Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blacklisted/Gods & Queens/The Rival Mob/Give @ The Barbary 3/7/10

This past Sunday I was able to make it out to yet another afternoon at The Barbary in Philly for some matinee hardcore action with a fairly unusual line-up. The most obvious draw for me was The Rival Mob, who seem to get better every time I put on their LP or manage to catch them live. Both Give and Gods & Queens I've never really listened to before, let alone seen live, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. Local heroes Blacklisted were set to headline the show, although I've been pretty down on them since their set at Sound & Fury last summer. I continue to see them over and over, expecting to see something more reminiscent of years past, but to no avail. Although, maybe they would be a little different since the release of their latest LP, No One Deserves to Be Here More than Me.

Coming up from DC, Give were set to play their first show in Philly to a decent sized crowd. Their sound isn't the usual, repetitive hardcore that's been flooding the market lately, which was a breath of fresh air. At times it felt difficult to describe, but they ranged anywhere from The Suicide File to The Bronx to Modern Life is War (Midnight in America era). I wasn't ecstatic about Give, but they deserve plenty of credit for a high energy performance and interesting sound. Eventually I'll have to check out their self titled 12" EP, which actually is already on its second press.

The Rival Mob set up next, as the venue was starved for some old fashioned hardcore tunes. Seriously, this band is only improving over time, and the anticipation for the next EP, Hardcore for Hardcore, is swelling bigger by the day. Filled with witty stage banter and stories, their singer seems to catch lighting in a bottle on stage, only to unleash it on the crowd during each song. Highlights included "Raw Life," "Gene Pool/Cess Pool," "RCBS," and of course "Mob Rules All," along with a couple brand new songs from the forthcoming record. Also, they had the Hardcore for Hardcore Promo tape available, numbered out of 100, and some new shirt designs.

Locals Gods & Queens were due up next, and definitely the largest departure from hardcore of the afternoon. Longer, medium paced songs in a more progressive, part-indie rock, part-hardcore hybrid format seemed to begin to define their unusual sound. It's also been quite a while since I saw a three piece band perform with such a pronounced wall of sound, although at points it tended to drone on.

The lights dimmed, blacklights ignited blue, pouring the color all over the darkened venue as Blacklisted started to play. Going into this show, I anticipated them not playing anything older than the Heavier than Heaven LP, which was unfortunately true. The set was a mix tracks from the past two LPs and new EP, and even though it was exactly what I was dreading, Blacklisted still plays with the same ferocity and intensity as when I first say them around 6 years ago. A firey vocal performance combined with crunchy, thick guitar riffs make songs that I've never really found exciting sound pretty damn good. The explosive performance wasn't without some wierd moments, including backing vocals that sounded like they belong in a He Is Legend song, and DFJ joining them on stage to play tambourine. Closing out in heavy, poignant fashion, they ended with "Memory Layne," "Canonized," and "Wish."

And so another afternoon in Philly came to a close, filled with sweat, noise, and the aftershock of a slight headache. Maybe I'll even have to give the new Blacklisted LP another try at some point.