Thursday, May 3, 2012
Freedom, Grizzlies, Discourse, Hollow Earth, Sawchuk, and From Hell at the Halfway House, March 7th show review
Show review: Freedom, Grizzlies, Discourse, Hollow Earth, Sawchuk, and From Hell at the Halfway House, March 7th, 2012
This was a show to which not attending seemed to be an inconsiderable option- four bands that I was seeing live for the first time, one that I hadn’t seen in about a year and a half, and one that almost always rips, all playing at a gnarly new DIY venue, on a fuckin’ Wednesday! How could a practicing punk possibly refuse such a show?
My investment turned out to be well worth it; I arrived early, welcomed by a group of younger dudes who dug what I was doing (with the fanzine). I always get a feeling that what I’m doing is worth the time and effort when people express interest and a desire to participate, and I certainly got that vibe from this small group of folks. So, I entered the house, high on life and quite a bit of caffeine (source- Mountain Dew), read for what this place had to offer. People began to pile in as the first band warmed up…
Freedom turned up their amps and blasted out a quick, energetic set of less-than-a-minute songs, one after another. Armed with a few originals and a couple of covers, the set (though it was over in about ten minutes) lacked no energy in that short span of time. Aiming for United Blood-era Agnostic Front and Straight Ahead styles of hardcore, these guys have a lot of potential, and this was only their second show! Think a mix of the two aforementioned bands, and you have Freedom, proud Detroit straight-edge in-your-face youth crew.
Next was another new-ish band called Grizzlies. These dudes played heavy, chugging hardcore that a few bands of today have been taking up- bands like Harm’s Way, War Hound, the Mongoloids, Take Offense… and it’s not entirely a bad thing. The band is still in its formative stages, making its own niche of what that band exactly is. Not my usual sort of jam, but they did a pretty cool Weekend Nachos cover, so I have hope.
Following that was group of touring dudes Discourse. Having heard the demo, I had mixed feelings on how these guys would do- it was just alright, so would they be just alright live too? Nope- they killed it, and brought an interesting sound to the table: Youth crew, but downtuned, dark, and not lacking in speed; perhaps a more succinct description would be Skitsystem meets Bold, or Straight Ahead meets Gasmask Terror. On top of being a genre that isn’t played out yet, the set just ripped. What they lacked in the demo, they showed in their live performance. The band was gnarly as fuck- I’ll be listening for these guys as they progress, and potentially release a 7”.
Next was the first touring band from Detroit, preparing for a sweet two and a half week tour, Hollow Earth. Though somewhat of a new band, they were already loaded with fresh songs, and were picked up by Panic Records very swiftly. This style of hardcore that Hollow Earth plays is somewhat new; the likes of Great Reversals and (to a much lesser extent) Fisherking have started playing it here in Michigan, but the melodic hardcore with generalized lyrics about the world ending (in a non-crusty way) has not taken off much. However, this set was impassioned, if not energetic. Not a bad band- I’ll be on the lookout.
The second band from Detroit about to set out for a tour was Sawchuk. I had seen these guys before at the Bohemian House (R.I.P. sorta) in 2010, but after a somewhat lengthy hiatus and some band and member retooling, the band changed and improved their sound, now sporting a 90s hardcore vibe. Also, the band came with a few 7” EPs for sale, something that they had trouble with before (that is, having merch). The band powered through an anthemic, slow/ fast alternating speed sound, and to much crowd avail; many people in the room (basement) knew the words to the songs, and one guy, clad in cubicle work-wear, was copy room moshing, grinding his fax off- awesome. For a band that prefers breakdowns to breakneck speed, these guys ripped. I would have preferred a Bob Probert or Gordie Howe reference for a band name, but Sawchuk was a killer goalie too.
Closing was From Hell. What’s odd about these guys is that they are good live, but the demo they’ve got (from 2010) is very “meh”. Heavy, hard, and dingy, they’ve got a formula for success, and they showed their strong suit here; hopefully they can churn out a record that suits their live presence- Southern Lord, Halo Of Flies, Rodent Popsicle, Overdose On, Hell City, Deer Healer, IFB… they’re worth a 7” investment.
This was a great show, a fun place to hang out at, and I can safely say that THIS is the place to book for Detroit DIY shows, along with the CAID, the Bearcave, the MUG, and Refuge (Dearborn is close enough). We’re on our way back up!