I try to have shows wherever Iâ€™m at, whether its in Lancaster or in my college town (Greencastle, Indiana). Both places have great scenese, and at the beginning of this year, I tried to have a twenty-first birthday party show (September 16th; my birthday is the 15th). Just like the time that my artwork (in the form of a door that proclaimed fuck gender roles) was yanked so as to not provoke a reaction from the well-monied former graduates during Old Gold Weekend (essentially, where DePauw throws another layer of paint on their rapidly decaying buildings in order to increase their cash flow from well-heeled grads), our concert was cancelled literally three days before the planned date. This, as well as the insistence that I would not be able to use any other place on campus, due to our â€œnoise levelâ€ and the fact that some graduates may not feel as comfortable as they possibly could (IE they had money to give the school, and I didnâ€™t.)
Thus, even though Tes Puett (a mother of one of the members of a Greencastle band) and JJ Mace (a member of that same band, The Heart Attacks) were able to get the show moved out to the local fairgrounds, I still felt incredibly shitty. I felt like I let down all the bands and interested people in Greencastle, so I sat the show out, ignore the calls that would have allowed me to get a ride out that way. The show had some great bands, but the turnout left something to be desired. The weekend after the aborted show, I made arrangements that would stay, as well as clearing issues with public safety and the rest of the organizations having events during that day. We had a fairly strong opening set of bands including The Heart Attacks, Lagging Leftward, The Lost, Unstable, Black Cat Rebellion, Cruci-Fetus, and The Refills.
As the month until the show rapidly counted down, I received calls of cancellation from Lagging Leftward (singer in jail), Black Cat Rebellion (another show that day), Cruci-Fetus (too long of a distance; bassist on house arrest), and The Refills (member got drunk by father). Luckily, one by one, bands such as Silver in December (emo-rock), Pvrenchymv (progressive-rock) and The Cadavers (horror-punk; they would tragically break up two days before the show) would jump on the bill. Very few fliers were actually distruted for this concert, as the week before the show was one of the busiest in which Iâ€™ve ever been a part. Sure, Silver in December were able to print out 100 fliers and give them to people at sporting events, but I just felt that the word hadnâ€™t been adequately passed around the city and college.
My fears seemed to be justified as about 15 minutes into the show, there were only about ten non-band people in attendance. Luckily, as the night went on about 100 to 120 people would be present at different times, with the average attendance at any one given time being about 40 to 50. The one thing that surprised me that a member was in attendance for all five bands that were slated to play before we even started the show, which was a stark contrast to the last Lancaster show, which had two bands show up about an hour or so late. In fact, the PA was set up over an hour before the show was slated to start â€“ I came at 3 and everything was ready to go â€“ these kids were trying their hardest to ensure that this show would go off without a hitch.
Bands started taking the stage about 45 minutes after the show was supposed to start, which wasnâ€™t a great cause of worry because of the open spaces at the end of the night (because of the two Lancaster and one Indianapolis-band cancellations). In fact, I was able to pay a little more attention to the concert because I had the foresight to stash away anything that could be tampered with, including the microwave that caused me so many problems during the last show (for those who arenâ€™t familiar, someone burnt a CD in the microwave, creating a layer of goo that took me three straight hours of work to scrape). The Lost took the stage and played a number of songs that were done in the idiosyncratic way of GBA (their precursor band). The sound was very rough during The Lostâ€™s set, and the found themselves gradually going back into their old set. Tracks like â€œThanaphobiaâ€ were done during the night without any of the clarity or the Manichean style that the band once had. I find it hard to talk about The Lost this night, as everything was presented in such a garbled way â€“ whether that is more a symptom of a not-tuned up PA or a band or both, I can never know. With that same fuck-off attitude of Justin, trolling up and down the stage, The Lostâ€™s set ended when Justin chundered in front of the drum kit.
As I was not familiar with the band, Pvrenchymv was saddled with an early slot. Since I was strong-armed by the owner of the PA into including them in the first place, I had just assumed that they were eirâ€™s age (in High School). I can honestly say I was in error, not because they were considerably older than anyone else in attendance, but rather that they were one of the most memorable bands of the night. Playing a style of progressive-rock that simultaneously recalled Rush and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, their full sound was created out of a tightly-knit three-piece. Done up in Halloween garb, the band played a full set that was only hindered by the extended lengths of their songs and a lack of differentiation between the songs. Mind you, Pvrenchymv is by no doubt the most musically talented band that weâ€™ve had play a show here in Greencastle, but like fellow town-mates Lagging Leftward, both time and lack of differentiation between their songs are the key problems still holding them back.
The band that has matured the most in any of their incarnations would have to be Unstable. Moving away from a number of the covers that they used to play, Unstable went far in combating Alchemize and 21 Wounds for the spot of premiere metal band in town. With Jon assuming just vocals and allowing for each individual to specialize in their own instrument, the band is hard-hitting and focused. Jon, just like Justin earlier has actually added something to their stage act â€“ instead of standing there, with â€œshit in their pants because they are scaredâ€ as Zach would so eloquently put it back in our 2003 interview. The strong bass lines of Pvrenchymv would be matched note for note in Unstable, with J.D.â€™s lines being the highlight of the band. The idea that a bandâ€™s originals are better than the assumption of tracks and musical styles that arenâ€™t necessarily their own (read: Back To School) would be a common thread throughout the night, especially capture in the following band, Silver in Decemberâ€™s set.
Silver in December brought a large amount of individuals and had the marketing side of things locked down. Selling over $100 worth of shirts and demos before their set, their fan base was extremely supportive. Their â€œSixteen Foreverâ€ original was a very catchy song in the vein of The Starting Line, Yellowcard, and Riddlinâ€™ Kids, and would go far in making up for the disaster that was their cover of â€œOne Eight Sevenâ€. Again, my synopsis would be to go and just work on originals, and while the Senses Fail track was played primarily because Zach (from The Good Life) was going to be present and provide vocals, the simple fact is that the track was weakly-sang, weakly-played, and weakly-covered. This is not an issue with the band, as their original was one of the most memorable tracks played during the night, but rather with the circumstances surrounding that specific performance. The dynamic amongst the members of the band was also very pleasing, as they had just added a new bass player literally days before the show.
Finishing up the night were The Heart Attacks. Mixing in a few, well-done covers with their originals (Halloween, Fix Me!, and their own version of Dammit), The Heart Attacks played a mixture of punk, rock, and emo music. â€œGreencastle Highâ€, a hold over from their Totally Rejected days, was received well, and the stage presence of JJ Mace was large enough to merit the largest crowds of the night. Still, The Heart Attacks were by no means infallible, with a few guitar drop-outs by Ryan, and a weak cover (Melt With You). Both crowd and band would agree that this set was the strongest of any JJ-fronted band, and that fact is empirically true. However, Jacobâ€™s contributions to The Heart Attacks were by far the most surprising in that band â€“ whether it be the innovative use of cow-bell or the move away from the static drum beats that plagued Totally Rejected.
Overall, the entire show was a success. It was rumored (and will have to stay that way, since I have no clue what ey looks like) that Nancy Michaels, the mayor, was in attendance. The only thing that I had to clean up besides the usual detritus was a light bulb smashed in the elevator. Hopefully each of the bands that were playing tonight will be up for another show, as I know I will be.