Totally Rejected, The Hybrid, The Good Life – December 6th, 2003 @ Greencastle Indiana (JMcQ)

Well, another show was put together for Meherry Hall. Taking place during a Saturday night in which I found myself pretty busy, I was able to sneak in a small time before the show was to start. The news of the show was pretty well disseminated, with ample amounts of flyers being printed out and J.J. (The Hybrid) and Zach (The Good Life) coming on my radio show the Thursday before the show. Everything seemed to be going alright, until right before the show. It seems that the individuals who had booked the hall for the bands (Young Life, a crazy fundamentalist group on campus) accidentally double-booked it, and the sound check was interfered with by an group singing Christmas songs. A show that was supposed to start a few minutes before 9 actually started an hour late, and Totally Rejected finally got to take the stage.

For those unaware, Totally Rejected is another local (Greencastle) band that has been formed from The Hybrid – in this incarnation, J.J. takes his old position of doing double duty as guitarist and vocalist, Aaron stays on as a bassist, and Ryan, the lead guitarist, takes the drums. While they had just coalesced a few weeks before the show, their original track was fairly fresh sounding, with a form and guitar line not unlike that of a Queers or Screeching Weasel song. The only weak link at this early stage is the drumming – where they work fairly well in the context of the song, removed from the context that they are in, they seem like they are just filler.

In the quickest transition that I’ve every seen, Ryan jumps back on the guitar and Pat and Mark are restored to their original positions in The Hybrid. Starting out with an acoustic opening of their most popular song, The Hybrid immaculately moves into electrics. While many individuals were not familiar with their next song, a cover of the Queers’ hit song “Punk Rock Girls”, the representation of the track could not be any more sharp. The case is the same with their cover of Bad Religion’s “American Jesus”, but the tide of the concert would change with their version of “Same Old Story”, the Pennywise track. In this, and this would be a fairly common thread through the rest of the show, the guitar lines were off throughout it.

By “Skulls”, J.J. has stepped up to his role as crowd leader, and throws the mic out for the chorus, with ample support by the audience, which had by this time had swelled due to the end of the Greencastle basketball game. Moving away from the stigma of the last Meherry show, in which The Hybrid censored themselves from playing their most recognizable track, “Skate Park Slut”, their chorus of “FUCK FUCK FUCK” reverberated through the hallowed halls of the sanctuary. “Skate Park Slut” also treated the audience to Aaron’s sissling bass line, chugging through the track so quickly that the guitar has some serious issues trying to keep up.

Other similarities to the previous show included two spot on covers, that big Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Rancid’s “Salvation”. The audience was shown to be chickenshit, by and large, during “Salvation”. This is due to the fact that J.J. continually implored someone from the audience to go up and sing along to the track, which no one ended up doing. However, the audience exceeded all expectations when The Hybrid got to the chorus, literally filling the hall with “Come on baby won’t you show me what you got / I want your salvation”. Finishing their set with a double shot of The Misfits, including “Halloween” and “Hybrid Moments”, The Hybrid still showed their audience that they are the in thing in Greencastle. There were a number of minor mistakes, but more practices might be able to work them out. Minor errors and gaffes would be a continuing thread throughout the night, even encompassing more than just the concert. Apparently, even the singing group had more than their fair share of errors, and as such, we have to take the concert as its own creature.

Moving onto The Good Life, everything seemed to be pretty much the same from the last show that they were at. Zach had a wireless connection to his amp, and Trevor was chugging cough syrup like it was nothing, but all and all, everything seemed okay with the band. Starting out with Recover’s “My Only Cure”, a track dedicated to GBA’s Justin Renner, The Good Life would move on to their revered original, “Save Me”. “Save Me” has a much more wild feel to it than previous recordings and live performances would indicate, but the roughness, especially fed by Zach’s distortion, would be something that affects the band throughout the night.

With a big cheer from the crowd, The Good Life would go into the first of their Brand New covers, the current hit “Sic Transit Gloria”. As with “Save Me”, we notice a little harder edge to Zach’s bass line, but one very ugly monster would rear its head beginning with this track. While I am not necessarily sure if it is due to experimentation or just being off, the lead guitar would have a different sound throughout the entirety of the set. “When in Doubt”, The Good Life’s cover of Thousand Foot Krutch, would be the clusterfuck of the night to any individual who was watching the band. In this, Zach’s battery pack would pop open due to vigorous movement, and the song was left without a bass line for that minute or so where a replacement cord was located for him. Needless to say, the rest of The Good Life were able to continue playing without any noticeable distraction, and the song went off without a hitch.

“Cute Without the E” comes up on the docket next, and came with the caveat that The Good Life was said by some individuals to “play the worst version of the song”. While there are some palpable errors with the track, including an odd sped-up tempo, and a number of minor off-chords by Jacob, the crowd was extremely into the track, with the sheer amount of people up in front of the stage being around 50-75 by the time. The Good Life would cover their second Brand New track, “70 times 7”, which was much more coherent than the tracks that immediately preceded it, and the writer’s ignorance was shown when they would cover a track that I had no clue about (which would turn out to be Taking Back Sunday’s “Your So Last Summer).

The concert would end with a surprise in Saves the Day’s “At Your Funeral”, a track that was played much more often when some of the individuals in The Good Life were still in What Next?, and something expected in their final Brand New cover, “The Quiet Things that No One Knows”. All and all, this is the concert that makes the high-water point of The Good Life, even if there were some more specific issues with the band during this show. Their problem with tempo only manifested itself once at the show, a major improvement since at the Halloween show, the tempo changed fairly often. The off-ness of the lead guitar was something new, and as has been said, I’m really not sure if it is something that is an experiment or just a slightly off-night.

The Hybrid would be pretty down on theirselves immediately after the show, but there was really not much of a reason to be. I mean, what I kept hearing from individuals is that the rhythm guitarist continually “had an attitude”, or was not trying his best, but the simple fact is that the band, as a whole, sounded pretty damn good, even with these minor errors. The Good Life was much more confident, and I believe that they have a reason to ber – they really are maturing and evolving each time I see them. We know that The Hybrid can really write a memorable song or two, but The Good Life seems to focus on the level of quality of their covers, excepting “Save Me”. Overall, these two acts are what Greencastle has going for it at this moment in time. The sheer number of other bands around here that could just reach up and snatch the crown off either band’s head at any time is just amazing, and perhaps by March or April, I might be saying the same about Cheap Sticker, GBA, or The Vroloks.

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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