Review: No Age, live.

No Age, 7th St. Entry, Mpls, MN, 11/23/10-One would imagine any proper review of a No Age live show would end with line like, "While it may lack the insert big word of your choosing and insert synonym for the exact same big word of its predecessors, make no mistake about it, this is the punk rock of today."  Whereas, this one will simply end accompanied by a photo of jean jacket with a embroidered kitten on the back.  But before I do that, I'd like to bitch about all the people on cell phones at the show. 

Arriving at the Entry shortly before the second of two opening acts began, I surveyed the crowd, as is my wont, to discover the average age, even for an 18+ show was older than expected.  And by older I still mean younger than me.  I should mention that as a dedicated follower of fashion I was surprised to see some folks are still doing the bandanna around the neck thing.  I'm fairly certain this is dead.  And if not, should be.  In fact, I'm now from this moment forward declaring it dead. 

Anyway, you know how when someone tells a ghost story around the campfire they have to do that flashlight under the chin thing?  Well that's what everyone's face looks like at shows these days because everyone stares at their phones non stop.  In fact, the guy next to me was Facebooking on his iPhone during the entire set.  I was so annoyed by this and appalled that he was not making any attempts to disguise such embarrassing behaviour, that I wanted to grab the tall motherfucker by the ear-mom style-and pull him down to me so I could remind him he was in fact at a show. 

Eventually No Age took the stage.  I can't believe I didn't notice this before but the drummer and primary vocalist, Dean Spunt looks and sounds remarkably similar to a young Mike D.  He and guitarist Randy Randall (and touring keyboard player) move effortlessly from new songs to old ones and back again.  On record, the new album Everything In Between is an obvious move into a more palatable direction, just as Nouns was from Weirdo Rippers, but when songs from all three are played interchangeable, the difference in virtually unnoticeable.  It's undeniably, well, No Age.  Whatever that means. 

I wanted to spit my gum in the hair of the next person I saw looking at their motherfucking phone!   

About three quarters through the set they threw in cover of BLACK FLAG'S  Six Pack and thankfully the crowd up front acted appropriately. Of course this moment couldn't go un-Tweeted or texted about, so several people began furiously typing on their phones.  Unbelievable!  You're at a real live show, with real live people, where a real live band is playing right in front of you, and playing Black Flag no less, and instead of choosing to actually experience it, you're...argh! 

It was at this point that I could take no more.  I grabbed a handful of ice from an empty in front of me and began throwing cubes at everyone who was staring at their phones.  In retrospect, I'm quite surprised at myself for doing this, as I was alone, and as much as I hate on stuff like this, rarely do I actually do something about it.  I think everyone got the point.

One should not be surprised by this digital connectivity of the No Age audience, as they are a band whose popularity is in large part due to internet chatter.  But still, they ARE a visceral band.  Quite frankly you're doing yourself and those around you a disservice if you're in the physical location in which it's happening and instead you're Tweeting or Facebooking about it rather than actually doing it.  Fuck, maybe this is the punk rock of today, after all.  That's kind of depressing.

For those of us that kept our phones in our pockets, well, we saw a really good show. (-NO'B)

And now, without further adieu...

No Age, 7th St. Entry, Mpls, MN, 11/23/10


Review: Crocodiles

Crocodiles-Sleep Forever-CD- Second go-around for these San Diegans.  Although a slight departure from the previous sort-of-brash and unfinished sound, it is still in line with the dark dream pop 80s meets double aughts bedroom dance resonating on Summer Of Hate. And while not as aural or loud an experience, comparisons to MY BLOODY VALENTINE would not be totally unwarranted.  As well, Sleep Forever fits perfectly alongside other new releases by lo-fi indie contemporaries NO AGE, JAPANTHER and label-mates WAVVES.  Yes, that means the target demographic is most likely the all-encompassing, yet somewhat off-putting H-word.  That is not to say that this is not a good record for old guys like myself, looking to stay relevant and keep abreast of the "new shit."  Of particular interest are the hazy semi-garage rocker, Billy Speed and the closer, All My Hate And My Hexes Are For You.  The latter--which consists primarily of the title being repeated about a million times over an LCD-type beat--is infectious in a simple kind of way, and in my humble opinion, one of the better songs to come out this year.  Pretty good for some dudes from the city whose name means "A Whale's Vagina."-'10, Fat Possum (-NO'B)


Doomy G went to NYC

Song of Zarathustra and I go way back. They played at the first or second punk show I ever went to back home in about 1999. I’ve only gotten to know Travis (vocals) and Jamie (bass) over the past few years, but us Sioux City folk are tight, no matter what. I took my first trip out to New York City the weekend before last to go see the second incarnation of SoZ’s reunion show at the Cake Shop. I get cheap plane tickets through my mom and I had a bunch of friends going out there for the show - it seemed as good a time as any to make my first venture out there!

