3/14/09 @ Carabar, Columbus OH
Carabar shows are always free! AND there is a free popcorn machine full of buttery salty goodness. There of mounds of it like little yellow clouds sitting in a greasy aquarium. I always end up with kernels in my teeth. I was tired at this show because of the hecticness and late night of the day before show.
The Sidekicks from Clevo and Columbus started off the show. They are branching out from their songwriter punk songs and exploring the territory of a sound with more soul, more riffs instead of eighth notes, and vocals harmonizing and hooking like crazy. I was into it. One new song that they played reminded me of Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime era. I hope to see them play when they get the new stuff down like reflex and can really pump out some energy with it.
Cheap Girls from Lansing sounded good, delivering tunes heavily under a Smoking Popes influence. They had a song get stuck in my brain.. “I love her, and ciggarrettes so much.”
I’ve seen Failures Union from Buffalo five times now and this was the best time. Their sound was tight from weeks on tour. They kept the set moving and I could really catch their strong melodies over Carabar’s good PA. Sometimes, a clear and loud vocal sound is a nice break from the fuzzy garbage one in which vocal tones are only heard and words are lost in the cat pee air of some DIY spaces.
Tin Armor has something special. They were by far the best band of the night, even though it is no competition. They aren’t just a band you shrug about and say “Pretty good.” They shook me from tiredness. The pop sense present in their song writing amazes me. It is a pop sense that has longevity rather than a disposable quality like songs from radio land. They play with visible feeling. They have awkward stage banter that shows they are as human as a crowd afraid to interact with anyone but friends they’ve had for years. They play together, four members, conscience of what each other are doing and feeding off of one another to make a full sound. They all seem to be on the same musical wavelength. Tin Armor deserves recognition and success outside of the little underground circuit we are in. I see it happening. How do I feel about that? Fine. DIY punk is my passion and what pumps my blood, but I recognize some things about it. It is only a success in its most ideal forms… Meaning, when a band goes on tour and plays DIY shows, they are always fed and given a place to stay. The show has been promoted. There is a functioning PA. People welcome and support you as independent artists. There are one or two local bands to lend support. That is ideal. That is rare. Have you ever driven around the country to play for four to eight people every night? Have you played places where PBR is more important than the vocals coming out of a bass amp because the kid “booking” the show forgot that he would need a PA and you had to drive him to a friends house to get that shitty combo amp? Have you driven to the next show six hours with gas out of your own pocket to a show that got cancelled because the people at the house decided to have a party and didn’t want the bands last minute? Anyone can sew a patch on the back of a zip up hoodie but can they give the energy and dedication to make the DIY punk scene a real support network? Even in its ideal forms, it would have it’s ups and downs. What can we do? To me, that is an adventure and struggle that I am willing to endure. I am a life time ticket for the roller coaster ride and the attempt to make something lasting and valuable. For others, that is exhasting. What artist dosen’t want appretiation and support? What can we do better? If we don’t play the game of promoters, merchandising machines, and taste makers, we have to put forth the energy to make it better.