Category Archives: Screamo

More Warped Memories…

So tomorrow the all day punk rock summer camp, also know as the Van’s Warped Tour, returns to Cleveland.  Once again I, along with a few of my friends, will make way through the endless crowds of kids to check out some amazing punk rock bands including Bad Religion, NOFX, Flogging Molly, and Gallows.

Armed with my trusty camera (the pics in this post are from the 2007 & 2008 Warped Tour FYI) I plan on doing my best to take some killer photos to share with all my readers.  I always have fun mingling with the fans and the bands and already know tomorrow will be an amazing day.  I may even sneak in a couple of photo sessions or interviews too.

I can not even tell you the number of Warped Tours I have been to but I know I have attended over half of them that rolled through Cleveland since 1996.  There were good times and bad times as well as times I do not even remember.

I’ve seen the festival blossom into what it is now and have watched grow as it moved from venue to venue in Cleveland.  I even remember the one time it was held at the Agora!  I think that was in 1997 and I do not remember any of it except for it being very cramped.

Having already recapped the 1996 Warped Tour in a previous blog, I though I would continue the fun stories although I am not sure my other Warped memories can top that dog choke chain story…

Here are a few select years I remember:

1998
I remember this Warped Tour being at the Nautica Stage / parking lot in the West Side of the flats in Cleveland.  Utilizing the parking lot the festival did not seem too cramped but I know that a whole ton of kids snuck in without paying as the fences were unguarded and short.

There were a few bands I can recall without looking them up on the internet that played including Bad Religion, NOFX, Rancid, Deftones, Kid Rock, MXPX, Unwritten Law, and the The Aquabats.

It was a good time although I was not feeling very well.  I was having stomach issues and just did not want to be bothered by anyone.  During Rancid a girl was punching people and kicking the guys in their lower abdominal area.  I yelled at her for her to stop kicking people in the junk after she got me once.  She went for round two to my crotch with her Doc Martin and I grabbed her foot and…well that’s all I have to say about that.  Everyone in the pit cheered.

My long time friend Gary was with us and I remember him flicking off the Goodtime III as it sailed past us.  The horror on the people’s faces was priceless.

Kid Rock…wow.  Kid Rock was one of the closing bands for the day and I kid you not (no pun intended) there were less than twenty people checking him out.  No one seemed to like him.  In fact, after a couple of songs my friends and I took off as did most of the crowd.  (Not even a year later Kid Rock would be opening up for Metallica)

2004
Ha, this was the year my pal Anthony and I collectively spent over $211 on beer.  Yes, $211 of our hard earned money was spent on overpriced draft beer.  I had brought a lot of cash with me planning on getting some merch from a lot of the bands I was a fan of and instead thought it would be a good idea to spend it on rounds of beer.

I think the Casualties played as well as NOFX, Bad Religion, Lars Frederickson & The Bastards, Anti-FlagYellowcard…umm…that’s all I got.  I was pretty hammered at this Warped Tour.  Ok, pretty was an understatement.

About 10 beers into the day my friends and I found an area to the left of the main stage that we pretty much staked ground at when there were bands we did not care to see.

“Eiffel Tower” was born that day too.  No, I am not talking about the Paris landmark, I am speaking of a cheers that takes 3 or more folk to engage in.  Anthony and I would hold our beers up high in the air to a random beer drinking attendee and scream “Eiffel Tower!!!!” expecting them to hold their beer up too.  At first people looked puzzled at the gesture but soon the beer drinking folk loved it and honestly I think we started something awesome that day…in fact I know we did.

In case you need more proof how much of an a-hole I can be, Yellowcard had just finished up their set and the younger crowd was leaving the main stage area because I think Bad Religion was playing and they needed to get to some other pop-punk stage.  Drunk and annoyed we started yelling at the kinds “get you of here you jerks” as well as called them “phonies”.  The looks of their faces was priceless.

I was that guy, that drunk guy, that annoyed everyone.  Hey, I was having fun so I guess that is all that mattered.  Thankfully we sobered up before the show’s end and then killed even more time afterwards ensuring no dangerous/stupid decisions were made.

