This set consisted mainly of songs from their current album, Prevalent Emotional Distress, starting with Mind Of My Own and Velvet Gloves before moving on to some of their newer songs. As always, these guys rock hard and represent the genre like no other band of their generation. These guys will go far, and their tours, such as an upcoming west coast tour this Fall, will only help to spread their legacy.

Slow Children has another show coming up in Southern California! Make sure you head on over to check out this show with an epic lineup consisting of Narcoleptic Youth, Destruction Made Simple, and more!

In the past few years, we have seen many revivals and reunions of bands, musicians, or other music acts at a live show. Back in 2012, at least three acts reunite for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival: Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre, Refused, and At The Drive-In. This year’s Coachella will have Outkast reuniting. Apart from reunions, other bands or musicians have returned from varying hiatuses, such as Glassjaw and Destruction Made Simple. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some bands have either called it quits, like Just Like Before or Save The Swim Team, or some have split to pursue something else. Lastly, some acts just never perform in certain cities, states, regions, or countries, such as the Toy Dolls, who will break boundaries by performing at Coachella this year. Regardless of why some local citizens have never seen a particular act in person, many music acts never embellish the true concert experience because they either do not play in some areas, or their shows pose too much difficulty getting into, whether by selling out tickets or for other miscellaneous reasons. Over the past few years, I have made it a priority to attend shows of bands that I either have never seen or rarely see, which drives most of my decisions on what weekly shows to attend. For this year, I truly must see these five bands or musicians to satiate my music thirst. If I must travel or shell out ridiculous amounts of money, I may have to do so.

5. The Toasters

As one of the first bands of third-wave ska, The Toasters ring a bell around the world. This international ska phenomenon defined today’s ska culture, from the musical styles to the fashion that everyone now recognizes when attending a ska show/concert. More often than not, when you view a ska video, the video will have The Toasters playing the background. Their iconic music lays out the foundation for ska today, and anyone even remotely into ska must go to see The Toasters sooner than later.

4. Polar Bear Club

The post-hardcore industry used to revolve around the vocalist’s ability to scream as defined by the old screamo genre. Although deriving from hardcore punk, post-hardcore took on an identity of its own not too long after hardcore punk’s peaking popularity in the early 80’s. Since then, the genre has evolved to encompass the musical style rather than the vocals, so a handful of today’s post-hardcore bands fit into the genre yet do not emphasize the screaming parts, such as Polar Bear Club. As a mixture of punk rock and post-hardcore, Polar Bear Club follows a melodic hardcore model, striving on instrumental prowess to portray emotions rather than a vocalist bleeding their lungs out. Their popularity outnumbers the small venues that they play at often, leading to sold-out shows whenever they announce something. The next time Polar Bear Club swings by your area, do not dawdle – get on the bus and go buy a ticket fast.

3. Billy Talent

Whereas Polar Bear Club’s attraction lies in their instrumental capabilities, Billy Talent delivers the full package. This melodic punk rock band from Canada has transformed their music greatly since inception in the early 1990’s. What started as an independent indie rock band has slowly progressed into a punk rock band, and eventually into the melodic post-hardcore band that fans recognize them as today. Once Billy Talent hit mainstream success in the early 2000’s, the history books tells the rest of the tale. Billy Talent tour across the world extensively, hitting up as many countries as possible to delight fans everywhere. I have yet to see a show that does not sell out within a few days of the initial announcement. When Billy Talent books a show in your area, everyone buys tickets, even if they have no intention of going. Should Billy Talent play in your area this year, I suggest you do the same and buy tickets instantly.

2. Geoff Rickly (Thursday/United Nations)

In a shocking turn of events, my favorite band falls to the number two spot on this list! At least…. what remains of my favorite band has fallen to number two. Having broken up in November 2011, Thursday has greatly influenced the post-hardcore scene during their run as a band, and generally receives credit as the band that forever changed the face of post-hardcore. Since discovering Thursday, I have seen them exactly three times all prior to attending college, before I truly understood the emotion and passion behind the music. Once I understood the lyrics and messages, Thursday had already broken up. Now frontman Geoff Rickly has moved on to perform with supergroup United Nations along with Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw and Head Automatica. Regardless of which act he performs with, I would never pass up an opportunity to see Rickly perform live again. If Thursday reunites this year… I can kiss my savings goodbye.

1. Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi)

We all saw this coming in this list, and every punk rock fan will tell you: It will never happen. Despite all the fake posters and flyers from last year, Minor Threat will NEVER reunite. Minor Threat’s frontman Ian MacKaye (the man, the myth, the legend) sees no point in reuniting Minor Threat, and by now, he has moved on to other things in his personal life. Sure he went on to form Fugazi, another amazing band in its own right, but ask punk rock fans around the world for the one show they truly want to see, and you will hear Minor Threat over all other bands by a landslide. Some fans that I have spoken to at shows in my area have pledged that they would spend thousands of dollars to see a Minor Threat show one more time. If it has to come down to it, believe me – I will spend that much money too to see Minor Threat live.

After what surely felt like at least a decade away, Glassjaw returned to Orange County this past Saturday night to headline what appeared as a sold-out show. As one of post-hardcore music’s most influential bands since inception 20 years ago, Glassjaw has garnered a tremendous fan base than spans the globe thanks to their intense performances. Something about vocalist Daryl Palumbo’s presence causes everyone nearby to turn their attentions to him, a quality some could refer to as a je ne sais quoi. The pounding music combined with heartfelt lyrics makes Glassjaw a true force to reckon with in today’s post-hardcore music scene.

