Save Our Scene


Hartland PAC 10/30/09
November 2, 2009, 1:26 am
Filed under: Show Review | Tags: , , ,

I ended up having an extensive weekend of show going, as I promised in my first post. So be prepared for an onslaught of musical knowledge as I review the weekend in the next few posts.

Friday night some friends and myself went to the PAC in my hometown. I’ve been looking forward to this show and this weekend for months as La Dispute is one of my favorite bands. But they played last, meaning we have other things to attend to first.

The first band to play was Apathetic Critic (myspace.com/apatheticcritic). They were thrown onto the bill last minute as other bands canceled due to illness, but they managed to pull together a great set, something to be expected from them. I have seen them many times over the past few years and have had a privilege of watching them grow as musicians. The three of them are some of the youngest people in any of the local bands I listen to and are easily some of the most talented. They play very simple rock and roll with a bit of blues influence, but it is beautiful in its simplicity. They are set to release a new full length album soon and played songs off of that at the show tonight and really showcased how good of songwriters they have become. Their lyrics are much more mature now and song structure has become more complex. It is great watching them play, especially in their hometown as you can tell they are having a great time on stage. Lead singer Avery Black’s brother Wes was filling in on bass as their normal bassist Jeremy couldn’t make the show on such short notice, and consequently there were flaws at times. Wes normally plays drums though, so some mistakes were certainly acceptable. Apathetic Critic played a super tight set and both Avery and drummer Parker Munson were on par both vocally and instrumentally, though I would have liked to see Avery get more creative with his guitar playing. I’ve seen him play some great improv guitar solos that showcase just how talented he is, but they were missed today. Regardless, a great set, especially given the short notice and lack of normal bassist.

Next up was Tiger! Tiger! (myspace.com/tigertiger) who also hail from Brighton, MI. Tiger! Tiger! truly embraced the Halloween spirit as each member was dressed up. The highlight was seeing guitarist Devin Kirby play dressed as Teen Wolf, complete with a full mask. They’ve been playing pretty much the same set each time I’ve seen them recently, a good mix of songs off their yet-to-be-released full length and from their EP, which was released when they first formed.Today however, they played a longer set and included a few songs I haven’t heard recently which was very refreshing. Tiger! Tiger! plays a good blend of pop and punk, though they’re newer songs have gotten heavier and showcase the influence bands like Gatsby’s American Dream and Forgive Durden have had on them extensively. They once again played a tight set, not missing a beat even in ridiculous costume. Many friends were at the show and it was great to have everyone singing along as they played. It was a very fun, fast-paced, high energy set, which is to be expected from them.

Koji (myspace.com/kojisaysaloha) was next, a change of pace for this show as he is a solo acoustic artist. Koji is one of the most interesting and enjoyable shows I’ve seen. He works very close with a group called Colormake from his hometown of Harrisburg, PA and creates a show that entails all forms of artistic expression, not just music. I’ve seen his show include person sized paintings and light boxes and his merch booth as a lemonade stand. It’s truly a unique experience every time he comes to town. Today, he had an audience of over 150 sitting on the floor of the PAC with all eyes on him. He was sick, but managed to still pull together a very strong set. The troubles he was having with his voice were only noticeable a few times. As usual, he included lots of storytelling, conversation, and audience participation in his set and he had the entire room listening to and working with him, something that is refreshing to see in a scene so often plagued by people being disrespectful and inattentive. His music is upbeat and fairly fast-paced for acoustic music and all the while the music is very uplifting and positive. This was the first time I’ve got the chance to really watch Koji, and I was thoroughly impressed. Definitely worth checking out on your own.

And finally, La Dispute (myspace.com/ladispute). I’ve seen this band countless times and have been blown away every time. Tonight, was no excuse, though it was not the best performance I’ve seen. In honor of Halloween, the band dressed up as Jedis and Siths while lead singer Jordan was dressed as Han Solo. They proceeded to open with a cover of the Imperial March down as a slow paced, sludgy breakdown that got everyone excited. As usual, the audience was taking over the stage area, giving the band little room to move around and play. They made due with what they had though and did a great job of interacting with the crowd all throughout their set. They played a few songs off of their first album and a bunch off of their newest, all at a blistering pace. Their blend of experimental, rock, and hardcore is unlike anything I’ve heard today. They have so many varied styles in their sound from Western slide guitar to riffs that fit in perfectly in songs from bands like Have Heart. Jordan’s voice was it’s usual perfection of pure emotion and energy that cannot be truly described as singing, screaming, or talking, but a blend of all three.  The crowd was screaming every word and loving every minute of it. They band was incredibly tight once again, something I continue to find remarkable as they rarely have any room to play or hear what they’re doing. As always though, they didn’t disappoint.

Tonight was a very special night for music as I felt like for once the whole scene was really together in what they were trying to do. Both Koji and Jordan from La Dispute gave inspired speeches about the importance of keeping the independent music scene strong and together and about looking out for the people around you. I felt like all the bands and fans tonight really believe in that message as well, something that is hard to find. Tonight was just one of those special shows that only happen every once in a while and I wish everyone could get a taste of that. Nights like this one are why I started this site and want to stay involved with keeping my scene alive.

Just a few pictures from tonight. You can check them out on my Flickr.

-Matt

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