I haven’t gone to hardly any shows since I returned from India, which is quite unlike me. There have actually been numerous times when I planned to go, but, after I got home from work, decided I didn’t feel like it. Is it because none of my (lameass) friends were interested in going and I didn’t feel like going by myself? That’s certainly never stopped me before. Is it because I’d already had a long day and thought it might be nice to get more than the anticipated six hours of sleep before getting up for work again the next day? Another possibility, but that has not deterred me in the past. Is it because I’m becoming more picky about who I want to go see? A thought, but also certainly a way to miss a good band I’ve never heard before. It’s just a curious phenomenon, me skipping shows. If I consider it for more than just a few seconds, it leads me to believe that I may be entering a new stage in my life. Maybe that’s just another way of saying that I’m just getting old.
All that said, I decided kind of last minute to go the show on Friday. I asked my brother if he wanted to go to a hardcore show; he was down. The show was at Thee Parkside (www.theeparkside.com) and the line-up was Duck And Cover, Desolation, Peligro Social, and Vitamin X.
When we got to Parkside, they’d switched the entrance to the club around to the back. The last show I was at where they did that was the Tulsa / Triclops! / Toys that Kill / Marked Men show many months ago. I have now gathered that this is the case for all-ages shows at Parkside. It also gives me the impression that it’s going to be a crowded one.
It was crowded, but not ridiculously so. It was just a good turn out. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, Duck And Cover was mostly finished. I only saw about the last half a minute of their last song, but man, it sounded good. They totally ripped for thirty seconds. They piqued my interest and I want to see when they’re playing again so that I can catch a whole set. Fast and crazy, that’s what they sounded like.
Desolation, from the Bay Area, was up next. The bassist was a guy that I see all the time at the Berkeley BART station. I always think it’s kind of interesting when you see these ghosts all over the place and then one day you get something actually tangible about them. So, technically, I still haven’t met him, but now I know something about this guy’s secret life (okay, it’s not actually a secret at all, or I gather he wouldn’t be playing shows out, but what I mean is that everyone’s lives—everyone that you don’t know, that is—are secrets until you get a little context. They may as well not even exist until you pass them in the supermarket, and even then they’re just there on the periphery.).
The singer was a friend of a friend. I think I’ve run into him before. As a whole, I was into the band. They reminded me a little of Born/Dead, that kind of style: fast kinda crusty stuff. They really brought it. The drummer was a total monster. Sometimes he did these little rolls or fills or whatever the hell they’re called and I would catch my breath and look around to see if anyone else had noticed. He was super fine, really good. I was happy like a clam. Inside, my heart was pounding away. I was glad for the all-ages show because the crowd was moving a little, but I was still surprised that there wasn’t more going on considering Desolation’s energy. People just really hold back sometimes, you know? It’s weird. The rhythms were excellent, really nice. The singer was yelly and kinda guttural. I don’t think I understood a single word he said the entire time, but who cares?
I tried to look up a link for Desolation (www.myspace.com/ariseandresist [by the way I really want to arise and resist without myspace]) so I could pass it on, and I came across this line, from a mag called protestzine (on a geocities web site)…it says, “This interview was done by Ken Sanderson of Prank Records,” but I think maybe it’s an interview with Ken from Prank Records. “….. 12 song Debut LP/CD by DESOLATION from the SF bay Area, total Raging Japanese Hardcore influenced crust from members of BORN/DEAD, SCURVY DOGS and STRUNG UP.” So I guess the fact that they reminded me of Born/Dead makes a lot of sense. And it looks like they have a full-length on Prank Records (www.prankrecords.com).
Also, I am reminded (from a show I went to back in March) that some of the folks from Peligro Social and Desolation are in this band Dopecharge. It just seems to be one big happy family. It’s sweet.
It was a mixed crowd. A bunch of crusties, but even some skins were in attendance, with their bleached jeans and boots. Someone yelled that old standby, “Play faster!” and, as usual, it was kinda funny because of how fast they were already playing. It made me think of that gorgeous poem by Bucky Sinister, “Anatomy of the Pit,” part of which says:
“We have five other words and phrases for love.
this band sucks”
That is such a great poem.