2006
This was the first year that I got a VIP pass to the Warped Tour thanks to my lady and to the Transplants‘ guitar tech Jay Bastard.  This year I actually went to Cleveland and then the very next day to Cincinnati.

Avenged Sevenfold, Senses Fail, Transplants, No Use For A Name, My Chemical Romance, Dropkick Murphys, and others were on this bill.

In Cleveland I was tame but Cincinnati was a different story.  I was reunited with Anthony and even though the two of us planned on only spending little money on beer we still got hammered.  “Eiffel Tower” was introduced to Cincinnati that day.

Later during the festival Anthony and I were beyond wasted looking for our girlfriends who were actually on a tour bus with Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and Jay Bastard enjoying the AC.  Anthony and I were hanging on a fence trying to watch the Dropkick Murphys having no idea where to find the girls while sweating our asses off.  Eventually the girls found us drunk morons and walked us back to the car.

I swore to never again get hammered at the Warped Tour.  That sun was lethal and drinking did not help it one bit.  In fact I think it made us drunker…haha.

2007
This was one of those years I will never forget in my life.  Not because of the festival but because of mother nature’s fury.

This was actually the first festival I would not only attend but also review for the blogging site Blogcritics.org.  I was pretty psyched to have the opportunity to review the festival yet a little nervous becuase it was the first time I had ever really reviewed a festival.  I was so clueless what to do or where to go but I soon figured it out.  See below for a link of my review.

I drank one beer this time.  My friends…did not.  “Eiffel Tower” returned to Cleveland.  I kept a good eye on my friends this time to make sure they stayed out of trouble.  I should have kept my eye on the sky.

Around the 3 o’clock hour the blue skies turned dark and a freak thunderstorm rolled in to the Cleveland area.  I remember calling my lady asking her if she was getting hit by the storm.  She was at a dog park by our house and she stated it was still blue skies and had no idea what i was talking about.

This devil of a storm for some reason decided to slowly pass downtown Cleveland causing just horrible conditions, especially for folk like myself who were stuck outside with only tents to protect.  The storm pounded the area with heavy rains and winds so strong I swore we were in a tornado.  Everyone made the best of it because honestly, what the hell were we to do?  Luckily I was under the main tent surrounded by a ton of other folk.  Some kids were not so lucky hiding under bridges and wherever else they could find cover.

After the storm I walked around the grounds and it looked like armageddon.  Almost all of the merch tents were either packed up or blown over and destroyed.  The power was out in most of the city and there were hints of the Warped Tour not going on.  Even though the rumors were brewing, not many fans left and stuck it out waiting for an official announcement.

Kevin Lyman, the founder of the Warped Tour, made way to a stage where Coheed & Cambria were to play stating that the storm was one of the worst he has ever seen.  He also added that the show would go on and that they had two generators to power the two main stages.  He also offered all the storm survivors an added bonus and told everyone that their ticket stubs were good for admission to any Warped Tour for the duration of the summer.  I did not take advantage of that offer but some of my friends did.

As the sun set Bad Religion took the stage with a single hanging light bulb hovering over the stage.    It was a bittersweet ending to one heck of a day.

Click here for the review I did for the 2007 Warped Tour on Blogcritics.org

2008
Pretty tame year actually.  Since earlier in the year I put drinking on a hiatus I just flooded myself with water and enjoyed such acts as Against Me!, Story Of The Year, Gallows, Gym Class Heroes, MC Chris, 3OH!3, Beat Union, The Briggs, Pennywise, and Bouncing Souls.

Click here for the review I did for the 2008 Warped Tour on Blogcritics.org

2009
The day starts tomorrow at 11am.  I am sure I will have some stories to share.

Until then, have a good one.

Thursday – Common Existence – CD Review

New Jersey post-hardcore act Thursday has a lot to be proud about.  Being credited with bringing the screamo genre to the mainstream level as well as have been labeled in 2004 as SPIN Magazine’s “The Next Big Thing” are just a couple of reasons why.  This six-piece did not invent the screamo genre but rather took it to a new level.  With all they have accomplished I can not believe they have been a band for just over ten years now.

