12 August 2018


Playing music between bands at shows is an important skill. No one wants to hear full volume death metal while the next hardcore band is setting up, and even at a reasonable volume it can get pretty old just playing music over the PA that sounds more or less like the bands playing on the stage. When Karoline and I see Willie Nelson (which is as often as possible, to be clear), we can expect to hear a newer Willie Nelson record played at a moderate volume over the PA - this works nicely, but probably doesn't translate to punk and hardcore shows very well. At 2015's Everything Is Not OK festival, John and I thought we would be funny and we convinced the sound engineer to play COLLECTIVE SOUL before the headliner took the stage...imagine our surprise when we realized that we had not considered the generational gap before we plotted our joke - that proto commercial grunge hit that came out when we were in our mid-20s and was a source of ridicule for the decades that ensued? Well it was pure classic rock to these kids, as if someone had put on AEROSMITH's "Toys In The Attic" for us in 1993, and those kids loved it, all singing the "yea-ayuh"s in unison at the bridge. At the now defunct Balazo aka Submission Gallery in SF, a constantly revolving bevy of men seemed to have two things in common: an inability to make any band sound good, and a steadfast determination to play raw punk and/or metal at maximum volume whenever there was not a band playing, rendering conversation or any other activity virtually impossible. Anyone who went to hardcore/PV shows in San Jose during the early '10s surely remembers the amazing R&B/Soul dance parties that would spontaneously break out nearly every damn time, it was an amazing and addictive break from the fury, and going from CAPITALIST CASUALTIES to MARY J. BLIGE almost always seemed perfectly logical. Then Friday evening at the CELL ROT show in Oakland, between bands we heard the hits from a young(er) punk's youth: 4 NON BLONDES, WEEZER, 311...hell, that COLLECTIVE SOUL track would have fit in nicely. It was all at a reasonable, conversation friendly volume (keeping us ne'er do wells in the venue and off the street), and every now and then you'd see people quietly bobbing their heads, maybe getting into the groove a little too much, or maybe just having a nice reminisce....it worked, and I hope it works again tonight.

There's a reason for all this, I promise. Other than the desire to just bloviate, that show last night made me think of this GRINSPOON demo, it somehow landed in my brain between the modern hardcore with a penchant for a mean breakdown and the between band easy listening radio alternative heavyweights I kept hearing between bands. Like when Eric mentioned that there's an OFFSPRING/311 split EP coming out soon (this is real, y'all...seriously) I just thought about posting this tape. Australia's GRINSPOON land(ed) more on the heavy end of the '90s alterna-spectrum, more in line with SEASON TO RISK, HELMET, BRUTAL JUICE and the like, but you kinda get the feeling that (at least some of?) these dudes used to be legit heshers - the same way that MACHINE HEAD is almost completely uninteresting, but they still have "something" that you can't quite put your finger on. I mean...you're hearing me here, right? Listen to the fukkd sounding guitar on the breaks in "Post-Enebriated Society" (sic), and the drums that lead into the chorus of "Pig Pen" totally remind me of NUNCHAKU, while "Champion" is straight RATM complete with the Morello waka-waka guitars. Maybe this whole thing stirs something in you. Probably not, but I felt it necessary to share nonetheless...and hopefully someone, somewhere will pump this bad boy through the speakers between bands. At a reasonable volume of course. 

1 comment:

stupidfag said...

Australia's finest.