Tuesday, September 4, 2012

State of Confusion, Little Miss and the No-Names, 1d and Sandusky Furs @ the Venue (9/1/12)

Before this night, I'd never heard of State of Confusion.  Now, before some of you get all offended or indignant over that, please bear in mind that I was only eight years old and hadn't even moved to Idaho yet when they played their last gig.  Anyway, this show caught my attention because it marked their one-night-only return and because it featured three local punk acts I hadn't written about before.  And besides, I was just itching for a reason to write about the Venue again.

I showed up about an hour before the gig, and there were already a handful of punk scenesters hanging around.  By 7:20 pm, I counted at least forty people.  That number would at least double as the night wore on.  The crowd seemed nicely balanced between underagers, twenty-somethings and gentlemen and ladies of a certain age.  I also noted with pleasure the plethora of bitchin' band T-shirts (Black Flag, the Ramones, Husker Du, the Vibrators, the Runaways, the Germs, etc).

Sandusky Furs' grinding, tuneful punk-metal hybrid got the evening off to a fine start.  Tony Wright's rough bellow and thunderous drumming locked in perfectly with Dave Wall's fluid bass and Terry Harvey's buzzsaw riffs and ripping solos.  I couldn't ID any of their covers, but they sounded as tough, melodious and galvanizing as their originals.

Up next was young hardcore trio 1d.  At first, this group didn't strike me as anything special.  Howled vocals, jerky tempo shifts, manic drumming and riffing--with hardcore, all that stuff is just par for the course.  As their set wore on, however, I noticed that their tunes and riffs got sharper and that they laid down a damn solid groove when they slowed down some.  Also, their guitarist cranked out some impressive Greg Ginn-esque noise solos.  I take it as a good sign that my favorite of their original songs was also the newest.  Highlight: their set-capping cover of Black Flag's "Rise Above," during which a bunch of guys in the crowd grabbed the mic and shouted the lyrics in unison.

Little Miss and the No Names followed 1d.  Their harshly catchy songs, equally Greg Ginn-esque guitar, hard-driving basslines and whirlwind drumming all sounded fine and dandy.  What really put them over the top, though, was "Little Miss" Rebecca Noel's sneered/screamed vocals and fierce, heedless stage presence (flailing her hair, colliding with the crowd, etc).

By the way, I'm sorry about the crappy picture.  I wanted to move closer and try to take a better one, but...

...that really didn't seem like a good idea.

State of Confusion's headlining set justified the substantial audience that had come out for them.  Sharply crafted chants and riffs met with screeching guitar solos, massive basslines and hyperkinetic drumming.  SOC's music wasn't all just straightforward thrash-and-burn either: they managed to work in a groove even at their most frenzied, and a couple numbers near the end featured some jerky Minutemen jazz-funk and savory Sabbath sludge.  Their set had a couple technical difficulties--the guitar conked out now and again--but somehow, that just added to the warm, friendly vibe in the room.  The only real sour note was the knowledge that you probably weren't gonna see this group again.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Jenean Claus and the Venue.

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