Published Oct 24, 2015Part of punk's brilliance is its brevity — make your point and do it quick. The pressure on bands committed to that style is to make sure their point gets made amidst all of the chaos their music provokes. At the Silver Dollar on Friday (October 23), seven bands performed at the Not Dead Yet festival show in a little over four hours, making short calculated bursts of energy and creativity. Those who didn't connect were hindered only by equipment failure, rather than their own compositions.
Local outfit Gaucho got the night started off on the right note. The trio whipped up a fury in no time, sounding as oppressive as the systems they rail against in their lyrics. Using a heavy delay on their vocals was a bit of a theme that night, and what was interesting was how each band used the effect differently. For Gaucho's vocalist, it gave his words a sense of gravity, as they hung in the air long after they were uttered.
Southern Californian outfit the Dark (featuring members of Tozcos and Sadicos) were stylistically on the more metallic end of things, playing with the occultish sounds of NWOBHM, with vocals that hinged on singing and screaming. Technical issues interfered with the group's momentum and led to longer periods of silence between songs, which the crowd were happy to fill by singing "I was riding through the 213 with my woes!"
Boston's Leather Daddy offered a snottier, grittier counterpoint to the Dark. Few places rival Boston in terms of punk history, and Leather Daddy live up to that tradition insofar as quality, though their sound is all their own. Their bare-bones punk rock worked really well, even if at times it felt like they were working out their parts onstage — no other band could quite match their brand of vitriol that night.
The attitude at the Dollar changed significantly when No Problem vocalist Graeme Mackinnon bulldozed into the crowd from his place on the stage. Their beer-soaked set was by far the longest of all the bands, though they were the kick in the ass (and/or face) the crowd needed to get prepared for what would follow.
The room was practically bursting by the time hometown outfit S.H.I.T. arrived. By virtue of their own destructive abilities, S.H.I.T. are a sight to be seen. Though no one was quite ready for the mayhem that would ensue when they were first joined onstage by Jonah Falco (Fucked Up, Career Suicide, Pavilion) to perform "Suspiria / The Italian Flag" from his long-dormant Mad Men project. They could've dropped their instruments after those three minutes and the crowd would've been pleased, but in typical S.H.I.T. fashion, they went on to conjure a black torrent of a set that culminated in what now should definitely be considered a TOHC punk anthem: "Feeding Time."
Austin's Glue kept up the crazed energy with their own chaotic, no-frills hardcore, which acted as a sort of palate cleanser before Una Bèstia Incontrolable. Though plagued by mic issues throughout their performance, Una Bèstia were still fantastic; "Nou Món" was a hypnotic highlight, balancing out the group's penchant for thunderous songs with an undeniable hook. Their recordings really do not do their heaviness justice, nor how great their melodic bass lines and polyrhythmic percussion sound together as an entire room of people bounce along.