Seahaven opened the night with their 30-minute set. They appear to have a huge fan base, if measuring by online numbers, that surpasses that of the next band in the night. This local band plays music difficult to categorize. Their music does not carry the intensity of many songs by Glassjaw, but follows a hard yet slower rhythm, similar to some Deftones songs. I did not hear anything about this band prior to their performance, so I just stood by and enjoyed what they played.

The night’s sub-headliner, Into Another, played a 50-minute set next. Having formed as a band three years prior to Glassjaw, Into Another definitely has had more time to see more in the music industry, albeit they lived through a 12-year hiatus. Despite this, the band members still exhibit excellent musical prowess, with some instrumental sections that could make any aspiring musician jealous that such skill exists. Towards the end of their set, some of the fans started getting restless, disappointed that a band besides the headliner took over 45 minutes to play.

Wasting no time to set up, Glassjaw took to the stage following a quick stage setup. The roar of the crowd greeted the band as they strolled onto the stage with the lights still off. Once the lights came on, Glassjaw jumped immediately into their set, which followed the set from a show earlier this year, sans one song. They minimized their downtime between songs, opting to make quick transitions from song to song, resulting in a set that lasted approximately 70 minutes with no encore. The songs they played:

  • Mu Empire
  • Pink Roses
  • Jesus Glue
  • You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)
  • Pretty Lush
  • Star Above My Bed
  • Tip Your Bartender
  • Natural Born Farmer
  • Ape Dos Mil
  • Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
  • Convectuoso
  • Black Nurse
  • Gold
  • Miracle In Inches
  • Two Tabs Of Mescaline
  • Siberian Kiss
  • Babe

Looking for the next Glassjaw show? They have not announced anything currently, but like their Facebook page in the meantime to stay up to date on the happenings of Glassjaw.

In the recent years, we have seen a handful of reunions of great bands that broke up in the early 2000’s or earlier. Last year, punk fans around the world creamed their pants with the announcement of the reunions of At The Drive-In AND Refused at Coachella. More recently, we have seen the reunion of Rocket From The Crypt at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Fest, and the return of Mike Virus to Cheap Sex. Reunions work as a great marketing tool for getting the fans to come back out to see a favored band perform once more, but reunions also show us aftermath of life in the music industry. Some bands claim to reunite, but they may only carry some of the original lineup, such as Dead Kennedys without Jello or Black Flag with just Ron Reyes and Greg Ginn from the original lineup. Regardless, fans just want to attend a great show, and enjoy their favorite music with the other individuals at that show. Fans need not worry with the case of Glassjaw, as they have finally placed their ducks in a row to embark on a small tour throughout the southwestern United States.

As one of the most influential bands in post-hardcore history, Glassjaw has set quite a foundation for today’s post-hardcore scene. For having released only two full-length studio albums to date, fans around the world recognize Glassjaw as one of the originals in the genre, in a similar vein to how the Sex Pistols only ever released one full-length studio album. Vocalist Daryl Palumbo temporarily left Glassjaw in 2004 to pursue other projects, such as Head Automatica and the United Nations. Upon returning four years later, the band stumbled around a bit attempting to record a new album, releasing snippets of new music via their MySpace page. Glassjaw appears to walk in a straight line this year, as they count down the days to the release of their third full-length studio album. With the album confirmed, they set out on a small tour that just concluded last Friday night at the Glass House.

Alexander Spit opened the night with his rap and DJ set. In a manner similar to Alex’s Bar where all the non-headlining acts do not play the same genre as the headliner, Alexander Spit rapped the entire time, which last for about an hour. As I do not actively listen to this type of music, I cannot accurately comment, for I traveled to this venue for a post-hardcore show. He still managed to get some of the crowd pumped up, but after 45 minutes, some started getting restless waiting for Glassjaw.

Starting off a set quite early for a headliner, Glassjaw appeared to the stage at 9:30pm. As a very animated performer, Daryl Palumbo showed us all his expertise in the music industry with the way he moved. He utilized all of the space on the stage, occasionally interacting with the front row of fans. As for the set list, they played a good variety of songs from all of their albums, from as early as their first album in 2000 up to their latest EP from 2011. Glassjaw wasted no time with their set, as they played back to back with little downtime between songs; in fact, some of their transitions made many of their pairs of consecutive songs sound as one. Strangely, they ended their set abruptly, with absolutely no sign or a good bye – they just walked off the stage when they finished their last song. This left everyone waiting around for more, as we all expected an encore. However, the encore never came, as the house crew immediately started disbanding the stage set and equipment.

If you cannot see the set list photo below, check it out here:

  • Mu Empire
  • Pink Roses
  • Jesus Glue
  • You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)
  • Pretty Lush
  • Star Above My Bed
  • Tip Your Bartender
  • Natural Born Farmer
  • Ape Dos Mil
  • Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
  • Vermont Connection
  • Black Nurse
  • Gold
  • Miracle In Inches
  • Two Tabs Of Mescaline
  • Siberian Kiss
  • Babe

Missed out on Glassjaw? You have one more chance to see them again later this year at Riot Fest in Chicago. As one of the original bands of their field that still contains the original members, you would not want to miss this chance to catch them again before they finally throw in the towel.