The show wasn’t quite the spectacle that it was here in Minneapolis back in February - with the hometown crowd and all - but it was still pretty damn good. Late 90s hardcore isn’t exactly my jam. I find it kinda silly most of the time, but there’s something special about Song. There’s just this freakish energy that they all emulate when they perform together, even after all these years. Shit son, these boys are in their mid-thirties - but they can still rock out pretty hard. Personally, the most surprising aspect of the show was Jamie’s GIANT FUCKING BEARD. Not that it affects his bass playing or anything, I just never really saw him as the beard sorta guy. When I confronted him about it, he admitted that he’s never been the shaving sorta guy and he’s finally letting his true self shine through. I call bullshit.

Other than the show, New York was alright. It’s not really my thing. I get nervous around angry, smelly strangers. But I shouldn’t blame the people, the smelliness was probably due to the litter and garbage juice that was hanging out everywhere. I was seriously grossed out. I just took refuge in bars, apartments, and Chinatown.

Scratch that. I totally got lost in Chinatown.

I’d go back to visit, but I could never see myself living there. The smell seriously got to me and I grew up in a town that was notorious for its meat processing plants. That smell, my friends, is not pretty. On the other hand, I didn’t really explore the town that much. I didn’t bother going to any of the touristy spots. We pretty much just hung out in Brooklyn the whole time, but that was perfectly fine by me.

I'm Faster Than My Shadow


Review: Life Trap

LIFE TRAP-Solitary Confinement-E.P.-7inch-One of the better touring bands to play at Eclipse Records in the last couple years.  Hailing from Tennessee, these guys play ripping hardcore punk.  Like a tiny bit faster AMDI PETERSEN'S ARME' with vocals reminiscent of a slightly less snotty and certainly less irritating QUICNY PUNX.  Short, fast and loud, in the vein of, well, pretty much everyone that plays this stuff.  You know the drill: four dudes in jeans, sleeveless t-shirts and Vans set up on the floor in front of the stage and hammer it out for 15 minutes.  However, these guys stand apart from many of their peers, in that they are extremely tight and oozing genuine energy.  The lyrics--dripping with more f-bombs than an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine from the 80s--are that of the angered-and-disillusioned-bleak-societal-outlook variety, as evidenced by the title track, "The way my life is set up for me is like a fucking trap.  Made one too many mistakes; now there is no turning back.  Caught in fucking cage; my life is like a maze.  Now that I've got nothing to lose, somebody's going to pay."  Similar themes continue throughout, including on the closer, Wasteland, which one can only assume is about their hometown, Nashville, "Why can't you see you're just so full of shit?  Your life's so fucking plastic it makes me fucking sick.  Why can't you see I don't want to live here another day?  Why don't you just fucking go away?!"  Well dudes, although we have our fair share of plastic too, you can always come live here. And play lots of shows.  If records were meth hits, this would be the one that makes your teeth fall out.  A ripper indeed.-'08, No Way (-NO'B)


J-Sho went to Bragging Rights

Recently we asked our pal #J.Sho--longtime friend of HDD-the crew and longtime reader/sometime contributor/commenter to HDD-the blog--to interview Nathan/Nathen about being a professional wrestling fan for a #lifechangers piece.  Somewhere along the way, the interview got dumped, and J.Sho, herself, ended up becoming a super mark.  She started DVRing Raw, bought a PPV, subscribed to Figure Four Weekly and Wrestling Observer, and eventually, went to see the WWE live... 

I used to hate professional wrestling. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I kinda started loving it this past summer. I’m a 34-year-old female. Normal women my age don’t start getting into the WWE, they start to think about how much time they have left to have children. But, I’m not really that normal, and that is why I bought a ticket to the taping of the Bragging Rights PPV at Target Center. Notice that ticket is singular.

The details of the event are a bit fuzzy. Not because I was drinking or anything, but because of old age and procrastination. I can barely remember what happened on Smackdown last Friday, let alone the PPV two weeks ago. I’m a total procrastinator and put off writing this until I got an email from HDD telling me my deadline was last Friday.

The afternoon of the event I began to get nervous because it hit me that I was about to make a fool out of myself by attending this event solo, but once I got there my fears were put to rest. It was a total nerd fest! I felt right at home. At first, I was really excited to have floor tickets, but it turns out that having floor seats on the announcers’ side (six rows back and in the corner) meant that I couldn’t see and of the Superstars’ entrance (I love that part). Total bummer. Rookie mistake.