Currently the band is about to release their fifth full-length album, entitled Common Existence.  This time around the band has teamed up with the punk rock independent label Epitaph Records and hopes to continue to wow their fans while, at the same time, recruit new ones.  The band will be headlining the Taste Of Chaos tour this year in support of their new release alongside rousing acts Bring Me The Horizon, Four Year Strong, Pierce The Veil, and the Cancer Bats.

Just in case you have no idea what screamo exactly is, imagine melodic emo music mixed with post-hardcore fury and occasional throat-destroying screaming throughout.  Some find the music terribly annoying but there are many like myself who can not get enough.  I just love the fragile, sorrow feel during some songs only to be smacked over and over with screams not many can endure.  The first time I heard screamo was actually the first time I listened to Thursday’s debut with Victory Records called Full Collapse and I admit I was highly entertained.

I had already gotten a preview of the CD single “Resuscitation Of A Dead Man” earlier this year when the band streamed the song on their website, but it was not until this second helping that I realized how great of a song it is.  Less screamo and more hardcore is all I can think about on this track that features Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath contributing vocals.  “Last Call” follows with Geoff Ricky’s all-so-familiar, lamenting vocals.

Previously appearing on the band’s 2008 split EP with Japanese hardcore band Envy was “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain.”  The song hinted towards Thursday’s juvenile years with more of their signature screamo fashion but came with a twist as heavy distortion and pitch shifts dominated throughout.

“Friends In The Arms Forces,” which featured Quicksand’s Walkter Schriefels, seemed a little cut down from the other tracks on the CD but was still enjoyable.  The song, inspired by the band member’s friendship with someone currently serving overseas, is a protest of the basis but full of wishes of protection as different emotions spiral throughout.  “Beyond The Visible Spectrum” was very astray from the Thursday norm at times with a more mellow, mostly post-hardcore sound.  As much as I want to say I was not getting into it, the truth is…  I was.  I especially dug the reverb throughout the track and the sudden conclusion that left me wanting more.

“Time’s Arrow” was almost a whisper compared to everything else on this CD.  The song started out ever so gentle and had this, dare I say, almost a Muse/Radiohead experimental style going on.  I loved it.  This song was the most untried song I have heard Thursday perform so far and I still crave more of it.

This album deserves to be listened to over and over again by old school fans of Thursday as well as by random newcomers.  I myself can not keep Common Existence out of my CD player.  The overall sound suggests that the band has taken a departure from the genre commonly attributed to them.  It appears the one-time pioneers of screamo really focused on taking what they know and have expanded it with their musical creativity.  The result is some really amazing songs, some of which I did not expect to hear.

It’s nice to see the band try something new while still holding on to their own uniqueness. Common Existence is ongoing evidence that Thursday continues to mature and, honestly, this album has turned me into an even bigger fan.

Here is a recently released clip of the making of Thursday’s upcoming music video for “Resuscitation Of A Dead Man”:

Thursday – Making The Video: “Resuscitation of A Dead Man” from absolutepunk.net on Vimeo.

???

One of the first songs that got me hooked on Thursday:

Thursday To Release New CD Soon…

New Jersey’s Thursday has a new album Common Existence coming out. Here is one of the new tracks for your listening pleasure called “Resuscitation of a Dead Man”:

I was going to review the album early but since some a$$ hat out there leaked the feed I was given, it was removed and now I have to wait.  I am ok with that wait though because I am very excited to hear this release.

I also found this video of Thursday performing “Friends in the Armed Forces” live last month that was featured on AP Magazine’s website.  This song as well will be released on Common Existance which is scheduled to drop on Feb. 17th.  The CD will be released through Epitaph Records.


Thursday – “Friends In The Armed Forces” live (AltPress.com exlusive) from Alternative Press on Vimeo.

