Collecting four hardcore-rooted acts local to New York City, Brooklyn’s tiny Union Pool hosted the enormous bill of Unsane, Made out of Babies, United Nations, and Dark Vibe. The sold-out event marked the influential Unsane’s first show in the city in two years and just the sixth show ever for United Nations. The courtyard outside of the venue was packed with fans who missed buying tickets, milling around the doors to hear leaked sound or a chance to catch even a glimpse of the bands’ performances.
Combining members of the now-defunct seminal screamo outfit Orchid and the up-and-coming experimental Bear in Heaven, Dark Vibe opened the evening. The four-pieced ripped through their eight-song setlist, blasting Geoff Garlock’s bass riffs under Adam Will’s frantic guitar work. The music was almost certainly new to everyone in the crowd who watched idly as former Orchid frontman Jayson Green wailed over the band’s noisy rock. Joe Stickney’s fiery drumming kept things interesting, but it’s clear the band still has a long way to go. The band’s written setlist, named with what must be temporary titles:
2nd / Sludge Song
United Nations followed, anchored by the absolutely stellar drumming of Converge’s Ben Koller. The band, which also features the seemingly solidified final lineup of Thursday’s Geoff Rickly providing vocals, The Hope Conspiracy’s Jim Carroll on bass, Acid Tiger’s Lukas Previn on guitar, and Lovekill’s Jonah Bayer on guitar, worked through a somewhat brief setlist of brand new songs and cuts from their self-titled full-length, including “My Cold War” and “No Sympathy for a Sinking Ship”. Precise yet inherently spastic, United Nations played extremely well and raised excitement for their upcoming 7″ on Death Wish Records.
Made out of Babies provided direct support; with an aggressive blend of noise, screamo, hardcore, and post-hardcore, the Brooklyn quartet fit well into the bill of similar acts. Frontwoman Julie Christmas lead the band with her guttural screams and high-pitched wails, unphased by the genre’s tendency towards male screamers. As if to prove her toughness, Christmas accidentally cut her eyebrow and bled profusely for quite some time before stopping the exsanguination with a handkerchief from a nearby fan. With exception of the first two songs (“Gunt” and “Mr. Prison Shanks”), Made out of Babies stuck entirely to their latest record, The Ruiner:
Mr. Prison Shanks
How To Get Bigger
By far the longest running band on the night’s bill, Unsane began things with a collection of post-millennium cuts. With the bulk of the band’s much-lauded catalog rooted in the 1990s (four albums from 1991 to 1998), it surprisingly took the trio seven songs into their setlist before digging back that to that decade , starting with Occupational Hazard‘s “Committed”, a song most well-known as being a part of the 1999 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack. Once the page turned, however, Unsane didn’t look back as the band’s last ten songs all came from either 1995’s Scattered, Smothered & Covered or 1998’s Occupational Hazard. “Scrape” was warmly received, as much of the older crowd reminisced in the music video featuring skateboarding accidents. The sixteen song set finished with a colossal, ten-minute version of “Get Off My Back”:
Against the Grain
Last Man Standing
Get Off My Back
Those lucky enough to acquire a ticket to the packed show found much to enjoy at Brooklyn’s Union Pool on a frigid Friday night. The blended bill of both long-running and up-and-coming New York City acts mixed well; one can only hope that older acts like Unsane and side-projects like United Nations continue to perform in and around New York City.
All photographs by Jack Crank.