w/ Ignite, A Global Threat, Modern Life is War
09.14.06 @ Temple Club, Lansing, MI
For a fourteen dollar cover charge, everyone who stepped into the club that night got their money’s worth. Spotlighting a five-band bill that transitioned back and forth perfectly from street punk to hardcore, there was something for everyone- because even if you didn’t like any of the bands, the drink specials were generous enough to help you forget that.
Local talent Thrashing in the Streets delivered the first short set, ten minutes of generic street punk, followed by one of the best things to come out of Iowa since homemade wheat bread, Modern Life Is War. These guys deserve copious credit for putting on a decent show with all members apparently stricken with some sort of flu or virus.
Most of the area’s pretentious punks had the art of being fashionably late down to a science, and strutted in just in time to crowd the club and destroy anything in sight for A Global Threat’s set. Their best live song being “Free Will,” AGT’s set shined as the angriest of the night. Their pissed off energy transferred into the veins of anyone who had participated in a vocal lamentation earlier on the death of punk, who all seemed to don the same Aus Rotten shirt, two of which who had dented my car earlier that night in a drunken skateboarding wreck. To whoever you were, you’re lucky you all had the same exact blond mohawks and I couldn’t tell you apart.
After being knocked off a bar table by a stagediver while trying to get some “aerial” photos (thanks, “cute guy with dreadlocks” who caught me, by the way), I entertained the thought of maybe watching Ignite’s set from a comfortable stool by the bar, where I wouldn’t have to worry about potential injuries. But the second they walked onstage, Ignite blew me away, and I was drawn like a moth to a flame. This band poured their hearts out; dedicating melodic, well-played, beautiful hardcore songs to fathers who refused to be deadbeats, fallen friends, and the other bands on the tour. They sounded exceptionally crisp, clear and collected live, which is more than I can say for the three previous acts. Vocalist Zoli Teglas spoke smartly in between songs about drunk driving and politics, without coming across as just another psuedo-scholar musician trying to preach to disinterested fans. In fact, people I had spoken to earlier who expressed repulsion for hardcore were openmouthed during Ignite’s set. Personally, I hung onto Teglas’ every word (spoken, screamed or sang) along with everyone else around me- and even the AGT fanatics who migrated to the back corner to show their distrust for any band who couldn’t be on a compilation with the Casualties- I know I saw some of their eyes wander over in intrigue to look at the band behind the intelligent commentary. At their ending song, some people bowed their heads, a couple pulled out lighters, and others raised their beers to show respect.
Headliners Strike Anywhere finished off their unprecedented venture into Lansing, Michigan with a strong set. The tracks they played off of new release Dead FM were the best received, and the band’s energy and genuine kindness was undeniable. Guitarist Matt Sherwood not only put up with, but smiled and laughed with me when I crouched a foot away from his mic stand to blind him with my flash and snap a photo. They had an interesting story between songs about how their RV had broken down and the other bands on the tour had picked them up. Regardless, they couldn’t captivate my attention as well as Ignite had, so me and my companion favored starting a drunken “To The World” sing-a-long towards the back of the club, even though he and I weren’t in the best shape for remembering lyrics.
By the end of the night, it was pretty obvious that although about half of the show goers had arrived solely to see Strike Anywhere, supporting band Ignite stole their thunder. Most of the conversation that could be heard pouring out of the mouths of roadies, journalists, fans, and club staff alike seemed to revolve around Ignite’s powerful show … with the exception of a few self-important mohawk aficionados still railing about how the voice of our generation lies only in identical Punkcore Records bands. But you know what? Those are the kinds of kids who will never allow themselves to admit the existence of passion when a band like Ignite radiates it. Those are the kinds of kids concerned more about appearance than the actual show. Those are the kinds of kids who dent other people’s cars. And to them, I say, quit denying yourself the opportunity to appreciate music you may not have expected. And if I can’t pop that dent back out … oh, shit, you have no idea…
Photos by Becky Fritter
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.