Anyway again, when this one guy came ‘round, it made me think of this conversation I had awhile ago about space. It was with a group of people from different countries (India, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, the Cook Islands, and me from the good ole U.S. of A.), and we were talking about different cultures’ perceptions of space. Like how in some countries, if there are tons of people and you live in the city, it’s going to be really crowded. However, if you’ve grown up like that, maybe you’re a bit used to it, and thus maybe your desire / need / whatever for personal space is not as large as someone who might have grown up in a less crowded area. I wasn’t necessarily buying it all; I felt that a lot of it has to do with individual comfort levels and that wasn’t sufficiently brought into the equation; nevertheless, on Friday when this guy came ‘round in front of me, I took a wee step back in preparation for what he, and the pit that was forming in front of him, might do, and (in my total nerdy way) I thought, “I learned my space from punk shows.”
After Desolation came Peligro Social (www.myspace.com/peligrosocialsf) from San Francisco. I have to admit that I totally missed them, I missed their entire set. I wasn’t upset about this because I’ve seen them a few times before. They’re good, I’ve got nothing bad to say about them at all, but when I’ve seen them in the past, for some reason they didn’t really turn my crank. Not sure why. Regardless, I was happy to stay outside and chat with some friends. They are, however, quite well-liked by the kids in the area, and if you’re into political, crusty type of punk / hardcore (en español no less), you should check them out.
Vitamin X (http://www.myspace.com/vitaminxhc) was on last. Prior to the show, because I’m terribly uncool, I was actually not really familiar with them. I knew their name, knew they had a new release on TankCrimes records (which, by the way, was recorded by Steve Albini and features John Brannon from Negative Approach on a couple tracks), and had checked them out briefly when I heard about the show and decided that it sounded like it would be a fun one and I’d better go (particularly considering my recent absence from such things). From the Netherlands, their lyrics are very political, and they play fast, often super short songs. I also actually just found out that they’re straight edge. Are there a lot of straight edge bands running around still? Probably. After they began, a bigger pit got going and my brother, who had earlier in the evening said that he wouldn’t be getting into anything because of a messed up elbow, was heard to exclaim, “At last, a real hardcore show!” and decided he might go out “just for a song or two.” Although I knew he might regret it later, I always enjoy seeing my little brother really have some fun, and I was happy that my friend was around to give him a real shove when it was warranted (I really hate how, despite my somewhat Amazonian stature, not super fitness, but, okay, could be worse, and lengthy experience with such matters, I often fail to get much power behind my pushing. Why in the world is that?! Aggravates!). For sure there have been plenty of other hardcore shows with good pits as of late that my brother has just not been privy to (not exactly being as into the scene as he once was), but it’s true that even at times when it seems like there should be plenty of dancing, there often isn’t, so he was happy. Here we could launch into a discussion about the numerous positive aspects of all ages shows, but, as I’ve strayed far too often already in this “review,” and we all probably already know all the benefits (of all agers) anyway, I’ll spare you.
Continuing on, so Vitamin X was pretty dang fun. They apparently had a new drummer, a guy from (I believe they said) Germany. At one point, the singer noted that before the show they’d watched the (U.S. presidential) debate and it was “pretty lame.” He went on to say that although one of the candidates seemed lamer than the other, it was still, overall, “pretty lame.” The bassist then added, “And fuck that bitch from Alaska!” That sentiment, of course, could possibly be said to have added to my appreciation for them.
Since Friday I have listened to the Vitamin X CD that my brother picked up and a few of the songs have some early-European-metal-band-sounding rhythms and solos that are not my favorite, but I didn’t really pick those up at the show (due to the sound or lack of attention on my part I’m unsure), which was just fine by me.
So, all in all, it was a marvelous show. The bands were all good fun (despite not seeing Peligro Social, I think it’s safe to say they put on a good show), and at the end of the night, I felt really glad that I took myself out into it.