While I expected to get this review done the weekend of the show, it simply wasn't possible. Too much going on in a short time frame really cuts down on the opportunities to write in due time. But anyway, here's my brief write up of the show...
First of all, it's always tough to have a show when another show gets booked a couple of blocks away, as was the case this time. Apparently, a punk show benefit got booked not quite two blocks from the Burners and had a good deal of an overlapping crowd interest, thus splitting people between shows. I can't stand that because neither show ends up having as many people as possible since nobody bothered to make sure there wasn't anything booked already. I don't know who booked the other show so I won't slag them directly and I don't know how aware of our show they actually were, though I'm pretty sure they were aware of it. Still, we had fun.
G~SHOK were the first band up to bat. How to describe them? I'd say a blend of rock and punk attitude coming from college kids' first band. I have no idea if it's their first band but that's what it seemed like. They just went up and played and had a fun time doing so. That matters a lot to me because a lot of bands talk big and act self-important, but these guys didn't seem to take themselves seriously and just rocked out and enjoyed themselves.
VIOLENT SOHO, touring from Australia, came on next for the second show in as many nights at the Burners. I was already receiving texts the night before about how great they were so I was excited to see them. To put it mildly, they did not disappoint at all! This band was massive, playing an aggressive 90's grunge era rock that reminded me a lot of the Pixies. They hammered the crowd with a wall of sound, and really blew everyone away. Really good band and worth checking out if you get the chance the next time they come though.
ONE LAW FOR US played their debut next. Featuring former members of The Cutters, they played the type of Oi!-fueled punk that The Cutters started out playing. They really had their act together and played hard, had fun and made a good showcase for what people can expect from them in the future. Seeing Jay Skin on bass was odd since he'd always been on a mic sans instrument, but he's got the knack for playing and maybe that will keep him and Irish Kev from tripping over each other in the future... maybe... (hahaha, those are my boys, and they know I'm messing with them). I'm sure we will see them back again soon.
THE SNAILS, from Lancaster, set up and got into some straight up old style ska. A breath of fresh air considering that most of the time I see a band of younger folks playing "ska", it's sped up pop-punk oriented stuff with some ska riffs. This is what I prefer to hear... Well-crafted danceable ska tunes highlighted by keyboard rather than horns. Fun stuff, and if you like the old moon-stompin' music, I suggest you check these guys out when you can.
AMREV II were up next. My buddy Ron was playing with them on bass and this was the first time he'd played in this type of band so I was interested to hear how it went. Honestly, I keep forgetting how solid a band AMREV II is, and every time I get to see them, I'm reminded that they are a really good punk / ska band. No, I won't call them ska-punk or ska-core or whatever, because they do a good job of blending the two without falling into the same category as a lot of those carbon copy bands are in. It was cool seeing Ron jamming some new style and he did so with flair (not surprising, the guy is incredible on bass anyway). AMREV II got people dancing and played a fun set for everyone.
HUB CITY STOMPERS topped off the bill, calling out everyone who were for some reason still sitting in the bar by getting into "Where's My Hooligans". If you haven't seen HCS before, you are missing out. Punk, ska, both, more... it's hard to pin them down, really. Just suffice it to say that they are a hell of a good time and that's all that really matters. Going from ska riffs and horns and then blasting into moments of hardcore and punk. People danced, knocked each other around a bit, did the usual goings on at The Burners, and HCS obliged the crowd with a great set. We will definitely be getting them back again in the future, so if you missed this one, you will have another chance to see them play soon enough. We are also planning another benefit show in Newark and will have HCS playing. Details of that will be coming soon.
So that's it. Overall, a good night. The crowd could have been a lot bigger, but the Valley tends to be very hit or miss with turnouts. Hopefully, we will be able to start seeing greater turnouts on a regular basis. Still, the crowd had fun, I had fun and the bands had fun. What more can one really want?