Friday, August 21, 2009

The Bouncing Souls with Lifetime and None More Black at Webster Hall 8.20.09

The Bouncing Souls have been around for 20 years. I'm not going to pretend that I've invested as much time as their tried and true fans (they almost are older than me). I have always like The Bouncing Souls, and add to that Lifetime, a favorite band of mine, plus None More Black (who I have not seen but I have seen Paint It Black several times, more on my confusion later), a couple co-workers and I decided to catch the Souls at their 20th anniversary point at Webster Hall last night.

None More Black includes ex-Kid Dynamite lead singer Jason Chevchuk's previous band. They are not to be confused with Dan Yemin's Paint It Black (Dan is part of Lifetime AND was part of Kid Dynamite). Dan's kind of a beast; the last time I saw Paint It Black they came to Brooklyn to play a night show after playing a day show in Philly.

Anywho, None More Black immediately conjured up a lookalike familiarity. Jason looks like Dave Lieberman from Food Network's Good Deal With Dave Lieberman. The bassist looks like my co-worker Jean. The lead guitarist looks like a cross between Jack Black and Michael Pena. I figured the drummer could pass for MMA fighter Nick Diaz, but then I thought more closer to MMA fighter Joey Villasenor mixed in with Geoff from Ace of Cakes. Of course, I wasn't in the pit for this one so I wasn't super close, and when I took a look at their mugs online, I wasn't quite sure of my assumptions. Anywho, the long, headbanging hairs of the guitarist and bassist reminded me of the bassist from Unwritten Law. Good thing or bad thing?

It was NMB's first show in NYC in 3 years. The crowd was pretty tight for an opening band, and None More Black actually warmed up as they shot through their set so by the time they were done people were revved up. Great for Lifetime, I was into it though and wouldn't have minded an extra song or two from all the bands (leave it to Webster Hall to have tight curfews on certain nights, although at least it prevents the bands from taking too much time between sets). Jason's voice is really cool, he's known for his sing-along "whoa, oh oh" tendencies but he's got this funky combination of hoarse and nasal tones to his vocals that gives the songs a particularly scrappy flavor. Sure Ari from Lifetime is somewhat similar, but he sounds more like he has a cold (in a good way, don't worry I would never bad mouth them). Jason sounds like he just ate a shitload of Pop Rocks.

After getting another 5 dollar PBR (well they open the can for you, so tack on an extra 3 doll- yeah no that's terrible) we were ready to throw down in the pit for Lifetime. It wasn't as raucous as the last time I saw them probably, but by throw down I mean we prevented ourselves from getting more than a bruise or two.

The great thing about Lifetime is they have a very, very assured presence. No smiling. Deadpan. Serious thank yous. When they mention that it's great that there's no barrier set up between the stage and that the crowd should pick up the pace and get the pit going, but in a really nonchalant way, you know they know they're the shit. Calm violence? I guess that sounds creepy. It's not a pretentious thing, it's just a quiet confidence that shines through. Their music kind of acts the same way: sure they are fast and loud but not for the sake of being fast or loud. It feels more like a real form of expression than many similar bands, and their lyrics are as low key as any, direct and simple. It was great to see them again (they are playing with Bouncing Souls this weekend in their home state of Jersey).

Ole, ole ole ole. We decided to stay in the background for Bouncing Souls, but in the end I believe it would have only been right to get in the mix for at least part of their set (they played what seemed to be a short set for a 20th anniversary show). Speeding up the pace a bit, they blazed through favorites like "Hopeless Romantic" and "Fight To Live" and lead singer Greg Attonito has a wonderful lazy chanting/shouting quality that really gets the crowd moving. Even with that, there were a couple of stage divers, and I'm not sure why, but punk fans whenever they steal the mic for a bit, they are NEVER in tune. Not that it would really matter, it's the heart that counts, but still, c'mon people! Oh, and the stage diving was kept up full steam but an interesting thing happened when a man, in his wheelchair, was hoisted up and brought from all the way in the back to the front of the stage...twice. He didn't quite make it the second time, but props for him actually keeping upright on the first try.
7 full albums and 20 years is a long time to be so consistent and well received by the community. Their melodies are tried and true and is instantly accessible, there's a lightness to their songs, whether it's the fun, almost nice lyrics, or the runner's pacing that they instill, or maybe it's just the trademark button down/wacky tie combo that Greg always wears and the wife-beater scrappiness of bassist Bryan Kienlen. Who knows. They are a fun band to watch, without the machismo of snottier bands. Kind of like a real men wear pink thing. Or maybe I'm just being silly.

More thoughts to come. Or maybe not.

Update: Some great photos on Brooklyn Vegan were posted yesterday from the Tim Barry/7 Seconds second night at Webster with The Bouncing Souls. Check them out here.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

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