Even though I couldn’t see everything, I was excited for the matches to start. There was a dark match – Chavo Guerrero vs. MVP. MVP won. Since then, MVP has become the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Championship. The title match vs. Dolph Ziggler will occur on Smackdown this Friday. Speaking of Dolph Ziggler, the next match was a Champion vs. Champion match: Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental) vs. Daniel Bryan (United States.) I thought this match was the best one of the night. Daniel Bryan finally won after he made Ziggler submit via his LaBell Lock.

The Tag Team Championship match was next. The current champs, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre came out and complained that there was nobody left in the WWE to face them because everyone was too scared. Cue the anonymous Raw GM and then cue the Nexus music. John Cena and David Otunga were sent by Wade Barrett to claim the title. The match ended when Rhodes tapped out to Cena’s STF. The next night on Raw Wade Barrett would make Otunga lie down and get pinned so that Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater could have the belts.

Next up was a match for the Million Dollar Belt: Ted DiBiase, Jr. vs. Goldust. The match ended with DiBiase pinning Goldust. Unfortunately, DiBiase did not make it out of the ring with his family’s belt. Instead, Goldust’s NXT Rookie Diva GF Aksana distracted DiBiase and Goldust was able to snatch the belt from DiBiase’s GF Maryse before heading backstage. DiBiase is still pissed about this. He even tried to stop Goldust and Aksana’s wedding on NXT last week.

The divas match was next and I went out to buy tshirts. I got this one and this one.

For the third PPV in a row Kane was trying to retain the World Heavyweight Championship from his brother, Undertaker, in a Buried Alive match. Big whoop. Undertaker looked like he had a difficult time here. Maybe he was up too late partying after UFC 121the night before. I think he actually had a legit injury and that is why Kane ended up winning. It looked like The Phenom was going to bury Kane until members of The Nexus came out and helped Kane bury Undertaker. I guess we’re going to find out what the true intentions of Nexus were in helping Kane in the coming weeks. I’m on the edge of my seat.

Then it was on to the match I was looking forward to the most: Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown.

I was kinda bummed that they had to wear their t-shirts, but at least there were some nice asses to look at (sorry, I’m a girl).

Team Smackdown won, probably to hype the show’s move to SyFy on Friday nights. Either way, I got to see my faves of the moment, Edge and Rey Mysterio, win the Bragging Rights trophy for Team Smackdown. Since then, Edge is the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship against Kane at the Survivor Series PPV on Nov 21.

Main Event: Orton vs. Barrett for WWE Championship with Cena in Barrett’s corner. Barrett tells Cena that he if fired if Barrett doesn’t win the match. Being such a wresting novice coupled with not being able to hear the announcers explain things to me made the ending of this one a bit confusing. I later figured out that a title cannot change hands by disqualification, and John Cena got Randy Orton DQ’d by giving Wade Barrett an Attitude Adjustment. A clever way for Cena to let out some of his aggression at Wade Barrett for making him fetch water for Nexus and probably clean their dirty jock straps, but not be fired from the WWE. I hope they wrap up this Cena/Nexus angle at Survivor Series when Cena is the guest referee for an Orton vs. Barrett title re-match. This time the stip is that Cena (as an impartial ref, of course) is free from Nexus if Barrett wins and fired from the WWE if Orton wins. Ha, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Sorry that got a little bit TL;DR. I can’t help it. It’s my new obsession. I just wish the PPVs weren’t so expensive because I need to see what happens at Survivor Series!



Review: Harry Balzagna & the Teenie Weenies

HARRY BALZAGNA & THE TEENIE WEENIES-Skate Army E.P.-7inch- I can't remember if I picked this one out of the West Coast Hardcore or Thrash box(Amoeba Records, L.A.)  Sounds like thrash but they appear to be from Costa Mesa, so I can't be sure.  Either way, that hardly matters now does it.  Crossover thrash ala MUNICIPAL WASTE or CROSS EXAMINATION but with less party & metal and more skate & punk.  Vocals reminiscent of the early DIOS MIO.  Very nicely printed sleeve with the standard old-school skate images; royal blue on white, with a shot of pink aerosol underneath for the D.I.Y. three-color win. The second to last song, Not My Kind Of Fun, is sort of a bummer.  "Was my youth a waste of time?  Cuz I didn't get wasted or fried?  Cuz I didn't find cheap romance or attend one school dance?  Did I miss out?"  Ah, I hate to say it man, but, uhm, well, YEAH!  Just what exactly were you doing?  They are redeemed though because they follow that song up with one about farting in class, called Breakin' Ass.  (Hey, that rhymes.)  Not sure if they are still a band.  If so, hopefully they have dropped the Harry Balzagna part of their name.  Wouldn't want them ending up in the Garage Rock box erroneously.  Seriously though; good shit.-'03, Snack Attack!/The World Is Square (-NO'B)