Thursday / Envy Split (CD+LP) – CD Review

Thursday / Envy
Thursday / Envy

American screamo teams up with Japanese screamo on the recently released Thursday / Envy split EP on Temporary Residence Limited.  The two powerhouse bands contribute songs to this limited release that is being sold strictly CD+LP only (there will not be a sole CD or LP available) and can only be found in independent record stores.  There is also a hand printed limited edition version that can be ordered exclusively on their website of on their label’s site.  Both bands comprise exceptional tracks and really do a great job in doing so on this release.

Formed in New Jersey around 1997, Thursday has been a staple in the post-hardcore scene.  Having released multiple albums, the band has had a very successful career despite ping ponging from record label to record label after mishaps and disputes.  Currently the band is signed with Epitaph records for this full length to be released in 2009.

Screamo experimental rock act Envy, hailing from Japan, are unique in their own way with songs sung in their native tongue layered over post hardcore music, as well as a little experimental chill out on some tracks.  Well respected all over the world by many and commonly known for their explosions of screaming on songs, I was really looking forward to finally hearing them.

So how did the two come to unite?  Truth is Thursday is a huge fan of the experimental Envy.  Back in April the Thursday posted news of the release on their site:

“It’s our pleasure to announce a split release with one of our favorite bands in the world.   We are currently in the studio recording tracks for a 12” release with Japan’s Envy.  For those of you unfamiliar with Envy, they are an experimental, epic, lush post-rock band that’s heavier than just about anything we’ve ever heard.  Despite the enormous geographical distances between us, the bands have evolved from the same thrashy underground post-hardcore scene.  Honestly, there’s no way to properly describe them.”

The split CD started out with four tracks by Thursday and opens with the impressive “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain”.  Geoff Rickly and crew provided a solid track full of the sporadic singing styles I grew accustomed to with their previous releases, layered with some sick guitar playing and insane drumming.  I really enjoyed this track a lot and after hearing this I can not wait to hear their next full length.

The dark instrumental “In Silence” was more of something you would hear the Crystal Method crank out.  The techno strong song is far from the post-hardcore material the band is known for and I myself loved it.  Full of distorted synthesizers, electronic drum beats, and a mellow piano solo, this song really showed a different side to the band usually known for their screamo.

“An Absurd And Unrealistic Dream Of Peace” had it’s moments with more of an emo feel throughout the song and really did not do much for me.  “Appeared And Was Gone”, another instrumental track, continued the dark trend and was remixed by Anthony Molina of the 90’s alt rock band Mercury Rev.  The track once again is more of a techno experiment that had a God Lives Underwater feel, but was just amazing.  Lyrics added to this track might have enhanced the song a little further.

Envy really impressed me with “An Umbrella Fallen Into Fiction”, having not heard any of their material before.  The song started out slow and really reminded me of The Cure for some reason but with a Japanese spoken word behind it.  Think slow Dir En Gray, that is until you hit just after the 4 minute mark and the song completely explodes with lead singer Tetsuya Fukagawa’s dishing out some insane screaming over a faster tempo.  The song was quite beautiful throughout although my lack of understanding the Japanese language wished to be informed.

“Isolation Of A Light Source” had enough screaming to push you to the ground.  Again, I had not the faintest idea of what was going on, but I enjoyed the severity of the screams added along with the heavy music.  The final track on the other hand,“Pure Birth And Loneliness,” was a gentler track than the previous two Envy songs… that is until about the four minute mark again.  Surprising screaming snuck its way into the mostly mellow song and you could tell how full of emotion it was.

This really is one of the best split CDs I have heard in a while.  Being happily introduced to Envy on this split may have added to some of the charisma but I have been listening to the whole CD over and over and so far have not grown bored with either party contained.

Thursday’s instrumentals on the track were the winners as it was something unexpected yet appealing.  I almost wish there were more tracks on the CD as I was left with a craving for more.  That’s ok though because I can now get more involved with Envy’s catalog and no longer wonder why they were so enthralling to Thursday.

