Live at Cockpit on Sunday, 20th January 2008
Mixed bills can (sometimes) be amazing. Other times however, they can kill any atmosphere that there may have been for any of the bands individually. Hundred Reasons must have known this when they decided that they'd bring out three bands encompassing punk, screamo, and some of the best post hardcore ever to come out of New York City and HR themselves of course. Some bands suffer, others rise above, and in the case of Wakefield punk rock alumnus Milloy, it is definitely the latter. Their gruff, bouncy take on melodi-punk and hardcore isn't anything new, but true to the band's form, the crowd go nuts and everyone walks away smiling.
I catch much of Flood Of Red from the side door, quietly sipping a beer whilst the room in front of me goes crazy. Their screamo-ish bluster isn't breaking new ground either, in fact at times I could have sworn I was watching Scary Kids Scaring Kids, but the crowd is certainly into it. The same however cannot be said for the singer's frankly bizarre habit of switching between Scottish and American accents, which by the end of the set had become so irritating and confusing that the music was rendered little more than a footnote to his pan-global accent theatrics. Ian Watkins has a lot to answer for.
From Autumn To Ashes are suffering tonight, but not that you'd notice. Guitarist Rob Lauritsen is being terrorized by technical gremlins, to the point where he's dropping in and out of songs at random, and is seemingly at the mercy of his failing equipment. At the other side of the stage however, Brian Deneve is on fire, peeling off white-hot licks and savage riffs, with the precision of a surgeon, and the reckless abandon of a crazed maniac. Since losing original vocalist Ben Perri, bassist Mike Pilato leaving and then returning again, and Fran Mark taking up vocal duties to be replaced on the drums by former Zao man Jeff Gretz, most bands would have been critically and creatively exhausted, but not these guys. The seemingly endless revolving door around the band has done little to dent their passion, enthusiasm and general love of what they're doing. Even out at the merch stand there's a little sticker next to new album "Holding a Wolf By the Ears" that reads "Most songs we play tonight are from this record", really laying their newfound confidence on the table. Opener 'Death Kult Social Club' is a blistering reminder why they're consistently touted as one of the best bands in their genre (although they rarely stick to one for very long), whilst former glories such as 'Lilacs and Lolita' and 'Capeside Rock' showcase their songwriting dexterity. The technical demons return to haunt Lauritsen again during 'Underpass Tutorial', so much so that he launches a bottle of water into the crowd out of sheer frustration, bent double over his ailing instrument. Still the crowd's enthusiasm is unwavering, right through to a closing rendition of 'The After Dinner Payback', where the gremlins are seemingly relinquished, demons banished, and the entire room join as one for a shockingly beautiful sing-along to one of the best post hardcore anthems of our generation.