The Evens – 06/19/2004 @ AMC, Bowling Green, Ohio

After kicking out the hecklers that were bothering them during sound check, The Evens (Ian Mackaye and Amy Farina) played an amazing set that was reminiscent of early nineties alternative music. It also included hints of mid-to-late nineties goth music. There is no kidding about it; Ian is one of the most talented musicians in the current period to pick up a guitar. This is not to say that Amy is a slouch, rather ey is able to keep with and accentuate Ian’s experimental time signature. Using a continual echo in the sound, The Evens made the room seem larger while still keeping the intimacy of the 150-plus packed in.

The songs in the set were unknown to all – The Evens chose to play around instead of cutting a disc and constricting their creativity. Thus, all the crowd was a willing captive, not leaving but attuning themselves to the wavelength of The Evens. Using the modified Danelectro, Ian was able to take the role as both bass and guitar player. Amy was allowed to keep up with Ian, a more remarkable feat considering that eir’s drum kit was pared down for ease of travel. Aside from the high quality of music that The Evens played, Ian and Amy were incredibly personable, jousting verbally with the crowd, and conversing with individuals after the set.

With audience participation at every turn, it made sense that Ian would have the audience help sing a song. This track, one of the more upbeat, included the line, “Police will not be-have” was sung by at least a half of the audience, even after just a few repetitions. This is music that can be enjoyed by the largest section of the populace; years in music have softened Ian’s sound, from the legendary hardcore sound of The Teen Idles or Minor Threat to the new paths forged by The Evens, but not eir’s talent in any way. It might actually be more correct to say that Ian’s talent has increased over the last twenty years, in that the nuance and subtlety of The Evens might be more important than the straight-edge credos of Minor Threat.

Even though The Evens at this moments were just drums and guitar, the sound that exuded from them sounded as rich as any full band. I cannot fathom what magic will be captured when The Evens jump into the recording studio. The results of this will be just as influential as “Complete Discography” or “13 Songs”, and each of the individuals that attended this show are privy to this change in history.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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