Friday, August 3, 2012
The Alltheways, Hotel Chelsea, The Murderburgers and Dear Landlord @ the Shredder (8/1/12)
The chance to finally write about one of my favorite local punk bands, Hotel Chelsea, first attracted me to this show. What really sealed the deal, however, was talking to Matt Wildhagen from the Ratings Battle. He's a huge fan of Dear Landlord, and he told me that this was gonna be THE event of the summer for him. Matt knows a thing or two about music (especially punk), so I decided that this would be worth the $10 cover.
I got down to the Shredder around 8 and checked out the badass posters for old shows pasted up on the wall opposite the skateboard ramp. The crowd started out a little thin and then built to a respectable forty or so people. I saw plenty of familiar faces: Matt Wildhagen (of course), Jason Rucker from the Useless, the lead singer of Piranhas (at least, I think that was him). Josh Gross showed up as well and filmed a bit of Hotel Chelsea's set for Boise Weekly's online series "Scenes from a Scene." Check it out if you haven't seen it before. Pretty cool stuff.
First up this evening was local pop-punk band the Alltheways. Their staightforward tunes and riffs served as a decent warm-up for the rest of the show. Their guitar players didn't get too annoying as they sang with the standard pop-punk adolescent whine, their drummer got to flex a little muscle and their bassist got to show a little elasticity. Not great, but not bad.
After the Alltheways came Hotel Chelsea. To my ears, these guys make pop-punk as the good Lord (or the Dark Lord, whichever you prefer) intended: catchy melodies and sharp-witted lyrics get put through their paces by metallic lead guitar, freight-train rhythm guitar and bass and whirlwind drumming. Ryan Sampson joyously hollered out the tunes and slashed out the beat. Red Kubena contributed some surprisingly sweet harmonies and made his guitar weave and sting. Mikey Rootnote prowled around the stage, mugged it up for the crowd and tore at the strings of his bass while Chris Devino bashed away on the drums. The crowd pressed toward the stage like Patrick Swayze paddling out into the fifty-year storm (c'mon, don't tell me you haven't seen Point Break). This was the fiercest and most focused Hotel Chelsea set that I've seen. So far, anyway.
Up next was Scottish trio the Murderburgers. Their lean, balls-to-the-wall sound made me wonder if these guys just dashed across the Atlantic like the Road Runner to get to the U.S.. They played hard enough and fast enough to make the Ramones sound like Jimmy Reed, but they still managed to work in some solid tunes and even a groove. They tore through one song after the next with barely a breath in between. In fact, more than once, I didn't realize that they'd started another song until they were halfway through it. I really hope that these guys can make it out here again.
Minnesota/Illinois-based Dear Landlord closed out the night. Their full-throttle take on pop-punk had fewer curves than the Murderburgers' did but proved quite enjoyable all the same. They showed off some sharp songwriting and more-than-decent musicianship, but what really made them stand out were their vocal arrangements--a little call-and-response, a little layering, plenty of good old all-together-now. Definitely the best pop-punk band named after an obscure Dylan song that I've ever heard.
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