Good Riddance, Grade, Strike Anywhere, Fire Sermon: Live at the Palace 06/02/02 By Donofthedead

Jun 11, 2002

It was Saturday and my wife had a pounding migraine. Should I go to this show or not? I hadn't heard of any of the opening bands before. Could I tolerate sitting through three opening bands that might suck? I hadn't been out for over a month, so I proceeded to the venue. At least Todd Taylorand Kat would be there to interview Strike Anywhere.

I showed up to the Palace and the place was empty. Did this show get canceled because of low ticket sales? I saw people were walking in, so the show must be going forward. Rather quickly for the Palace, I went through the security check. They barely checked my camera bag. Sometimes, it feels like going to the airport post-9/11 there. I went up to the guest list window and asked for my tickets and photo pass. I got full-access bands! It was going to be a good night! I was on the list for a +1. I didn't bring anyone, so I kept the extra pass for someone who might need it. I proceeded into the club and it was absolutely empty. Maybe twenty people, at the most, had entered so far. I asked myself if I should start drinking. No. It was too early in the day. I decided to walk around. I bumped into fellow Razorcakers, Todd and Kat, and decided to hang out with them. They had gathered the band Strike Anywhere for a photo shoot prior to their interview.

I heard the opening chords to Fire Sermon and set up my camera to go shoot pictures. I walked in and saw a long-haired, blonde-haired dude with a leather vest on stage singing. Who the hell are these guys? How in the hell did they get on this bill? They reminded me of a bad Sunset Strip hard rock/grunge/metal band. I took one picture and was pissed at myself for wasting film. I wasn't into this band, so I went back out to watch the photo shoot. They finished the photo shoot and we re-entered the club. Damn, the band was still playing. Should I start drinking? No, still too early. At least they gave me a chuckle for how bad they were.

Strike Anywhere entered the stage. The crowd had quadrupled. They were about to play in front of a good sized crowd. I had never heard any of SA's music before. Todd was interviewing them, so they must be half decent. Half decent is an understatement. From beginning to end, they pummeled me back with power and presence. The singer, Thomas, was quite a showman. I told him after the set that he reminded me of Chi Pig of SNFU. He was jumping all over the stage. He screamed at the top of his lungs. The band was tight and seemed genuine in their passion. The music was fast and engaging in its fury. The audience was receptive to their music and many seemed to know the lyrics. I was blown away. I hated to see it end, but other bands were to follow.

Grade was next. I wasn't sure if their music was going to work for this crowd. I met the drummer prior to the show and he told me their music was slower than Good Riddance's. I was up for it since it was going to mix things up. I hate going to shows when every single band sounds the same. They started to play and I went and shot some photos. After shooting photos, I stood in the middle of the audience to check out the music. It was not my - nor for much for the audience's - cup of tea. Too emo for me. The songs tended to be too similar in tempo. The dissonant ambiance of the music was not interesting to me. I decided to go get something to eat since I wasn't feeling well. I made it back near the end of the set and listened to the last three songs. My opinion of the music hadn't changed.

Good Riddance closed out the night. The club was packed at this point and all were there to see them. You know a band is well liked when you can hear the audience singing as loud as the band. Early in the set, they played my favorite song, "Credit to His Gender." I still think it's the best song they ever wrote. I would hate to see it fall off their set list. They played songs, old and new. The crowd was worked into a frenzy. Kid were flying over the barricade in front of the stage. Russ, the singer, connected with the audience by going up to the barrier and letting the kids sing along with him. GR has become a well-oiled machine with the drummer that used to play in Kid Dynamite, Dave Wagenschutz. Songs were played seamlessly. When they wanted more action it the pit, they requested it. With all the touring they've been doing in the last few years, they had no problem connecting with the audience. I forgot what song they ended the set with, but the crowd was not ready for the end of the night. A chant rang through the crowd until the band returned to the stage. They opened the encore with "Libertine" and the crowd went nuts. Two more songs were played and it was over. You couldn't choreograph it any better.

I proceeded outside to sit in on the Strike Anywhere interview. I listened as they intelligently and humorously answered the questions Todd threw at them like wild curve balls. After the interview was wound up and Todd, Thomas, and I hung out. We had a great conversation and said our good-byes.

It was a good night. I got to see a band I have never heard of before that blew me away (Strike Anywhere) and band that I have liked for years (Good Riddance). If I had to choose who I liked best of the night, I would have to say Strike Anywhere. They pumped me up by playing music that I can honestly say is what they truly believe in and enjoy playing.