Comeback Kid, Foundation, Living With Lions, Such Gold, Close Your Eyes
Local 662, St. Petersburg, FL
Wednesday March 21st 2012
Looking at the line-up, it seemed like it was going to be a crowded evening. Not so — several unfortunate events transpired, and while the remaining bands were still extremely good, more quantity of their quality would have been welcome. So what happened? Christian hardcore band Close Your Eyes either pulled out or were mistakenly included on the poster. New York’s heavy pop-punkers Such Gold apparently broke down on their way to St. Pete. And Living With Lions, from Vancouver, did make it, but sadly I only caught a few songs. They sounded cool, so having given them a closer listen online, I decided they come across like an international smörgåsbord of Millencolin, Taking Back Sunday, and fellow Canadians Belvedere. Further national solidarity was noted through one member’s wearing of a Propagandhi shirt.
It was the first time in Tampa Bay for Foundation, but you would never have known from the love that the crowd showers upon them. Apparently not disapointed by the lack of ‘Build Me Up Buttercup,’ the audience went for it with this Atlanta straight-edge hardcore band, who communicated with them perfectly. Or at least they would have, if they had let their music do the talking for them. Vocalist Tomas Pearson fronted everything with fantastic passion, but fell prey to doing a hardcore sermon from the punk pulpit. It was not off-putting or terrible compared to some straight edge ensembles, but rather cliché. If nothing else though, his enthusiasm at the age of 28 did perhaps show that being in a band is the best way to keep one’s cynicism about music and punk pushed evermore into the future. A solid foundation for the headliners built, and two welcome false-endings later (“this is that same song but part 2!”), they exited.
Comeback Kid scared the crap out of me with their sudden opening, devoid of clues such as warm-up noises or a hello. Pit enthusiasts impersonate the kamikaze bugs from Starship Troopers, piling themselves all the way up to the head-height of stagebound and very tall frontman, Andrew Neufeld. The drums were immense and commanded excitement. Last time I saw Comeback Kid was in Manchester, England in 2006, and they were underwhelming. Maybe at the time, they were getting used to their new line-up or the venue had bad sound, but it doesn’t matter now — this band, so aptly named for a second chance, did a great job. They play a mix of material, including huge tracks like ‘All in a Year’ and ‘Die Tonight’ from their equally appropriately named ‘Turn It Around’ debut. The State Theatre across the street, where the band told us they always performed in the past, surely couldn’t measure up to the intimacy here. It was not so intimate though that giant dickheads could keep themselves from throwing trash cans across the room on multiple occasions, landing uncomically on people’s heads. Getting hurt at these gigs might be par for the course, but for some reason this just seemed a different situation to being clocked by a flying windmill arm (which I was). Perhaps hoping to soothe our injuries (this is the Symptoms + Cures tour after all), Comeback Kid end with the somewhat tired ‘Wake The Dead’. But, with some assistance from another Propagandhi shirt, they left having overall reminded us that Canada often just does things right.
Photo by Alex Wall