Punk rock, in it’s true form, isn’t about three chords. “Emo”, in it’s true form, isn’t about girl’s jeans.
Still, these terms are so misapplied (and the misapplications are so widely accepted and believed) that it’s dangerous even attempting to use them. To put things accurately, however, punk rock was alive in New York City on a cool Saturday night. In addition to the three bands whole-heartedly embodying punk’s ethics at Terminal 5, Manhattan had a handful of other punk shows including Alkaline Trio/The Fashion/American Steal and Circle Jerks/Dillinger Four; Brooklyn and other boroughs had even more.
The 3000-capacity Terminal 5 isn’t quite the venue you’d expect for a punk rock show. To drive that point home, there’s no stage diving due to a massive barrier. It is important to note, however, security was sparse–if in the crowd at all; a nice change from most of New York’s over-aggressive security-packed venues. Also unlike a typical punk show, the venue’s sound was crisp and clear. Many small venues aren’t equipped with top-of-the-line sound systems; Terminal 5’s sound was the best I had ever experienced.
Philadelphia natives Paint it Black took the stage at the 7:30. Although I’m a huge fan of Dan Yemin’s Lifetime (and Kid Dynamite), I had never seen Paint it Black live. My expectations were high; his other bands weren’t slouches, each renowned for an incredible live show. Paint it Black did not disappoint. Only about fifty kids (remember, this is a multi-floor, 3000-person venue!) showed enthusiam, but the band did their absolute best to connect with each and every fan. This isn’t Bon Jovi (who was playing a subway away–that’s one more band playing in Manhattan that night!) styled arena rock; this is a band that thrives on the intimacy of basement shows.
Playing until 8PM, to the best of my recollection their set looked like this:
Past Tense, Future Perfect
Atheists in Foxholes
So Much for Honour Among Thieves
White Kids Dying of Hunger
We Will Not
Thursday, recently added co-headliners to tonight’s bill, took the stage after about fifteen minutes, an impressive set-change time. Unusual for a Thursday show, I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to catch up with the band beforehand. I was wondering about their upcoming split with Envy; they answered my unasked question by playing “In Silence” (or is it “In Solace”?), a new instrumental track from that split midway through their set, which contained the Thursday-typical amount of songs, fourteen:
For the Workforce, Drowning
Between Rupture and Rapture
Paris in Flames
The Other Side of the Crash / Over and Out (Of Control)
Understanding in a Car Crash
Signals Over the Air
Sugar in the Sacrament
At This Velocity
Jet Black New Year
Tomorrow I’ll Be You
Autobiography of a Nation
I’ve reviewed Thursday a countless number of times; not much new to report. I’m beginning to hope the band begins to shake their setlist up a bit–songs like “Division St.” are feeling tired, and “Jet Black New Year” just doesn’t kick as hard when it’s been played at every show, on every tour, since 2002. It’s nice to see the band taking another stab at “Tomorrow I’ll Be You”, but it was definitely their weakest song of the evening.
The song from their upcoming Envy split was completely instrumental, with Geoff stepping away from the microphone and stepping up to a synthesizer. This makes the second song (of three planned for the release, and possibly four recorded) revealed for the split due this fall. Whereas I am completely stoked for the previous one (unveiled in Poughkeepsie), I’m not overly excited about the instrumental. With an already-short setlist, I don’t feel like there is room in their setlist for vocal-free tracks. Geoff’s lyrics and vocals are a giant part of this band and what makes them the essential post-hardcore/emocore band, especially live.
On the heels of an incredible performance by Thursday, Florida’s Hot Water Music took the stage about twenty minutes later around 9:45 (again, score points for the excellent Terminal 5 for quick set changes). The third and final band of the punk-filled evening, Hot Water Music played a solid set spanning their entire existence. The band wasted no time during their hour-long set with eighteen songs:
Free Radio Gainseville
I Was On a Mountain
It’s Hard to Know
Jack of All Trades
It’s Hard to Know
All Heads Down
Moonpies for Misfits
A Flight and a Crash
At the End of a Gun
The crowd was certainly stoked to hear their favorite band return from hiatus, with every singalong eliciting full crowd participation. I’ve seen few bands have more fun on stage than Hot Water Music did Saturday night. The band dedicated “The Sense” (the first song on the completely ridiculous and trivial “Emo Game“) to “emo kids”, apparently joking about the fact that much of the crowd either became Hot Water Music fans through that game or only knows that particular song.
By 11PM, the show had concluded and all three bands had proven exactly why they are some of the best at what they do, and why these bands are completely about the music and punk ethic. Early in the night, Yemin took shots at bands in Alternative Press and the publication itself, proudly proclaiming that this scene isn’t and has never been about makeup and dollar signs. While certainly a true comment, his band (in addition to Thursday and Hot Water Music)’s actions spoke louder than those words.