Want to hear?  I found the following songs on the Temporary Residence Limited website:

Thursday – “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain”

Envy – “Isolation Of A Light Source”

And while I am at it, here are some videos from both bands:

Thursday – “At This Velocity”
(This song/video reflects a true story about the band almost being involved in a plane crash…hence the beginning)

Envy – “Scene”

Trever Keith vs. Me – An interview with Face To Face front man Trever Keith

Any fan of punk rock music has probably heard of a certain SoCal punk rock band called Face To Face. Formed by Trever Keith in 1991 the band gained commercial success with their ideal punk rock style and soon achieved commercial success. Trever Keith was the only original member to stick through the good times and bad times and sadly the band decided to call it quits in 2003

With the decision to go their separate ways Trever Keith did not stop there. He continued on with his passion for music and started recording solo material as well as maintained his own record label. On top of that he worked on other band projects including Legion Of Doom, a mash-up project of out of this world proportions. He is without a doubt one of the busiest punk rockers out there and it not willing to call it quits anytime soon.

Recently I learned that Face To Face had reunited for a small tour and possibly more. I decided to get in touch with Trever Keith to ask him some questions of his past, present, and future. Trever Keith was more than happy to take time out of his busy day and answer some questions for me.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

B:  So I guess my first question would have to be what finally prompted Face To Face (F2F) to reunite for a few tours? I remember reading an interview a while back that you did not think it was going to happen.

TK:  Scott [Shiflett] and I missed it and the offers started getting a lot more interesting.

Any specific offers in general?

Bamboozle 08 in Los Angeles was the clincher.

Who is all playing alongside you when you tour?

Scott of course. Sometimes Chad Yaro (depending on his availability, LA area shows are the most likely) and Danny Thompson on drums.

Any chance of expanding the tour? I see that F2F is playing some shows in California in November as well as a few select dates overseas in 2009.

As long as there is an interest from fans, we will be back out playing shows. We’re not looking at being back out on the road full time for F2F, but we are definitely planning some more stuff for 2009. We’ll just see how it goes.

Does this reunion tour mean there is a possibility that F2F might be back to record new material?

I suppose there is a remote chance. Although there are no plans.

Any real reason why F2F ultimately called it quits?

A desire to try some other projects and a sense that we had really run our course as a band. We didn’t want to overstay our welcome. But the fans have proved that the reality of that is completely the opposite. So we’re back as long as there is a demand.

Trever Keith
Trever Keith

Enough about F2F, let’s talk about you and your continuing vision with music. Even after the band departed you continued forward. You released a solo album on your own record label. Can you tell me a little bit about both?

I have a label called Antagonist. I had an indie distribution deal that was a complete disaster. I’m out of it now. My plans for Antagonist are sort of changing with the landscape, but I at least know it’s a place for me to release my own music in the future.

My debut solo record was in limited release but is currently not available. I had initially had it available for download for $5.00 on my website and I pressed up about 1,000 limited edition CDs for sale only at shows.

These were things I wanted to do for the core fans. I am looking at an “official” release for early/mid 2009.

Will your “official” solo release be under your label or has anyone else shown interest is having it on their label?

There is interest, but it will be an Antagonist release regardless of whether I’m involved with another label or not.

You toured in support of your solo release. How were the shows you played at? Were there a lot of old school punkers there checking you out? Were a lot of people asking about the band you used to front?

Most of the shows were amazing. They were small sized clubs. Some were better attended than others but most of the time that really didn’t matter. The people that came were so cool. I made a point of hanging out a bit after every show and it was really something special. Many of these people are F2F fans but also really appreciated the work I am doing on my own and that was really the point of this small club tour; to really just get out there for the die hard fans and get the music to them first. Now my challenge is spreading it to a bigger audience.

Any plans for a second solo release?

Sure but give me a chance to promote this one properly first!

Face To Face
Face To Face

What is Viva Death all about?

It was a project that Scott and I thought up about 5 years ago. The first record was really a joint effort but on the second record it started to become more of Scott’s thing. He is just now finishing up the third Viva Death record which from what I’ve heard so far is amazing. He played all of the instruments on this one, even drums. It’s really a testament to what an amazing musician Scott is. You can check out his MySpace for more info. www.myspace.com/vivadeathmusic

I have read about a possible other project in the works as well called Pablum? Not much is known about them. Anything you might like to share?

