Project Zero, The Inheritance, Anything Girl, The Red Racer, The Goodlife, and Brookside @ Greencastle High – Aux Gym, November 6th, 2004

Each time a show happens at Greencastle High School, you are going to know that it will be one to remember. From how I was introduced to the Greencastle music scene (Ides of March) to Ides II late last school year, I just knew that Band-Aid 2004 would be beyond all expectations. It is also the only show I pay for in Greencastle, as practically all the other shows I go to here are free. However, I’m perfectly fine spending a pittance of $5 when it goes to such great causes (the GHS post-prom for the Ides concerts and the Troyer brothers’ graduation fund for Band-Aid). Things bode well even before the show, as I found a sealed Slim-Jim while walking to the venue and was picked up by one of the Pvrenchymv members half-way through my trek.

What really surprised me when I got there was the sheer about of people that were already there over 20 minutes before the show was set to start. The largest local event I had ever attended, final ticket court yielded the fact that 750 people came. Sound was provided well all night from a Chicago-based company, and while the multipurpose room would hold all the attendees without a problem, their power load was continually tested, resulting in a tripped breaker twice during the night. Starting out a little bit late (and what show doesn’t start late?), the show would finally get started with a two-person acoustic band, Project Zero.

Project Zero is yet another victim of the epidemic that afflicts many local Greencastle band – extreme reliance on cover songs. Playing Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and a few tracks by less noteworthy and more current bands, the band had each track down but really didn’t satisfy the public’s thirst for innovation. After playing a syncopated set, these two yielded the stage to Columbus, Indiana’s own The Inheritance.

The Inheritance elicited many a comparison to the cutting-edge of emo rock that is pandered by Deep Elm records. Incorporating the piano-set synthesizer into a number of their tracks, the band seemed to have minor issues with the prevalence of the aforementioned instrument, which laid heavy on a number of early tracks. The saxophone brought a sultry, earthy emotion to the tracks that very few bands have the ability to patch in successfully without either seeming arrogant or at the worst, cheesy. A minor confidence issue was prevalent during The Inheritance’s first few tracks, but much like the synthesizer, as the set continued the issue resolves itself. The vocalist in this case gradually become much more comfortable with the crowd, and was able to belt out the lyrics and work the crowd like a profession. Even though the band was not a home-grown act, the crowd was enthralled by The Inheritance, being driven into a clapping frenzy just as the breaker blew for the first time of the night. When working at their peak efficiency, The Inheritance is a band that is solid and not content with working within the confines of “emo” or “post-punk”; while some tracks may lean a little too hard on the Spartan side, the set was beyond all expectations.

Anything, Girl was an one-individual band. A stocky male in an Alkaline Trio shirt would scream, sing, and rap over beats that eir had created just for that purpose. While a number of individuals both young and old were turned off by eir music, an equal portion of the crowd was captured by the sheer difference that Anything, Girl personified. While not definable in the least, the lack of concern that Anything, Girl showed for individuals that didn’t like eir’s set in the least is in direct parallel to both Atom and His Package and Anal Cunt. In the aspect that someone that seemed so “emo” would do something that would put most typical “emo” kids far out of their comfort zones, Anything, Girl was inexorably tied to punk-turned-rap act Sweet Pickle. While the premise was novel, the sound system seemed a little too powerful for Anything, Girl rendering any lyrics distorted beyond belief. While at least some of that was intentional, a key thing of what draws me to new acts is the ability to process their vocals. In ending eir set with Sara(h)’s heavenly vocals, Anything, Girl showed a radio-friendly side: the screaming placed alongside the church-like quality of Sara(h)’s voice is a perfect chiaroscuro, a light versus dark relationship, and really showed me personally the eir was not a one-trick pony.

