Paint It Black, Ed Gein, Sparkle Motion, and Lords: Live at ABC No Rio, 11/5/05 By Joe

Dec 06, 2005

I walked over to ABC on an unusually warm November afternoon for a Saturday matinee. Of the four bands playing, I only knew one really well, but had heard good things about the rest, so I was still looking forward to everything, despite not knowing what exactly to expect.

Due to some last minute circumstances, Lords went on first, loading in what looked like about three and a half stacks worth of equipment. I hadn't heard much of them before, but my first impression was that if J. Mascis had a hardcore band (TODAY, not Deep Wound), this would be it. They didn't talk MUCH, but instead just played songs consisting of technical riffs that are both jazzy and metallic at the same time, at full speed. I know it may not seem like it, but I mean this in the most complimentary way: I think the dudes in Lords are insane. Granted, I didn't meet or talk to any of them, but watching them gave me images of them sitting around, transcribing all this crazy music that just comes to them, recording and playing it over and over again in hopes that it will stop. (Keep in mind, I don't say, "That they THINK just comes to them...")

So Sparkle Motion comes up next, and while I know their name is some Donnie Darko reference, I can't help but think of that Simpsons episode with the Japanese box with the fishbulb on it. I was still pretty blown away from Lords at the time, but they played a brief set of really angry hardcore, derivative of the ultra aggressive bands New York City is often known for. They seemed really pissed, even for an angry hardcore band.

Ed Gein was next, and had slightly less equipment then Lords, but also had a sampler that they used to play some intro sounds and other movie quotes. I'd call them a thinking man's grindcore band, as the music was also very fast and noisy, but also had complex aspects to it. Everyone sang/screamed at one point or another. They encouraged the audience to check out the lyrics to every band's songs, not just theirs. We were reminded that while a lot of punk related music tends to be aggressive, it shouldn't just be mindless all the time, and that it can be what inspires us to pursue change for the better. I would like to go on record saying that I am down with that.

So I have to admit, I feel pretty lucky living in an area where I can see Paint It Black on a fairly regular basis. If you're not already familiar with them yet, Paint It Black is a punch to the mouth of what they've dubbed "content-free core." Taking inspiration from the bands of the '80s underground, their songs are angry yet focused (drawing from "Less Deicide, More Minor Threat," like their song says), ranging from both socio/political to personal, with just enough melody and upbeat enough to make you really want to do something more than stand around at a hardcore show. They're strong supporters of all DIY efforts in general, and best of all it's obvious that they love what they do.

Considering how long they've been at it (You could say "featuring ex-members of" and include so many important bands it's unfathomable), it seems like this is second nature to them by now. Everyone was singing along, literally within the opening chords, and continued on as they went back and forth with songs from both of their records. Giving it everything they have, nothing could stop them, even with Josh's guitar strap coming undone, and barely even missing a note (thanks to the help of some handsome dude who jumped in to fix it). Despite it just being a one-off show, that didn't make it any less memorable, from watching Dave go crazy behind his kit, Dan as a modern day Jello Biafra or Ian MacKaye, or Andy just mocking Dan for taking lines from Affirmative Action Jackson. By the end, I walked out wondering if it were 1984 all over again.

(On a side note, the volunteers at ABC No Rio are making concentrated efforts to renovate the building, in an attempt to buy the building from the city, to continue hosting shows, as well as the other activities and resources they've provided over the years. They could use your support, if you can spare it - Hell, I pitched in and I haven't had a job in over a year.)