Pablum is just an early name for my solo effort. I decided to go with my own name for simplicity.

How did you become involved with mashing up songs in Legion Of Doom?

Chad Blinman is a longtime friend. I sort of convinced him to start this mash-up thing while him and I had some downtime. We really started digging in and get hooked into the project. We decided to give ourselves a name and some soundtrack and remix work followed. It’s a project that is an amazing creative outlet for us that is unlike anything else we’re involved in. It’s something I look forward to doing for a long time. There are many ideas in the works for Legion of Doom.

Where did the idea come from to do such a thing, mash up emo/punk songs and even add a little hip-hop action? I admit the first time I heard it I was hooked?

Well I’d be lying if I said it was all my idea. I was doing some work with Darren Doane at the time and we always had this knack for discussing all sorts of crazy ideas for projects and stuff. He had this idea to do DJ style mash-ups of emo/hardcore bands. Since he’s in film and music videos he didn’t really have the know how to pull off such an idea so I ran with it.

The CD Incorporated is out of print and pretty much impossible to find. Do you think you would ever consider re-releasing it?

Face To Face is back...but for how long???
Face To Face might just be touring at a city near you.

We don’t have the permission from labels or publishers to release the CD, so probably not. Come to think of it, who made those first CDs anyway?

So you had nothing to do with the CD being released or do you have no comment? Haha.

No comment.

What is your favorite mash-up so far that you have helped create? I personally love the Coheed vs. Senses Fail mash-up called “Devil In A Blue Dress”. It seems like the two songs were meant to be mashed.

Destroy All Vampires [My Chemical Romance vs. A Static Lullaby mash-up]

Just curious on how Cleveland artist Derek Hess was recruited to draw up the cover for the CD?

That was another Darren Doane connection. I met Derek through Darren.

A couple of the Legion Of Doom songs were featured in movies such as Saw II and Resident Evil: Extinction. Any plans on having more mixes pop up in future movies?

I’d love to. Nothing confirmed at the moment. The last thing we did for a film is a placement in the movie Pathology which just came out on DVD.

Eyes Front is a movie released on Antagonist Films. Any relation to your own Antagonist Records Label? What all did you contribute to the film? Is this just the beginning of you working a little more in depth with a movie?

Antagonist Films is the same company as Antagonist Records. The Legion of Doom did all of the original music for the film and I was a producer on the film. I would love to do more work in film, but I’m not currently involved in any projects at the moment.

How did you land the role of producing the movie (Eyes Front)? Have you had previous experience producing film?

Again Darren Doane was the one who got me involved with the film. I have had no previous experience.

Speaking of movies it seems like you take samples from older movies and add them to the mix, how do you come across some of those?

There are websites with such material. Just gotta know where to look.

Have you seen any of the fan made videos of Legion Of Doom mash-ups on YouTube? What do you think about your fans creating them?

One of the most satisfying things about creating something is knowing that people really get it. Seeing those music videos to me is proof that people out there are really getting what we’re doing and they’re taking it up a level by adding their own creativity. It’s a humbling experience.

What is next for Legion Of Doom? Would you/have you considered touring? Will there be another CD released?

We’re getting ready to release an entire album of new original material.

When you look at all that you have accomplished musically, how does that make you feel? Any advise to share with anyone looking to be successful in a musical career whether it be creating or remixing?

I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I feel lucky to have had some success and I am proud of the body of work I have created. And on the other hand I want to achieve more both as an artist and performer. The only advice I could give is you have to be relentless.

What’s next for Trever Keith?

World domination.

The Legion Of Doom
The Legion Of Doom

Look for Trever Keith’s official release of his solo album in early/mid 2009. For more information about what cities Face To Face is touring or to check out all the projects Trever Keith is currently involved in check out the following links:

www.facetofacemusic.com www.treverkeith.com www.the-legion-of-doom.com