After the innovative nature of Anything, Girl I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Red Racer. While Red Racer started off slow, their intricate arrangements became more forceful when they all started working together. The vocals had more than a passing glance to Claudio (Coheed and Cambria) and Pierre (Simple Plan). The PA caused problems for Red Racer, as low volume levels would plague the early tracks and would make the vocalist virtually unheard. Overcompensation on the part of the sound would create the opposite effect soon after the low levels were fixed, making the vocals dward out the rest of the band. Being the first band to allow for virtuosity on the bass, The Red Racer would be innovative in their own right, attempting an acoustic track that would teeter on the edge of calamity. The track would be rescued after the resumption of a more common tempo for the band, but The Red Racer shows exactly what befalls bands like The Early November on their extremely weak all-acoustic album. If the band attempts to try and change their style too much, or treat the acoustic guitar as a distinct instrument from the electric guitar, the rest of the band’s dynamic suffers. The Red Racer are smart and talented enough to see this problem and succeed where many others have failed.

Amazingly, not many people would crowd into The Red Racer’s crowd after The Goodlife took up the stage. The long load-times between bands may have been the culprit, as many people were reluctant to stay in an unlit building trying to talk to their friends while sub-standard music was being blasted through the PA. Anything that I can say about The Goodlife can be captured in this one simple statement: each time I’ve seen them, they have impressed me more. Again, this exempts the last-minute booking they had earlier last year at Bowman park, but the band is just more together than they ever have been. Starting off their set with a new track, there is no gradual clicking of the band, but The Goodlife is one coherent entity at the get-go. Again, the PA would cause a problem with a band’s set, as the speakers tended to distort Zach’s bass through the entirety of the first track and would resume at random intervals through the rest of the set.

Santa Claus brought The Goodlife a solid breakdown (one that had previously been broken up by minor flubs) in Kayla Times Kristy, and My Heart Belongs On the Jersey Shore brings up a conflict in the band. Trevor’s vocals on “Jersey Shore” are in direct contrast to Jake’s guitar lines, but the multi-part harmonies found later on this track diverge alongside the scales of Jake’s solo. The only discernible weakness for The Goodlife comes during “Save Me”, which contains rough interplay between some of the members as well as some minor drop-outs on guitars. Finishing up their set with a track jokingly entitled “Starbucks”, The Goodlife takes on a guest singer and a new influence: The Starting Line. While by no means derivative of the latter band, “Starbucks” is yet another step in The Goodlife’s evolution, an evolution that incorporates new talents with each subsequent track. The Goodlife would “encore” with One Eight Seven by Senses Fail, but even the band realized that they were beyond mere cover; The Goodlife is no longer a band tied down by their influences, but a vibrant, living entity that has no limits in their creative process.

Brookside were the rock stars of the night, even drawing some numbers into the crowd that even The Goodlife didn’t have. When a band is so cohesive and energetic, how can anyone not be mesmerized by them? Owing to better production in sound than the Gathering Grounds show as well as about ten times the crowd, Brookside really shined this night. Everything is clean and well-arranged for the band, but Brookside is not by any means anti-septic. Incorporating the bass even more than The Red Racer did, each band member has their own time to shine, and aside from raw talent both the lead singer and second guitarist of Brookside owned the stage. Climbing up on the drum platform, ritualistically slicing down enemies with their instruments, Brookside were an all-around enjoyment. However, the climax of their set came during “Myspace Ruined All My Important Relationships”, and the studio-quality sound of “Westmoreland Heartbreak” showed Brookside as being two steps away from national prominence.

Brookside’s influences would bubble up through the set, with “Dead Ends” having a “Jed” – era Goo Goo Dolls mixed with SR-71 feel. Brookside would leave the stage twenty till midnight, but the crowd that surrounded their merch table would leave them selling and signing to well after midnight. Likeable, talented, and polished, Brookside was the culmination of a night marked by electrifying bands and a perfect crowd. Interested individuals can check out band’s websites at: http://www.purevolume.com/brookside, http://theredracer.da.ru/, http://www.theinheritancesite.tk/, http://www.purevolume.com/anythinggirl, and http://tglrock.tripod.com. My gratitude goes out to all the people that were able to create such a wonderful and memorable show, and here’s to hoping that this year’s Ides could be a fraction of what Band-Aid 2004 was.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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